04 Oct Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass for Dogs
Artificial turf, alternatively known as artificial grass, is a surface which is made up of synthetic fibres which are designed to resemble real, natural grass. Initially used for sports fields, it has since found use in a multitude of places, such as residential lawns and backyards. Turf can also be of great use to pet parents, especially pet parents who have dogs. However, should you replace that patch of natural grass in the backyard with some turf? Is it better for your dog? Here’s the pros and cons of artificial grass, to better help you decide whether you should get some for your pup or steer clear.
Benefits of Artificial Grass
1. Easy to Clean & Maintain
This is one of the main differences between turf and natural grass. Turf requires virtually no clean-up or maintenance, meaning you can essentially wash it or hose it down to remove anything on its surface. You also don’t have to worry about muddy grass or dirty paw prints in the house, as water does not collect on the surface of turf. It’ll also help you avoid giving your pet a bath every time they come in from the backyard. The only maintenance you need to do with turf is choose the right infill. Make sure to choose an infill which is non-toxic, and once you do, there is practically zero further maintenance required.
2. Contains No Pests
Natural grass contains an unfathomable number of pests. Ants, fleas, ticks, and a host of other pests use naturally grassy areas as their breeding grounds, meaning a dog rolling around in grass invariably picks up a few pests here and there. This isn’t an issue with synthetic grass, as pests generally steer clear of it, meaning no more unwanted pests on your pup and in your house.
3. No Gaps to Dig Through
Unlike natural grass, artificial grass is durable. Since dogs cannot dig through it, it discourages the practice, so no need to worry about holes or ditches in your backyard anymore. It also shows no deterioration with regular use, making it a long-lasting and durable option.
4. Dogs Cannot Tell One from the Other
A concern shared by pet parents is that their pup will not interact with turf the same way they would with grass. While a valid concern, it is an unnecessary one, as modern synthetic surfaces are designed to replicate the sensation of natural grass, and is soft and lush as a result. Pets can hardly tell the difference between the two, making it an excellent alternative to real grass.
5. Ease of Use All Year Round
Regardless of the prevailing weather conditions in your area, artificial grass is immune to it all. It requires no trimming, weeding, mud, dirt, or pesticides to retain its condition, and will not wilt or wither, unlike natural grass which will require significant tending to and maintenance. Natural grass also takes time to replenish after colder months or after a rough digging session by your pup, so bear that in mind as well.
Drawbacks of Artificial Grass
While the benefits of artificial grass are numerous, it is not without its drawbacks. Here are a few downsides of having a turfed lawn/backyard instead of one with natural grass.
1. Susceptibility to Heat
Unlike natural grass, a turfed lawn can get very hot, and stay that way, given how a lawn is exposed to sunlight for most of the day. An extremely hot turn lawn can be uncomfortable to walk on, and can cause discomfort to your pet, whose paws are sensitive to such high temperatures.
While artificial turf requires very little maintenance in general, you will have to be wary of foul odours. A turf might not look that dirty, though it doesn’t stain, it will smell if left unattended. A weekly hosing-down of the turn is recommended, especially if your pet spends a lot of time on it. A general cleaner or bleach may be employed for those fouler smells which refuse to go away. Alternatively, an anti-odour turf is a good idea to combat the odour.
Artificial grass is not cheap. Depending on the type & size of area you are looking to turf, the cost can seem exorbitant. However, the higher cost you pay initially is offset by the negligible maintenance required for it. It is a purchase which makes sense long-term, but seems costly on a shorter time frame. Natural grass might be cheaper at first, but the cost of weeding, construction, and maintenance will make it costly in the long run.
Overall, artificial grass is a more convenient alternative to natural grass, with a few caveats. Choose the option which better suits your needs, and if you do select artificial grass, make sure to specify a chemical-free, non-toxic turf.