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Fri, Oct. 18

Products can reduce pet 'lawn burn'

Q. I recently bought a product called Green Grass at PETsMART. It's supposed to prevent yellow spots on the grass when my dog urinates on it. My vet didn't know how it works, and so I thought I'd ask you.

A. In the wild dogs usually eat sufficient meat protein to keep their urine slightly acidic. However, many pet foods contain high levels of grain that can produce alkaline, or basic urine that "burns" the grass. Females seem to damage lawns more frequently than males because they prefer grass over trees and bushes.

There are a variety of products on the market that are formulated to help prevent lawn burn if your dog happens to urinate on your grass. Most commonly, the active ingredient is dl-methionine, an essential amino acid found naturally in meat. This amino acid helps shift basic urine to slightly acidic urine that does not kill the grass in most cases. In my experience these products – when used properly – are effective and safe.

Note: Dalmatians should not be given urine-acidifying products as their urine should be kept slightly alkaline (ph 7.0 – 7.5) to reduce urinary stone formation.

Q. My husband says I shouldn't feed canned cat food to my Felix because it will spoil him. Is that true?

A. It's certainly true that cats have distinct preferences when it comes to food and usually do prefer wet food to dry if given a choice. I feed my cats dry foods for several reasons. Dry food helps prevent the buildup of tartar on teeth and may reduce trips to your veterinarian for teeth cleaning. It usually contains less fat and is certainly less expensive per pound than canned food. Cats should be allowed to free-feed, and dry food can be left out without worry of becoming rancid (canned food should not be left out for more than 30 minutes). Most premium dry cat foods are formulated to be low in ash and magnesium and maintain slightly acidic urine in order to prevent the occurrence of feline urinary tract disease (FLUTD).

P.S. I assumed that Felix is a cat. You should never feed cat foods to dogs because the nutritional requirements of these two species are very different.

Readers who have questions for Critter Chatter may mail them to The Daily Courier, P.O. Box 312, Prescott AZ 86302 or email them to

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