Artificial turf is low-maintenance and stain-free.
Fake grass is ideal for dogs with allergies.
Watch out for it getting too hot on summer days.
Look for artificial grass with pet-friendly design features.
Are you fed up with the urine patches your precious pooch leaves all over your grass? If so, you might be considering whether it's worth joining the growing number of U.S. homeowners who have a perennially green, lush-looking, pet-friendly artificial turf lawn.
Read on to find out the pros and cons of artificial grass for pet owners, along with the pet-centric design features to look out for if you're opting for this low-maintenance solution.
The Pros and Cons of Artificial Turf for Pet Owners
While installing artificial turf when you have pets has some obvious advantages, it isn't without its drawbacks. The pros and cons below will help you measure up whether it's the right type of landscaping for you and your furry family members.
Dog urine doesn't leave ugly patches or stains like it does on real grass.
Dogs with grass allergies will be more comfortable.
No more mega muddy paw prints trailing through the house on wet days.
It eliminates the problem if you have an obsessive grass-eating dog.
Doesn't require the same maintenance as a real lawn—no reseeding those burned patches.
You won't need to use lawn pesticides or fertilizers, which can be harmful to your pet and the environment.
With built-in drainage, it's easy to clean up your pooch's pee and poop and hose away pesky odors.
You won't have issues if you have a dog that attacks lawn sprinkler systems (and you’ll reduce your water use by up to 30%).
Dogs that love to dig are less likely to try this on a synthetic lawn, where they can't easily access the earth.
Artificial grass absorbs heat much more than real grass. It’ll be harder to keep your dog cool in the summer, and they could even burn their paw pads while going out to potty.
Hounds that love lounging in soft grass may not be fans of the more abrasive artificial varieties, and you might need to rake up flattened grass blades regularly to make it more comfortable.
Fake grass makes for an expensive chew-toy and a choking hazard for those nibbly dogs.
Although it has some environmental advantages, overall, it’s less eco-friendly than a real lawn. The carbon footprint required to make the turf is high, it often isn't recyclable, and it doesn't make for a suitable habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.
Although it's a sanitary practice to pick up your dog's poop regularly in any yard space, it does gradually degrade into the ground on a natural lawn. It doesn't do this on artificial grass, so regular pick up, disinfecting, and hosing down is a must.
Pet-Friendly Artificial Turf Costs
The cost to purchase and install artificial turf ranges from around $2,800 to $6,700. Much depends on the size of your yard and the quality of the turf you select. You can save a fair amount if you fit the turf yourself (labor costs range between $3 to $12 per square foot).
However, hiring a local turf installation pro means you’ll get a secure fit (making it less likely your feisty fido can rip up or chew on the edges) and appropriate drainage—avoiding the pungent odors of lingering dog urine.
Non-toxic, pet-friendly artificial grass sometimes costs a little more, but it’s worth investing to minimize odors, ensure good drainage, and cope with heavy traffic.
Which Type of Artificial Grass Is Best When You Have Pets?
There are various elements to consider when selecting pet-friendly artificial turf. If you’re uncertain, take advice from a reputable professional.
Polypropylene and polyethylene are good pet-friendly turf options as they have better drainage capabilities than more moisture-absorbing, uncomfortably stiff nylon.
Look for options with permeable backing and plenty of drainage holes to prevent lingering odors and unsanitary conditions.
So the turf can withstand your dog’s regular zoomies, it should be a springier, higher density yarn that’s resistant to flattening—70 to 90 ounces would be ideal.
A low pile height makes it easier to clean up pet waste, but it isn’t as durable.
Some companies offer heat-resistance fibers, which helps to keep your dog cooler on those hot days.
Bound edges and non-fraying construction are helpful if you have a chewy-happy dog.
The infill helps to keep the turf in place and the blades upright. Crumb rubber and sand retain urine odors more, so infill materials like copper slag, silica sand, or rounded quartz core may be a better choice. Some come with antimicrobial properties to help eliminate any lingering urine odors.
Other Pet-Friendly Lawn Alternatives
If you don’t want the expense or ethical dilemma of artificial turf, consider alternative landscaping. Some other pet-safe options include durable ground covers like clover, dye-free bark mulch, smooth gravel, pavers, or other hardscaping.