Is Artificial Grass Safe for Dogs?

Artificial grass can be a perfect solution for people who want a beautiful, low-maintenance lawn. It looks just like the real thing but doesn’t require mowing, weeding, or even water. But before taking the leap, pet owners need to know: is artificial grass safe for dogs? The short answer is yes, but it’s complicated.

Dogs and Artificial Grass

Yes, artificial grass is generally safe for dogs. However, there is a wide array of factors you’ll have to consider as both a dog owner and a homeowner before you decide if artificial grass is right for you. You’ll have to ensure that it is not made using toxic chemicals, account for durability and cleanup, and even consider your region’s climate.

Is artificial grass right for you and your pet? Read on to find everything you’ll need to know to make the most informed decision possible.

Artificial Grass Features

It’s true that most of the best artificial grass for dogs is safe for dogs. But that doesn’t mean you can just grab any type of artificial grass and rest assured that it will be suitable for your furry friend. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant features you’ll need to account for.

Materials

Artificial grass is essentially a carpet styled to look like real grass. It is made from various plastics and rubber from recycled tires.

The vast majority of artificial grass is made without toxic materials, but that isn’t true of all of them. Some types of artificial grass are treated with lead. Before you consider anything else, make sure the grass isn’t going to poison your pup.

While it is uncommon to find toxic artificial grass, it is quite literally not safe to assume. So be sure to double-check before you move forward.

Temperature

Here’s something many people might not have considered when determining if artificial grass is right for their dog: temperature. It is not nearly as cool as natural grass. In fact, artificial grass reacts to heat in much the same way as asphalt.

That matters, because presumably, you want your dog to be able to lounge around and relax in your yard. If you live in a particularly warm climate, artificial grass might not be right for you.

Think about it like this: if your dog wouldn’t want to lounge around in your driveway, they’re probably not going to want to do so on artificial grass.

Cleanup

Your dog almost certainly does its business in your yard. That means you’re likely wondering what it will take to keep artificial grass clean and avoid lasting odors.

As we mentioned, artificial grass is simply a carpet of plastic laid out over your yard. That means it does not have the same natural drainage that real grass has. Now, that’s not to say you will have pools of urine sitting in your yard—just like you won’t have pools of rain. Liquids will rinse away naturally.

However, you’re going to want to clean your artificial grass regularly to avoid unpleasant odors. We recommend spraying your yard down with a hose about once a week (perhaps twice a week if it hasn’t rained). Every other week, take your dog’s favorite spots and clean it with some vinegar to eliminate any lingering smells.

Some users may be concerned about cleaning up feces on artificial grass, but there’s nothing to worry about. It’s exactly the same as natural grass; simply pick up the feces and dispose of them. We do, however, recommend going with a shorter cut, which will make disposal easier for you.

It’s true that this is more work than you’d need to clean up after your dog on natural grass, but it shouldn’t occupy too much of your time.

Durability

For many of you, this may be one of the main draws of getting artificial grass in the first place. Perhaps your dog is a digger, or perhaps they regularly relieve themselves in the same spot, and your natural grass is dying there. Artificial grass could certainly be your solution here.

However, there is one area where natural grass has the advantage over artificial: artificial grass will never grow back. Obviously, you don’t need to worry about waste damaging artificial grass. However, if your dog is a digger, or even just a particularly rambunctious player, you should be sure to invest in extra-durable artificial grass.

If your dog damages the grass, that’s that. You’ll need to replace it. So keep that in mind when choosing whether to get artificial grass and when choosing what type of artificial grass if you decide to do so.

Artificial Grass for Dogs Pros and Cons

Is artificial grass safe for dogs? The simple answer is yes. However, that does not mean it’s necessarily the right option for you and your dog. There are certainly benefits as a dog owner to having an artificial yard, but there are drawbacks as well.

Pros

  • It’s more durable than natural grass; it won’t be damaged by urine the way natural grass can be, and some models will stand up to digging dogs.
  • It’s surprisingly easy to clean; all you need to do is hose the yard down and occasionally apply vinegar to fend off smells.
  • Your dog can play outside after rain without getting muddy.
  • Pests like ticks and fleas do not thrive in artificial grass. This will reduce your dog’s chances of getting bitten or bringing insects inside.

Cons

  • Artificial grass reacts to heat similarly to asphalt. If you live in a warm climate, it can get way too hot for your pooch.
  • Certain varieties may contain lead, which is toxic.
  • If your dog damages the artificial grass, it won’t grow back. You’ll have to replace it.
  • The Bottom Line

Almost all artificial grass is safe for dogs. Just be sure to avoid one of the few varieties that contain lead. If you live in a cool climate, and are confident your dog won’t damage the grass, artificial grass can be the perfect solution to allow your dog to play while staying clean and reducing the time you have to spend on lawn care.