Muddy paw prints. Bugs, fleas and other insects. Australians spend thousands of dollars on lawn care just to have their pets ruin it. If you’re a dog owner with a lawn, chances are you have to deal with it all the time. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to consider landscaping alternatives to real grass, like artificial turf. However, the first question you probably have is, how safe is artificial turf for my dog?
Fortunately, artificial turf is a pet-friendly landscaping option to traditional grass lawns. Artificial turf is not only durable and low-maintenance, but it can also provide a safe and enjoyable environment for your dog, much like natural grass.
Here you will find out how artificial turf and pets can be a good mix.
Should I Get Artificial Turf With A Dog?
As a dog owner, your pet’s safety will be one of your biggest concerns when considering artificial turf to replace real grass. Especially since words like “artificial” make you think of synthetic and harmful chemicals.
The good news is that artificial turfs are constantly evolving and have to meet specific industry safety standards before being sold and installed.
Advantages Of Getting Artificial Turf For Your Lawn
Artificial turf has become a popular alternative for these reasons:
Natural grass is vulnerable to lawn diseases, especially if you live in an area susceptible to fungal growth. The amount of fungus that can grow on your lawn is affected by the height of your grass, how frequently you water it, and how much you spend on pesticides. If your pet consumes any of that grass, it can be hazardous to their health.
To prevent fungal growth, you need to invest in lawn care services, like mowing and general maintenance; but it can be costly and time-consuming. If you have artificial grass on your lawn, you won’t have to deal with fungi and lawn diseases, giving you more peace of mind for your pet’s wellbeing.
No Need For Pesticides Or Fertilisers
Using fertilisers and pesticides to maintain healthy lawns can get expensive. The harmful chemicals they contain also pose health risks to you, your family and your pets.
When you replace your lawn grass with artificial turf, you won’t be needing pesticides or fertilisers to maintain your lawn.
Less Water Consumption
While watering your lawn can add up on your water bill, artificial turf doesn’t have that problem. The only time artificial turf needs watering is when it is time to clean it. Because you only need to clean artificial turf occasionally, you’ll use less water for lawn maintenance and lower your water bill.
Less Air and Water Pollution
If you have actual grass on your lawn, you will need to mow it regularly. Of course, this takes time, and both electric and gas-powered lawnmowers pollute the air.
Artificial grass does not require any mowing. You can quickly clean dirt and debris with a broom and have it look wonderful right away—no fuel, no watering, just a quick brush now and again for perfect-looking grass.
No Weed Growth
Synthetic grass doesn’t have a foundation that allows weeds to grow on, unlike natural grass. When weeds overtake your lawn, they steal water and nutrients that natural grass needs to grow.
If this happens, your grass weakens and becomes more susceptible to disease, insect infestation or drought. Other than affecting the health of your grass, some weeds are poisonous. If you’ve got a dog, reducing them coming into contact with toxic plants is so important.
Artificial turf completely avoids this issue. There’s no way for unsightly weeds to grow and get caught up in your lawn, giving you a better-looking lawn that’s safer for your dogs.
No Pest Invasion
Other than weed growth, artificial lawn makes bugs and pests a thing of the past! Things like bugs, fleas and ticks that live in natural grass can cling to your pet’s fur and infest your living space when your dog comes back inside the house after playing outdoors.
Fewer Health Concerns and Injuries
Having artificial grass installed in your yard creates a safe play space, not just for your pets but also for children. Natural grass can be slippery after watering. Rain can create mud puddles.
Heavy use, especially in rainy conditions, creates an even surface that’s an accident waiting to happen. These can be dangerous for both humans and pets. Even if you’re careful, stepping in the wrong place, like a pothole, can lead to easily avoidable injuries. Although they seem minor, there’s no reason to risk a sprained or broken ankle when artificial turf exists.
Artificial turf maintains its vibrant, attractive colour all year round. It won’t turn brown or dry out during the summer. Artificial turf won’t get muddy when the rainy season hits, so your pet stays clean even after playing outside.
Disadvantages of Getting Artificial Turf for Your Lawn
Artificial turf installation isn’t without drawbacks, which may keep customers on the fence about choosing it over a natural lawn.
Artificial grass can be expensive to install, especially if you’ll be using one of a high standard. Other components used in an installation such as weed membrane, nails, yarns and adhesives also add to the cost. Although artificial turf is a great investment long term, the initial cost can be a barrier for some people.
Artificial grass can get hot and uncomfortable to walk on when exposed to high heat. However, you can resolve this by spraying the turf with water to cool it down. You can also lay down a blanket over a spot on the grass in case you want to spend some time outdoors with your dog.
Is Artificial Turf Dangerous For Animals?
Modern artificial turf is safer and more dog-friendly than it’s ever been. However, it’s not perfect. When you’re choosing the right artificial turf for your home, be sure to find out which pose toxic threats for dogs when consumed. Your local artificial turf expert will have all the information you’ll need, including:
Quality Of Installation
To maximise your investment, hire an experienced turf installation provider. They are knowledgeable about how to properly install the turf, even out the surface and address the backing, infill, edges and seams. They will make sure that the artificial turf is installed correctly so it can withstand wear-and-tear from your dog’s paws, nails or claws.
Quality Of Turf
There are many types of artificial turf, with most made from plastic or nylon. They look similar in appearance, so you may need to research which one is of better quality. A high-quality turf will not only look like real grass, but it will also feel softer to the touch. Your pet won’t know the difference between real grass and artificial turf, which will encourage them to go out and play on your lawn.
Quality Of Infill
The infill is the layer underneath the surface of the artificial grass. It keeps the blades upright and helps shield the backing from UV rays. It also improves drainage and helps eliminate odours. Some of the recommended infill types are silica sand, crumb rubber, and zeolite.
Some turf installation providers may suggest that there is no need to use an infill. However, it’s plain to see why we overall recommend installing it underneath the artificial grass in most situations.
What Pets Should I Consider When Choosing An Artificial Lawn?
Artificial turf is safe for dogs, cats and other house pets. When choosing which type of artificial turf to install on your lawn, you should also look at the length and shape of the blade. For landscape turf, the recommended blade length is less than five centimetres.
If you want it to be an activity area, you may opt for artificial grass with a blade length longer than five centimetres, as this will provide more cushion and have higher impact resistance. In terms of blade shape, you would want to choose M-shaped, U-shaped or V-shaped blades as these look realistic, durable, and are suitable for high-traffic or play areas.
Benefits Of Dogs And Artificial Turf
Installing artificial turf on your lawn is not only beneficial to your pets. You can also enjoy many benefits from having an artificial lawn.
- It will stay looking brand new even with daily use.
- It feels like natural grass that your pets will love to roll around on it.
- It won’t be as uncomfortable as walking on hard ground, like cement or tiles.
- You will worry less about your pets having allergies, skin irritation or ticks.
- It won’t get dirty when wet, so you won’t be cleaning paw prints inside your house.
- It only requires occasional cleaning, which will let you save time and money.
Do Dogs Need Real Turf?
Dogs don’t necessarily need real grass. Admittedly, some pet owners may argue that nothing beats the feel, look and smell of real grass. While this may be true, having artificial turf installed on your lawn instead of real grass is a practical alternative if you want to create a safer environment for your pets and protect them from harmful lawn chemicals, weeds and bugs.
Will Artificial Turf Affect Their Toileting?
Pets can relieve themselves on artificial turf as easily as they would on real grass. However, artificial will not absorb pet urine and waste because it has a built-in drainage system. To maintain proper hygiene and make cleaning easy, you may also need to potty train your pet so they will do their business only in a designated area.
Sam Christie is the owner and operator of Christies landscapes, founded in 2013 Sam and his team of landscapers and designers have many years experience in the landscape construction industry. Over the years they have developed and refined a broad range of skills, qualifications and techniques to deliver outstanding projects throughout the Canberra region.