If you’ve ever lived in a house with a mid-sized dog, goat, or capybara, you know the damage a lovable, energetic pet can do to a yard. And if you don’t let them get some of that energy out in the yard, then you also know the damage they can do to the inside of your house too!
A quick roommate story: A year after moving in with some friends and two dogs in the 30-50 lb. range, the grass in the backyard was practically nonexistent. Those dogs loved to play, and if they weren’t playing they might be eating rugs, books, or furniture. So letting them work out their energy outside was better than the alternative.
Of course, all their roughhousing and digging eventually created a bald spot that no amount of watering, nitrogen spiking or seeding seemed to have any effect on. Eventually, to appease the landlord, I soaked the yard, tore it up, and re-sodded the whole thing. What a pain!
Will it Hold Up?
One of the biggest questions for pet owners about artificial turf is will it withstand everything my pet is going to put it through? And that’s a valid question, but the short answer is yes. Think about the artificial turf you see in sports arenas. Those teams play countless games, run practice drills and scrimmages constantly. If that artificial turf can withstand 250 lb. linebackers in cleats, it can withstand a couple of German Shepherds.
Digging is a big question when it comes to dogs especially. What happens when my dog tries to dig a hole in the yard? Most dogs know instinctively that they can’t dig in this new surface. It doesn’t feel like dirt, and as a result they have less of an urge to dig. Think about it – have you ever seen a dog try to dig a hole in a sidewalk? Probably not.
Okay, but what happens if they do try? Well, mostly nothing. They’ll try, and try, and when nothing happens, they’ll be sort of confused, and eventually they’ll get over it and move on to something else (possibly someone’s flower beds). It may make for a sad pupper (and that’s no fun!) but they’re not going to tear a hole in the turf. At worst, they may dislodge some of the infill, creating a little bit of a divot that needs to be filled later once they’ve learned they can’t dig a hole in this new lawn.
As an added bonus, you’ll have to worry less about your animals tracking in dirt when they’ve been playing on your new lawn.
This is a big one. What do you do when your pet does a #2 on your new lawn? Well, the good news is artificial lawns are surprisingly easy to clean. Urine is easy – just hose down the area and your lawn should be like new.
Solid pet waste seems like it might be a bigger concern, but it’s also generally pretty easy. A lot of people scoop of a fair bit of dirt with their solid pet waste, and with artificial lawns that’s no longer possible. But our artificial lawn won’t stain, and it’s very, very resistant to smells. That said, the quicker you clean it up, the easier it will be. Simply remove the dog or cat poop and hose down the area with water, and that should remove the smell for most solid pet waste, and let any remaining bits filter through into the soil below.
In cases of diarrhea, a smell that’s still lingering, or a particularly large mess, you can use household cleaners on your artificial lawn without worry. A little bit of scrubbing – just like say, cleaning the toilet – will solve most of those problems. Some people don’t like the idea of using cleansers that will soak through to the soil – which we understand. A spray bottle full of half vinegar and half water is a good natural cleaning solution that will work on artificial lawns (and also in your microwave, just FYI).
If you’re really worried about smells, ask about our Zeofill that creates an odor barrier. It’s an option for homes with multiple pets that are worried about, or especially sensitive to odors.
But will your pets like their artificial lawn?
The other question we get asked a lot is whether pets actually like the artificial turf. The answer again is yes! We have yet to see a dog look at artificial turf and decide it’s some alien object that they will not walk on. Most animals are naturally curious, and every dog we’ve seen has been eager to try it out.
Your dogs may miss being able to roll around in the dirt and get messy, or dig holes in your yard. Lots of dogs like to be dirty. Some dogs like to roll in raw sewage! We’re not judging, we’re just saying, your dogs may miss their rascally ways, but they’ll will be fine. And maybe they’ll be a little cleaner and nicer smelling (to humans, anyway).