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The entire synthetic turf industry has finally realized that about 70% of all residential applications of synthetic turf are because of dogs.  This is good and bad.  In today’s blog I will briefly touch on some of the good and bad aspects of using synthetic turf for dogs.  As an educated consumer you will be best able to decide if this is something for you.

The Problem

Anyone that owns dogs, with the exception of the tiny toy breeds, has experienced the following problems:

  • Muddy Paws resulting in muddy paw prints in the house, on the floors and carpets and possibly the furniture.
  • Spending 10 minutes per dog cleaning their paws during particularly muddy times of the year.
  • Burnt out or torn up grass making the yard look like a neglected part of your property!
  • Cleaning up mushy feces whether from the dog or the result of rain.
  • Putting in new sod every year or two and watching that money go down the drain.

One Solution

A solution to these problems that continues to grow in popularity is synthetic turf.  Looking at the problems above, here’s how a synthetic turf solution addresses them:

  • Muddy Paws: installed over a minimum 2” bed of crushed rock, there will be no more mud in the lawn, meaning no more muddy paws, no matter how much it rains.
  • Cleaning Time: no muddy paws means cleaning time per dog is reduced to less than a minute to dry off their feet should the artificial grass still be wet from the rains.
  • Burnt Grass: dog urine, feces, pool chemicals, household cleaners, none of them will change the look of the turf.
  • Cleaning Up: a pleasant surprise is that synthetic turf will completely dry out the dog feces.  Within one dry day it turns from a mushy mess that’s difficult to clean, into a dry hard rock that can be cleaned up quickly and easily.  (See the video)
  • Annual Expense: On average, if you re-sod your yard every year or two, your Return On Investment (ROI) should be well over 300%.  Use our Savings Calculator to plug in your own numbers and see what your ROI will be from investing in synthetic turf.

The Good

Sounds pretty good, huh?  It is.  Look at the testimonials on our web site at perfectturf.com/testimonials/.  Talk with people who have had synthetic turf installed in their yards with dogs, on average they are very happy.  All the benefits above are what they have experienced and when a product looks good and improves the quality of your life, that’s going to result in high satisfaction rates.

The Bad

Here are the potential problems in using synthetic turf with dogs and what we hear from people who contact us after doing Internet research and talking with other companies.

  1. Some companies say it is maintenance free.  It is not.  Nothing is.  Depending on the number of dogs on your turf every day, maintenance can be minimal (once a week) to a daily procedure in the case of Dog Day Care facilities or Animal Hospitals.
  2. Some companies say they have a special infill that eats the odors and eliminates the need to purchase a turf with antimicrobial agents.  What they can’t tell you is that 5 years from now, or even 2 years from now, whether their special infill will be effective.  The product being sold under different names as this “miracle odor-eating infill” is Zeolite.  Zeolite does have odor absorbing properties, but then needs to be left out in the sun to release the odors and be recharged.  How is that going to happen when it is embedded down in the turf?  Only the very top layer will ever see any sunlight and not much at that.
  3. Zeolite is not smooth.  Ask these same companies that are promoting Zeolite what kind of sand infill they recommend for a non-dog application and they will say, “rounded silica sand.”  Ask them why and the answer is, “because play sand has jagged edges and can degrade your fibers when you walk on it.”  Final question would be, “So does the Zeolite come like rounded Silica sand?”  Their answer may be a long pause….it doesn’t.
  4. Some companies say their turf is “anti-microbial” which is them saying, we don’t have anti-microbial additives in our turf, but bacteria and parasites don’t live well in a plastic environment.  There’s a big difference between trying to wait for the bacteria to hopefully die and killing it on contact because your product has actual antimicrobial additives in it.  To my knowledge only Perfect Turf®-PetGrass and ForeverLawn’s K9Grass have actual anti-microbial additives in their products designed for dog facilities and residential applications.

Want to know more about synthetic turf and using it for dogs?  Download our free consumer buying guide here.  Feel free to contact our company for more information.  Talk to dog day care facilities about their experiences with synthetic turf.  They are putting 30-100 dogs a day on their turf, if it is working for them, then it will work for your yard and your much smaller number of dogs.
Thanks for reading,

Dave Sternberg, founder, Perfect Turf LLC