How to Protect Trees from Dog Urine: 8 Tips

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Whereas there’s been no scientific findings to how dog urine affects the health of trees, there is enough narrative evidence in the  cities, on sidewalks, and outside of apartment buildings to suggest dog urine can really destroy trees.

Just like me, you might allow your pet have free and easy access to your yard or garden, and the dog urine might be killing your trees. You could have really angry neighbors who take an exception to your dog using their tree as a urine spot. Perhaps you have an apartment block with trees that need saving from dog pee.

Whatever the case could be, if you want to know how to preserve trees from dog pee, I have compiled the best tips into one handy place with solutions for your own dog, and other people dogs

8 tips and tricks for protecting your trees for dog urine

1. Fit Your Dog With Pee Guard

One of the most widely used  ways in which you can protect trees from dogs pee is by using a tree pee guard. These act as a fence which cages in the tree, meaning the dog’s urine arc should not reach the bark.

If the urine guard is not in stock, there are alternative products that are similar in saving a tree from your dogs urine. For example, there is this tree guard gotten from Amazon which looks smaller, but it can be expanded for bigger trees.

The most efficient one on the market is the Dawg Tree Pee Guard. It’s the largest available and is the market lead.

2. Try Giving Your Dog “Dog Rocks”

If it is your own dog or mutt that is always urinating on your  trees you could try putting dog rocks in their drinking water. This might sound weird, but check out how it works out on Amazon.

What these do is to remove ammonia, nitrates, and other impurities from your dog’s urine.This means less of these elements are being consumed, and then deposited back onto your tree, possibly hurting the bark.

3. Try Dog Repellants

For other people’s dogs coming to your property and urinating on your tree, you could try using any animal repellent granules. They use natural substances that dogs do not like such as peppers and capsaicin and are said to be detestable to their smell and taste.

Spraying the granules at the base end of your tree and see if this would help to keep dogs from urinating on trees.

Like the other suggestions in this guide, animal repellent granules are available to buy on Amazon.

4. Fix A Water Spray Motion Sensor

Most dogs dislike being sprayed with water. If it is a dog owned by a neighbor’s and you do not  mind getting them upset, you could stand guard with a hose and give them a spray with water any time they approach your trees.

Let us be honest though, that probably will not do too much for neighborly relations.

An alternative that is less aggressive and would most likely also work with your own dog is a motion detector that makes noise and sprays. You just fix it in the ground, fix a hose to it,pick a target radius, then sit back and wait.

What it does is it trigger as soon as an animal steps within the target radius. It will make a noise and starts spraying water in an arc, enough to chase off a dog.

I have used this product (here is what I purchased on Amazon) to stop our cat from excreting on my lawn with mixed results. The reasons the results are mixed is because it is ultra-sensitive and sprays human sized objects also, the minute they pass on your yard or garden.

Most likely one to try out though. Click on the photo below to see the recent prices.

5. Fake That The Grass Has Chemicals On It

One tip I read on a web forum must be shared here too as it is really cunning. What you do is put up a sign on your lawn that shows you have treated the area with chemicals.

What this should do is stop dog owners from letting their animals go to your property, therefore saving the trees from dog pee. You can buy a display sign on Amazon.

6. Maintain A Pee Area With Training

Back on tips and tricks on how to preserve trees from dog urine when it is your own animal desecrating, you could train them to urinate in a new place.

Rather than putting the training guide here, I advice you go 

7. Hose Down Trees To Wash Away Urine 

Another way you can preserve your trees from dog pee is by watering down the tree bark after it has occurred. Admittedly, this will require a whole lot of work and vigilance on your side, but water will help in diluting urine and the damages it causes to bark and roots. 

8. Use Mulch That Dogs Do Not Like Treading On 

The final tip that might keep a dog urinating on your trees is to make use of mulch, but not just any type of old mulch. For instance, classic mulch made up of tree chippings are very attractive to dogs as a urinating spot, particularly once they are wet and smelly.

Alternatively you can try using a mulch made up from things that dogs would not  want to stand on, such as prickly trees and bushes. Spray this around the base of the tree, and it would discourage a dog from standing there, cocking a log, and urinating on the tree. 

Why does dog pee kill trees?

An article by John Metcalfe in 2012 tried to get to the bottom of why dog urine destroys trees. He came to a conclusion that there has never been a scientific study to answer the question adequately, so the jury is still out there.

However, he did manage to bring up the opinion of various experts who weighed in with their own perspective on why dog pee kills trees. I have compiled their opinion in my own words below.

  • Dog pee can destroy tree bark: dog pee majorly causes ammonium toxicity, destroying the cambium tissue underneath the bark. When the bark is gone, trees are more likely at risk from insects that dig into the tree and bacterial disease.
  • Dog urine can reduce the moisture content of tree roots: salts in dogs urine can make the topsoil really firm for water to penetrate, meaning the tree’s root does not get as much water as it requires to be healthy.
  • Dog urine can critically reduce the soil’s pH value: trees need soil at a certain pH(power of hydrogen) level, but dogs pee can lessen the levels. Reducing the pH levels by just a little amount can have an effect on trees health.

Trees that tend to get the most damage from pee and needs the most protection from dog pee are those that are outdoors. It is because dog owners who live in shared living environment will not have their own yards or gardens. They will stand outside their apartment to let their dog ease themselves, typically in the same location every time; a tree.

In fact, in the Metcalfe article I already made references,he quotes a dog walker as:

The Pennsylvania Horticulture Society think this is a major problem in their area that they set up a movement to raise awareness in 2016. You can see their poster below which was used to help preserve trees from dog pee in the city. 

This local authority made an awareness impact campaign to help protect trees in the city from dog pee.

Why do dogs pee on trees?

If it is your own dog urinating on your trees, by understanding the reasons they do it, you might think you can to stop it.

However, this probably is not the case as the act of urinating on things is so far infused in your dog’s psyche and natural evolution, that it is not something you will be able to stop at any time.

Dog experts believe dogs urinate on trees and alike structures such as fire hydrants for a some reasons.

The very first one is to mark their territory. When your dog pees on a tree, particularly one in your yard or garden, then it could be his way of alerting other dogs that this is his space.

Another likely possibility is that by urinating on a tree, a dog can tell another dog that they have been there. It is kind of like a dog bulletin board and is a social thing to them.

Apparently, your dog’s pee can give a lot of information to other dog’s  as regards their gender, as a personal identifier, and even if they are willing to mate.


It is really unlikely that you can train your own dog to stop urinating on trees altogether. There is even a less  chance you can stopl a stranger’s dog from  doing it, which is why preventative measures are best.

Whilst I cannot guarantee that any of the tips for protecting trees from dog urine that I list here will work, you might want to try one or a combination to see if it works for you.

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