Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 351–365 | Cite as

Dog-park soils: Concentration and distribution of urine-borne constituents

  • Breanna Paradeis
  • Sarah Lovas
  • Andrew Aipperspach
  • Angela Kazmierczak
  • Mikayla Boche
  • Yangbo He
  • Patrick Corrigan
  • Katie Chambers
  • Yang Gao
  • Jack Norland
  • Tom DeSutter


Off-leash dog parks are very popular locations that allow pets to freely exercise and eliminate wastes in a controlled environment. Although dog park rules require that solid waste be removed by the pet’s owner, urine-borne constituents in dog-park soils have received little attention. This study focused on the soils within two small-dog, off-leash dog parks in Fargo, North Dakota (USA) with the objective to better understand the concentration and distribution of extractable NH4-N, NO3-N, PO4, soluble salts, and pH values in surface soils (0–10 cm) within these two dog parks. Concentrations of soil variables varied widely within each park and were distributed as both gradient and ‘hot-spots.’ The geospatial model types for each soil parameter were more dependent on park than on the constituents themselves. Flow accumulation was correlated with both nitrate-N and P but due to the lack of topography at these parks the flow accumulation was not helpful in describing most of the soil constituents. The results from this project indicate that location of parks, daily/annual use of parks, flow accumulation, and location of park entries may all influence the concentration and distribution of urine-borne constituents.


Dog parks Nitrogen Phosphorus Geospatial analysis 



The authors would like to thank Kevin Horsager and Nathan Derby for their technical expertise. Drs. DeSutter and Norland would also like to thank our coauthors, all of whom are graduate students that were enrolled in SOIL 721: Environmental Field Instrumentation and Sampling, for their dedication and willingness to complete this experiential learning exercise. The graduate student coauthors would like to thank Drs. DeSutter and Norland for this educational opportunity as well as their patience and guidance throughout the process.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they do not have any conflicts of interest.


  1. American Veterinary Medical Association, AMVA (2001) Veterinary market statistics Web: http://www.avma.org/reference/marketstats/2001/ownership_2001.asp
  2. American Veterinary Medical Association, AMVA (2007) Veterinary market statistics Web: http://www.avma.org/reference/marketstats/ownership.asp
  3. Baum KA, Ham JM (2009) Adaption of a speciation sampling cartridge for measuring ammonia flux from cattle feedlots using relaxed eddy accumulation. Atmos Environ 43:1753–1759CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beaver BV (1999) Chapter 8: canine eliminative behavior. In: Canine behavior: a guide for veterinarians, 1st edn. W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, pp 267–287Google Scholar
  5. Bennett ES, Swasey JE (1996) Perceived stress reduction in urban public gardens. HortTechnology 6:125–128Google Scholar
  6. Bergstrom L, Johansson R (1991) Leaching of nitrate from monolith lysimeters of different types of agricultural soils. J Environ Qual 20:801–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown KH, Jameton AL (2000) Public health implications of urban agriculture. J Public Health Policy 21:20–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Castrillo C, Vincente F, Guada JA (2001) Urinary energy losses in dogs fed commercial extruded foods. J Anim Physiol A Anim Nutr 85:237–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crooke WM, Simpson WE (1971) Determination of ammonium in Kjeldahl digests of crops by an automated procedure. J Sci Food Agric 22:9–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. DeBusk KM, Wynn TM (2011) Storm-water bioretention for runoff quality and quantity mitigation. J Environ Eng 137:800–808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. DeSutter TM, Pierzynski GM, Ham JM (2005) Movement of lagoon-liquor constituents below four animal-waste lagoons. J Environ Qual 34:1234–1242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Djodjic F, Borling K, Bergstrom L (2004) Phosphorus leaching in relation to soil type and soil phosphorus content. J Environ Qual 33:678–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dutilleul P (1993) Modifying the t test for assessing the correlation between two spatial processes. Biometrics 49:305–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ettema CH, Wardle DA (2002) Spatial soil ecology. Trends Ecol Evol 17:177–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fang F, Brezonik PL, Mulla DJ, Hatch LK (2002) Estimating runoff phosphorus losses from calcareous soils in the Minnesota River basin. J Environ Qual 31:1918–1929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fargione J, Tilman D (2006) Plant species traits and capacity for resource reduction predict yield and abundance under competition in nitrogen-limited grassland. Funct Ecol 20:533–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fargo Parks District (2011) Facilities, dog parks Web: http://www.fargoparks.com/facility_dogparks.html
  18. Fissore C, Hobbie SE, King JY, McFadden JP, Nelson KC, Baker LA (2012) The residential landscape: fluxes of elements and the role of household decisions. Urban Ecosyst 15:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Franzen D (2008) Site-specific farming-number 1: what is site-specific farming. North Dakota State University Extension Bulletin SF1176-1 (Revised), Fargo, ND http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/soilfert/sf1176-1.htm
  20. Franzen D (2009) Site-specific farming 4: economics and the environment. North Dakota State University Extension Bulletin SF1176-4 (Revised), Fargo, ND http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/soilfert/sf1176-4.htm
  21. Gallardo A, Parama R, Covelo F (2005) Soil ammonium vs. nitrate spatial pattern in six plant communities: simulated effect on plant populations. Plant Soil 277:207–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Guy AC, DeSutter TM, Casey FXM, Kolka R, Hakk H (2012) Water quality, sediment, and soil characteristics near Fargo-Moorhead urban areas as affected by major flooding of the Red River of the North. J Environ Qual 41:554–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jenson SK, Dominque JO (1988) Extracting topographic structure from digital elevation data for geographic information system analysis. Photogramm Eng Remote Sen 54(11):1593–1600Google Scholar
  24. Keeney DR, Nelson DW (1982) Nitrogen-inorganic forms, pp 643–698. In: Page AL, Miller RH, Keeney DR (eds) Methods of soil analysis. Part 2, 2nd edn. Agron. Monogr. 9. ASA and SSSA, Madison, WIGoogle Scholar
  25. Lee H-S, Shepley M, Huang C-S (2009) Evaluation of off-leash dog parks in Texas and Florida: a study of use patterns, user satisfaction, and perception. Landsc Urban Plan 92:314–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Li J, Okin GS, Alvarez LJ, Epstein HE (2009) Sediment deposition and soil nutrient heterogeneity in two desert grassland ecosystems, southern New Mexico. Plant Soil 319:67–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mazer G, Booth D, Ewing K (2001) Limitations to vegetation establishment and growth in biofiltration swales. Ecol Eng 17:429–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McGrath D, Zhang C, Carton OT (2004) Geostatistical analyses and hazard assessment on soil lead in Silvermines area, Ireland. Environ Pollut 127:239–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Newman LA, Doty SL, Gery KL, Heilman PE, Muiznieks I, Shang TQ, Siemieniec ST, Strand SE, Wang X, Wilson AM, Gordon MP (1998) Phytoremediation of organic contaminants: a review of the phytoremediation research at the University of Washington. J Soil Contam 74:531–542Google Scholar
  30. Olsen SR, Cole CV, Watanabe FS, Dean LA (1954) Estimation of available phosphorus in soils by extraction with sodium bicarbonate. Circ. 939. USDA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  31. Orr RJ, Griffith BA, Cook JE, Champion RA (2011) Ingestion and excretion of nitrogen and phosphorus by beef cattle under contrasting grazing intensities. Grass Forage Sci 67:111–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Petrovic AM (1990) The fate of nitrogenous fertilizers applied to turfgrass. J Environ Qual 19:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pilon-Smits E (2005) Phytoremediation. Annu Rev Plant Biol 56:15–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Raciti SM, Burgin AJ, Groffman PM, Lewis DN, Fahey TJ (2011) Denitrification in suburban lawn soils. J Environ Qual 40:1932–1940CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Reed SC (1985) Nitrogen removal in wastewater stabilization ponds. J Water Pollut Control Fed 57:39–45Google Scholar
  36. Reicher Z, Throssell C (1998) Soil testing for lawns, AY-18. Purdue Univ. Cooperative Extension Service, West Lafayette, IN http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/pubs/ay-18.pdf
  37. Robertson GP (1987) Geostatistics in ecology: interpolating with known variance. Ecology 68:744–748CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rodriguez A, Duran J, Fernandez-Palacios JM, Gallardo A (2009) Spatial variability of soil properties under Pinus canariensis canopy in two contrasting soil textures. Plant Soil 322:139–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rosenberg MS, Anderson CD (2011) PASSaGE: Pattern Analysis, Spatial Statistics and Geographic Exegesis. Version 2. Methods Ecol Evol 2:229–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rossi RE, Mulla DJ, Journel AG, Franz EH (1992) Geostatistical tools for modeling and interpreting ecological spatial dependence. Ecol Monogr 62:277–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Roy-Poirier A, Champagne P, Filion Y (2010) Bioretention processes for phosphorus pollution control. Environ Rev 18:159–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Selbig WR, Balster N (2010) Evaluation of turf-grass and prairie-vegetated rain gardens in a clay and sand soil, Madison, Wisconsin, water years 2004–08 http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2010/5077/pdf/sir20105077.pdf
  43. Serpell J (1991) Beneficial effects of pet ownership on some aspects of human health and behaviour. J R Soc Med 84:717–720Google Scholar
  44. Sharpley A, Daniel TC, Sims JT, Pote DH (1996) Determining environmentally sound soil phosphorus levels. J Soil Water Conserv 51:160–166Google Scholar
  45. Smith KE, Putnam RA, Phaneuf C, Lanza GR, Dhankher OP, Clark JM (2008) Selection of plants for optimization of vegetative filter strips treating runoff from turfgrass. J Environ Qual 37:1855–1861CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sobota DJ, Harrison JA, Dahlgren RA (2011) Linking dissolved and particulate phosphorus export in rivers draining California’s Central Valley with anthropogenic sources at the regional scale. J Environ Qual 40:1290–1302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Soil Survey Staff, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, NRCS (2012) Web Soil Survey. Web: http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/WebSoilSurvey.aspx
  48. Sonoda K, Yeakley JA (2007) Relative effects of land use and near-stream chemistry on phosphorus in an urban stream. J Environ Qual 36:144–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sprague RH, Anisko JJ (1973) Elimination patterns in the laboratory beagle. Behaviour 47:257–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. U.S. Department of Commerce - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration- National Weather Service, NOAA (2012) NOWData-NOAA online weather data. Web: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=fgf
  51. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, NRCS (2007) Rain gardens: capturing and using the rains of the Great Plains http://www.plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/pubs/ndpmctn7278.pdf
  52. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, NRCS (2012) Bioswales ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/MT/www/technical/water/Bioswale.pdf
  53. Vaillant GC, Pierzynski GM, Ham JM, DeRouchey J (2009) Nutrient accumulation below cattle feedlot pens in Kansas. J Environ Qual 38:909–918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Vought LBM, Dahl J, Pedersen CL, Lacoursiere JO (1994) Nutrient retention in riparian ecotones. Ambio 23:342–348Google Scholar
  55. Webster R, Oliver MA (2001) Geostatistics for environmental scientists. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  56. Wood CW, Cummins KA, Williams CC, Wood BH (2004) Impact of diet and age on element excretion from dogs. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 35:1263–1270CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Breanna Paradeis
    • 1
  • Sarah Lovas
    • 2
  • Andrew Aipperspach
    • 3
  • Angela Kazmierczak
    • 3
  • Mikayla Boche
    • 2
  • Yangbo He
    • 2
  • Patrick Corrigan
    • 4
  • Katie Chambers
    • 2
  • Yang Gao
    • 3
  • Jack Norland
    • 4
  • Tom DeSutter
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Natural Resource Sciences, Range Science ProgramNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  2. 2.School of Natural Resource Sciences, Department of Soil ScienceNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Plant SciencesNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  4. 4.School of Natural Resource Sciences, Natural Resources Management ProgramNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Soil ScienceNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

Personalised recommendations