Can I Use Fake Grass for Dogs?
Yes, fake grass, commonly known as artificial turf, can be used for dogs in residential and commercial areas.
The primary, practical benefit of fake grass for dog owners, is that it keeps your best friend clean. Many yard areas are not able to grow real grass due to a lack of sun, and when it rains, these areas become muddy.
It might be convenient to let Fido out and do their business on a rainy day, but you know what is not convenient? Spending the next 30 minutes hosing them off and mopping your kitchen floor clean of the mud that was tracked back inside.
While aesthetically, a nice green piece of fake grass will cover unsightly areas, practically, it can be a time saver for pet owners.
Fake Grass helps prevent Ticks, Fleas and Mosquitos
There are also advantages to replacing areas that are real grass. Tick populations are a growing concern across North America and carry harmful viruses and parasites such as Lyme Disease. The CDC provides good info on increasing populations and the regions where it is a concern. People and dogs are ideal hosts. Ticks love to hang out in tall, overgrown grass and weeds, and latch on to hosts as they walk by. While Fake Grass does not eliminate ticks, fleas and mosquitos, it does help mitigate these problems by reducing the amount of natural habitat in which they can survive.
What Kind of Turf should I buy for Dogs?
First and foremost, the turf needs to be able to drain. Most residential turfs go through a “punching” phase at the end of the manufacturing process, where holes, about the size of a pencil, are punched every 4 or 5 inches, to allow water to drain through the turf. Ideally, you will have a layer of a crushed rock gravel base over which you can install the turf. See our article on turf sub-bases. Rain and any other fluids can wash through the drainage holes, down into the rock base and away, leaving the top of the turf clean.
Second, fake grasses with a shorter pile height are easier to clean. Many turfs have a 2 to 2.5 inch pile height, as they were intended to be thicker for athletic field use. While it CAN work with pets, it’s better to have a shorter pile of .5 to 1.5 inches, as it is easier to clean shorter blades.
Dogs and Turf Seams
As a pet owner, you may know that dogs like to pick at things. Anything. While most dogs are able to decipher that turf is not edible, they will pick at the edges or any seams. If your area requires more than one piece of turf, pay special attention when seaming them together so that the seams are not visible. You will most likely want to use the heavy duty turf glue when seaming turf for dog areas. Also, make sure the edges of the turf area very secure. You may want to stake the turf in with 12 inch stakes more frequently than the recommended residential usage, or your dog may pull the corners and edges up.
Fake Turf for Doggie DayCares
ATXTurf has supplied turf to a number of commercial doggie daycares for larger areas. Often times, these facilities will install turf over a cement or asphalt parking lot, or even turf inside areas. While doable, drainage becomes the main question.
Some facilities have very well behaved dogs who get a lot of attention and drainage may not be as much of an issue. Other facilities, such as rescue shelters and adoption facilities, don’t have the resources to monitor less obedient dogs, and having some kind of drainage system under the turf is really necessary. It is important to understand that simply hosing artificial turf laying directly on a flat surface will not be sanitary as there is no where for the soiled water to go, and it will stay in the turf. If you are installing the turf inside a dog facility where dogs will be using it as their bathroom, you will need some type of drainage mat underneath it to allow water and air to freely flow.