House Grail is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Save Plants from Dog Urine: 5 Practical Options


It’s common knowledge that dog urine can kill plants. Although most damage happens after the dog repeatedly goes to the bathroom in the same spot, some plants may not even last one bathroom break.

To ensure that your garden and yard are in tiptop condition, you want these five practical ways to save plants from dog urine. These five tips can help prevent the plant from being touched by the dog in the first place, but they can also help revive plants that have already been affected.

divider 5

How to Save Plants from Dog Urine (5 Options)

1. Create a Designated Area for Your Dog

Dog peeing
Image Credit: Sukpaiboonwat, Shutterstock
  • How It Works: Keeps dogs away from plants
  • When to Use: Prevention

If you are afraid that your dog’s urine will kill your garden, the best thing to do is to create a designated potty area for your dog. This will help keep the dog’s urine away from the plants so that you don’t have to worry about them being damaged.

One of the easiest ways to create a designated area for your dog is to actually add a fence. This fence should keep the dog away from the flowers and plants so that their urine does not affect the soil at all.

You can also think about installing an electric fence. That way, your garden looks just as beautiful as it did before, but the dog is kept away from the area.

2. Discourage Dog from Doing Its Business Around Plants

Dog pooping
Image Credit: Kittibowornphatnon, Shutterstock
  • How It Works: Keeps dogs away from plants
  • When to Use: Prevention

In addition to creating a designated potty area for your dog, make sure to discourage the dog from going around the plants. This will further ensure that your dog does not urinate on the plants.

There are tons of sprays and repellents you can use to discourage the dog from going anywhere near your plants. For example, you can use cayenne pepper in the garden. Dogs hate the smell of cayenne pepper and will likely not go near your plants if the pepper is detected. Chili powder works in the same way.

All you need to do is sprinkle the cayenne pepper or chili powder around the plants. More than likely, you will not have to worry about a thing. The powder will effectively discourage the dog from getting close, but it will not harm your plants.

3. Dilute the Area with Water

man holding garden hose

  • How It Works: Dilutes chemicals from dog’s urine
  • When to Use: Immediately after the dog goes to the bathroom

Sometimes, creating a designated potty area for your dog and discouraging it from going near the plants is not enough. The dog may have an accident or outright disobey you and go to the bathroom over your plants. When that’s the case, you need to do something fast to make sure your plants don’t get harmed.

The easiest way to help a plant recently urinated on is to dilute it with water. Grab a gardening hose or a bucket filled with water and pour it over the affected area. This extra water will dilute the chemicals from the dog’s urine, so it does not affect the roots of the plants.

This will only work if you catch the urination early on. However, adding more water to your plants than usual might be a good idea when you are first training the dog to ensure that you don’t miss any accidental urination.

4. Sprinkle Lime Over the Area

Image Credit: Pixabay
  • How It Works: Makes soil more alkaline
  • When to Use: After plants show signs of root burning

If you notice that your plants are dying and it looks like they are dying from root burning or root damage, your dog’s urine may be to blame. Often, dog urine makes the soil too acidic for plants, which causes them to eventually die.

To get the pH level back in order, you can use dolomite lime. This will help bring the soil closer to neutral so that your plants’ roots are not burning. Note that this tip does not work if the soil is too alkaline.

5. Use a Baking Soda Solution

baking soda paste
Photo by Monfocus on Pixabay
  • How It Works: Makes soil more alkaline
  • When to Use: After plants show signs of root burning

Another way to help save plants when the soil is too acidic is to use a baking soda solution. Mix a cup of baking soda in a gallon of water. Allow the baking soda to dissolve before applying it to the affected plant.

Much like the above-mentioned idea, this only works if the soil is too acidic. It will also help to prevent the dog from going to the bathroom on the plant again since it will help to neutralize the odor.

Related Read: 8 Best Artificial Grass Cleaner for Dog Urine: Reviews & Top Picks

divider 4

Why Does Dog Urine Kill Plants?

There are three main reasons why dog urine can kill plants: urea, nitrogen, and pH level.
  • Urea is found in your dog’s urine. More than likely, urea is responsible for your plants dying. Although our urine has some urea, dog urine has a lot of urea because of their high protein diets. Urea, especially in high quantities, kills plants quickly.
  • Nitrogen is also found in dog urine. Although some nitrogen is good for plants, too much of it will burn the plant, especially at their root. As a result, dog urine often burns plants because of its high amount of nitrogen.
  • Lastly, dog urine can kill plants by throwing off the pH. If your pup has a particularly salty diet, it can actually make the soil too alkaline for the plant roots to thrive.

tool divider Conclusion

If you have plants that you want to keep safe from your dog, we recommend doing what you can to keep the dog away from the affected area. Create a designated potty spot and discourage the dog from getting anywhere near the plants.

In the case that you notice your dog has gone to the bathroom on the plants, try to dilute the urine as quickly as possible. If you think that the soil is too acidic because of dog urine and is thus killing the plants, you can also try to make the ground more alkaline.

Although these tips will not guarantee that you can save your plants from dog urine, they will at least give your plants a shot at thriving.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Ching Louis Liu, Shutterstock


Related posts

OUR categories

Project ideas

Hand & power tools