Artificial turf or artificial grass is a natural grass-like surface that is made of synthetic fibers. It is usually used in sports arenas, but are now growing in demand for both commercial applications and residential lawns.
In this post, you'll learn everything about artificial grass for dogs to help you make the best decision when buying one for your furry friends.
How Artificial Grass Works
Synthetic grass is made by melting the material, like how a polymer, and ribbons are created, until the grass is ready for tufting. The artificial grass is tufted to a fabric backing. The adhesive used is polyurethane for a polypropylene material. After completing the tufting manufacturing process, artificial grass is ready for installation.
During the installation of the artificial grass, a generous layer of infill or small granules (made from silica dust, crushed rubber, sand, or a combination of these materials) is scattered throughout the surface to provide cushioning and support. In that way, the artificial turf can withstand traffic and will last for many years. The infill keeps the artificial grass blades upright and beautiful.
Features and Benefits of Artificial Grass
As a dog owner, you only want the best for your pet, so you provide your hundred percent tender loving care at all times. You want your dogs to enjoy playing while they help you become physically active and boost your confidence and passion in taking care of them and the people you love.
One of the best ways to show how much you care and love your fur babies is by installing an artificial turf for dogs in your home. Artificial grass has a lot of advantages for your furry friends. Here are some examples:
- Safety Feature: Artificial turf is created soft and warm. It's generally safe for your dogs to play on it and it’s very inviting, most especially in the sun, giving your total dog relaxation and pure enjoyment in warm weather.
- Stays Lush and Green: Homeowners don't need to feed or weed an artificial lawn. With little maintenance, you'll keep your artificial grass lush and green for many years to come. You don't have to water it and no need to worry about drying out or dying grass anymore, unlike natural grass.
- Durable: Artificial grass is made of durable materials like nylon, polypropylene, or polyethylene material that can withstand aggressive dogs.
- Dog-friendly: Artificial turf is increasingly becoming popular in backyards, front yards, dog runs, and play areas because dogs love it just like real grass.
Common Concerns About Artificial Grass for Dogs
Because artificial grass is made of synthetic material, a lot of homeowners have concerns when it comes to maintenance and cleanliness. These might be your concerns as well, so it's worth discussing these things in this post.
Here are some of the issues or major source of concerns when using artificial grass:
- Melting or Overheating: Because modern artificial grasses were made using melted polymers with UV protection, overheating, or melting due to the heat of the sun is not a major cause of concern. Synthetic turf can withstand extreme temperatures because it is not made from cheap plastic materials.
- Dog Poo and Pee: Many homeowners are skeptical about using artificial grass because of the possibility of urine and fecal material from their furry friends damaging a fake lawn. Artificial turf won't die, unlike real grass, even if your dog poo or pee on it. Also, you don't need to be stressed about urine spills because it drains away, and you can simply scoop the feces and clean up the mess using a water hose to remove residual dirt and stains.
- Nasty Odors: You can naturally and permanently eliminate nasty odors lingering from your dog and fake grass by applying some baking soda and vinegar over the area.
Natural Grass vs. Artificial Grass: Which is a Better Option?
What are the differences between natural grass and artificial grass? Why should you choose artificial grass over natural grass for your dogs?
There’s no doubt that natural grass reflects the real beauty of nature and gardening brings joy and health benefits for you. But, artificial grass can be highly beneficial if you're trying to care for pets and maintain the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your home at the same time.
Dogs can be playful and overly naughty, so natural grass can easily get damaged and turn out ugly because of muddy footprints with grass fibers scattered around. However, with artificial grass, you have less stress handling gardening problems and pet mess at the same time.
As previously mentioned, artificial turf never withers, and they don't need nutrients and water to remain lush and green.
Here are some other differences between natural grass and artificial turf:
- Chemical Exposure and Bacterial Buildup: Chemicals are frequently used in natural grass lawns, requiring an abundance of pesticides and herbicides to keep pests away and for them to look their best. It is especially true if you hire a landscaping company to take care of your yard, which makes it difficult to determine if they're using natural products or organic options.
- On the other hand, artificial grass doesn't require fertilizers, so even if they chew on safe artificial turf, chemicals won't be a major source of concern. Artificial turf also comes with anti-microbial or acrylic-coated infill to avoid bacterial buildup.
- Maintenance: You need to mow, weed, water, and fertilize natural grass while artificial grass only requires water and vinegar solution to keep it clean and odor-free (more on maintenance discussion below).
- Overall Safety: Conventional grass usually has uneven surfaces that may pose a safety hazard to your pets and children. The correct level of the ground is usually impossible to see, which can cause tripping accidents. On the other hand, synthetic turf installers know how to work on edges, seams, and the sub-surfaces, so they are level or even for children and pets to play. The infill also provides extra cushion if ever your dog falls down to improve safety.
How Artificial Grass Can Make a Difference
Surely, you now probably have realized how effective and efficient an artificial grass is for you as a pet owner. But, how can artificial grass affect the life of your dogs in general?
Here are the impacts of installing an artificial turf for dogs:
- Dogs Take It Pretty Quickly: Are you worried that your dog won't love the feel of artificial grass? Don't worry because artificial grass feels and looks similar to natural grass without becoming muddy. Dogs generally love comfort, so installing artificial turf is like re-carpeting their play area with denser and softer material.
- Small Dogs Love It: Overgrown natural grass can become an intimidating place for small dogs. With artificial grass, you don't need to mow your lawn, and the tidy length may persuade them to go outside more often. By doing so, they tend to get more exercise, get physically active and confident, and help them do their activities with ease.
- Cope With Your Dogs’ Habits: Dogs love to lie down on certain spots, and the good thing about artificial turf is that it compacts when lying on and spring back after. It is because artificial turf is made of durable plastic so that it won't get damaged even with energetic play. Just wash the area with soapy water to keep your dog's favorite spot sanitary.
How to Maintain Artificial Grass for Dogs
Artificial grass is not totally maintenance-free. Like natural grass, you have to keep it looking at its best, so your dog can use it for many years. Regular cleaning and maintenance are important.
How often do you clean artificial grass? Well, it really depends on the situation. For instance, you'll likely need to clean your artificial lawn more often if you have several outdoor pets, lots of shrubs and trees, and children playing around.
Living in a sandy or dusty area may also require rinsing down your artificial lawn more often. Allow the rain to drain and wash it during rainy days. Due to a wide array of factors involved in cleanliness and maintenance, setting up a maintenance schedule will help you keep your artificial lawn at its best at all times.
Here's a quick guide in maintenance scheduling of artificial grass for dogs:
- Weekly Synthetic Lawn Maintenance: Lightly rinse your artificial lawn once a week. Use a water hose to spray down the synthetic grass fibers to remove small debris and dust.
- Monthly Synthetic Lawn Maintenance: You need to do a more thorough artificial grass cleaning every month by removing dirt, dust, and leaves using a stiff brush. Avoid using steel bristles because they could cause undue damaged on the artificial grass. Using a handled brush or a broom is also a good idea to sweep natural grass grain and maintain the grass in an upright position.
How to Clean Pet Waste From Artificial Grass
Artificial grass is a pet-friendly option that only requires minimal maintenance to keep your lawn looking great. Your dog may urinate or defecate in your synthetic turf, but you can address this problem by:
- Removing solid waste with a pooper scooper or baggie.
- Cleaning the area by using a water hose in a decent pressure.
- Making sure to spray or clean areas where your dog frequently urinates at least once or twice a week.
- Applying a turf deodorizer is a good idea to keep nasty smells away.
Note: You can create a separate bathroom area, like a gravel or dirt patch in your side yard, to make synthetic lawn maintenance a lot easier. Dogs can be easily trained to use separate bathroom areas.
How to Clean Stubborn Stains from Artificial Grass
Stubborn stains could be chewing gum, sticky candies, barbecue sauces, spills, and blood. While many stains can be easily washed away, you can use mild soap and warm water to clean stubborn stains. Also, you can use a water and vinegar solution as a cleansing agent to help remove bacteria or disinfect the area.
Here are some tips when removing stubborn stains:
- If ever a chewing gum, gummy candy, sticky candy, or caramel chocolate stick on the artificial grass, you can simply pick them up with your hand.
- Chilling the gum with an ice cube is a good idea to remove chewing gum easily.
- Also, a plastic putty knife can help remove tough stains.
- Don't use harsh solvents or chemicals to remove sticky substances or spills from your artificial lawn because they can damage the fibers due to their corrosive properties.
How to Avoid Burns on Artificial Grass
You can repair cigarette burns in your synthetic lawn. Burns are usually caused by lubricant spill, grease, battery acid, and motor oil, that may damage or discolor your artificial grass. Prevent burns by repairing your car or not using garden tools near or on your synthetic lawn.
Also, cigarettes, fireworks, sparks from fire pits, and charcoal spill from grills can cause burns of artificial grass. That's why you have to keep a safe distance when grilling, smoking, or lighting fireworks to avoid burning your artificial grass. You can always contact your artificial lawn provider for repair options.
How to Remove Ice and Snow from Artificial Grass
It's quite easy to remove ice and snow from your synthetic lawn by allowing them to melt and eventually drain away naturally. If you're dealing with a light snow dusting, simply sweep or brush the snow away. For several inches of snow, you can use a snowblower or shovel to remove the top layers, and the bottom layers are best brushed or swept away.
Artificial grass is a great alternative to natural grass if you have dogs around because it is more durable and requires little maintenance. Removing dirt, ice or snow, and stubborn stains are easy with simple tools to use. Also, dogs love synthetic grass-like natural grass because they're much softer and denser, and grasses don't grow at all, which is beneficial for small dogs.
Investing in a synthetic lawn is a wise move because you'll save money with watering, fertilizing, and hiring a landscape company to maintain a conventional lawn. Your dogs are also happier because they can easily get used to the feeling and the looks of an artificial lawn. For pet owners, your life is a lot easier because you don't have to deal with the mess every time so that you can spend more quality time with your family and pets.