How to Protect Your Trees from Your Dog

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When it comes time for your dog to put their nose to the ground and get down to business, most owners are often happy enough that their dog is about to go to the bathroom outside and not in the house. Sometimes they go so far as to not caring where the dog goes, which can quickly take a turn for the worse, like a neighbor being made about waste that was left in their yard. It may have been an accident, such as if your dog dug out from under the fence, but not all the world can be your dog’s bathroom.

Unhappy neighbors aren’t the only thing affected by where your dog goes. If your dog likes to relieve themselves on a tree, there’s damage done too. Most dog owners know that if your dog pees on the grass, it will kill it, which is why so many dogs are trained to go in the bushes or by the tree line. Not many pet owners consider if dogs and trees can mix, but there’s evidence that they’re really not meant to, so check out why that is and what the alternatives are.

Science Says No

Trees are tough because they’re meant to withstand the power of nature. They have bark to act as the outermost shield, and then there’s a layer of wood beneath the bark and the growing tree to serve as protection should the bark fall off. However, dog pee has a high amount of acid in it, so when a dog starts to pee and mark their territory or just relieve themselves, they do a lot of damage.

The Damage Is Extensive

Due to the high amounts of potassium in dog urine, it can rip through the tree like no other liquid a tree might naturally encounter. Once the potassium and acid have burned through the tree’s layers of protection, the tree is left with a gaping wound, which is especially harmful in the winter time, when the tree needs mulching and root care.

Micro-organisms then travel through the tree easily and cause damage from the roots to the highest branch. Trees have the ability to grow bark back quickly to cover up any damaged spots, but once micro-organisms get in, the harm to the tree can be endless.

Take Them Somewhere Else

So what are your options as a dog owner who has to let your pup out to use the bathroom? If you find your dog peeing on trees that are on your property, you have a couple options. The first is to go to your nearest lawn care store and buy chicken wire. Put this around the base of your tree and up a good foot or two if your dog is male. The wire should be far enough from the tree that the spray can’t reach it. This is a great way to take care of the problem if you want to find a quick solution.

A long-term solution protects the bark as well as the roots. Find a smell-repellent online (example) and put that around the base of the tree and a few feet away from it. You could also call your dog back and tell them no if they start to urinate in their old spot. Keep in mind that whatever you spray should be good for the tree, replaced after rainfalls and never be licked by the dog.

So many pet owners let their dogs go to the bathroom on trees that it’s easy to not think to question if that’s good for the trees or not. While bark acts as an excellent source of self-defense in most cases, it’s no match to the high acidity and potassium in dog urine. That’s why to truly protect your trees, you should train your dog to pee elsewhere and be active in monitoring their bathroom habits.

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About Author

Emily is a wildlife conservation and pet care writer and avid animal lover. You can read more of her articles on her blog, Conservation Folks, and follow her Twitter, @emilysfolk.

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