Bringing home a new dog may be one of the most rewarding moments of a dog lover's life. Not only can you provide your new pet a loving home, but there are also so many fun things you can add to their life and yours. After you buy them new toys, give them endless cuddles and teach them new tricks, you may start to notice that some of your plants are dying. You're doing everything you need to care for them, but particular plants can't withstand dog urine. Don't worry though, because if you love plants and dogs, there are ways to have the best of both worlds with dog resistant plants.
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Why Does Pet Urine Kill Plants?
One would think that something like urine wouldn't kill a plant, but it can because of the chemical components that are in dog urine. A dog's urine contains nitrogen and salt that burns the roots and changes the pH level of the soil. If your dog likes to urinate on plants, that can dehydrate the plant's cells, which ultimately kills the plant tissues. When water is pulled out of the cells, it causes the plant to become dehydrated and turn yellow or brown.
Although nitrogen is essential for optimal plant growth, too much nitrogen can kill plants. It's the same as if you apply too much fertilizer. Plant fertilizer has nitrogen in it, just like in the plant's soil, but if you use a ton of fertilizer, it will kill the plant. The same goes for dog urine.
Choosing Dog Urine Resistant Plants
Just because some plants won't coexist with a dog, it doesn't mean you can't have plants in your yard. All you have to do is purchase dog urine resistant plants that are heavier consumers of nitrogen. Some favorite plants that are resistant to dog urine are corn, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, citrus plants and cabbage. If you love roses, they're also heavier consumers of nitrogen.
Other popular plants that are resistant to dog urine include bear's-breech, burkwood osmanthus, doublefile viburnum, feather reed grass, holly fern, Japanese spindle tree, Mexican sage, New Zealand flax, red twig dogwood, snowball viburnum, spider plants and sword fern. Recommended shrubs and herbs that are dog urine resistant include basil, oregano, parsley, peppermint and rosemary. If you're looking to purchase ground cover and dog resistant shrubs, carpet bugle, elfin thyme, kinnikinnick, miniature stonecrop, silver carpet, snow-in-summer and wintercreeper are more urine resistant.
Dog-Friendly Garden Design
If you have plants that your dog keeps killing but you don't want to buy dog urine resistant kinds, there are other ways to keep your plants alive and well. Dogs only urinate on plants that are considered to be easy access. You can keep your plants safe by building raised beds instead of just planting them in the ground or placing short fences around your garden areas. That way, your dog won't be able to reach the plants. If you want to keep your plants on the ground, you can build a dog-friendly path or train your dog to urinate in a specific area.
Most importantly, make sure that the plants that are being put in the yard are safe for dogs to be around. Plants that are poisonous to dogs include aloe vera, lily of the valley, asparagus fern, chrysanthemums, daffodils and jade plants.