Now that the snow has melted, I can see where my dog, Lily, (looking guilty, at left) has been. Certain sections of our front yard are covered with “dog spots,” those brown circular marks created by dog urine. Solutions to dog spots are all over the web and range from having your dog drink tomato juice (I’m not sure Lily would go for that, although she does enjoy eating bugs) to spreading gypsum on the yard. In the past, I have mixed a solution of a cup of baking soda to a gallon of water and poured it on the spots–one gallon per spot. This seemed to clear up the spots, although it may have been the water rather than the baking soda that did the job. The baking soda theory is based on the idea of neutralizing the acid in the urine. However, most reputable sources point to the nitrogen in the urine rather than the acid as the cause of the spots. Essentially, your dog is giving your yard fertilizer burn. The water works because it dilutes the nitrogen. I have noticed that the spots clear up more after a period of heavy rain. Another solution is to designate an area of your yard as the doggy bathroom and cover it with mulch, pea gravel, or plants you don’t care about. The Clay County Extension service in Moorhead, Minn., has a good fact sheet on dog spots, if you are interested in more information.