There is a number of common concerns that most of our clients have in mind. We try to bring those up to the best of our ability by answering the most common questions below. Most homeowners would prefer artificial turf to the mud and mess of grass because there is simply no better solution but installing artificial turf for dogs.
Is artificial pet turf safe?
This question is easy. Artificial pet turf is safe and lead-free. Manufacturers provide lead-free certificates with their products. It is incredibly difficult for dogs to chew or eat plastic grass. Most pets would never even try to do that. Some dogs try digging it. But only a very persistent dog would succeed in getting through the thatch, sand, and two to three layers of backing. There is something to be proud of if this has happened to your yard!
Does pet-friendly artificial grass get hot?
Yes, it does. K9 turf is made of polyethylene. It absorbs heat and could reach temperatures as high as 120F. This temperature is not comfortable for most people and their lovely pets. Therefore, most manufacturers try to reduce the heat of the surface as much as physically possible. Some manufacturers coat artificial turf with heat-reflecting layers, others reduce the density of backing material.
We visit hundreds of backyards and pet facilities and look at materials from various suppliers.
In our experience, there are other factors that affect the temperature of the artificial grass surface. We do not guarantee that our statements are 100% accurate. Yet, we tried to put a list of our observations down below.
Here is what makes turf warmer:
- The darker the turf the warmer it gets.
- The denser the turf, the more heat it absorbs.
- The flatter the blade the faster it transfers the heat.
- The more uniform the turf is, the less wind cools it down.
- The more infill applied, the warmer it gets.
- The flatter matted turf, the denser and warmer it gets.
Typically, a hot pet turf system looks dark green, high pile, 90-ounce slim blade, or diamond blade turf with green colored silica sand infill. – Hot as hell, burns the feet right away.
Typically, a cooler pet turf system looks like: lime green, low pile, 60-ounce wide shape, stronger and thinner blades with space in between them stabilized by curly thatch and antibacterial sand or a mix of antibacterial sand and turf deodorizer. – Warm or hot, but bearable.
How do I cool down the artificial turf for dogs?
First, determine if you need to cool it down at all. Many pets do not sit under direct sun for a time long enough to get exposed to the heat. Most pets try to avoid extreme heat and prefer moderate temperatures, in the morning or afternoon.
Unlike concrete, turf cools down within minutes when wind, evaporation, or shade is applied.
You can cool down turf by:
- Increasing air circulation with an air blower.
- Cool down the turf with water. It will stay cool until water evaporates.
- Install shade where used the most, for example, at fenced dog runs.
Will fake grass for dogs smell?
Yes, it will unless you clean it. If you install a toilet in your house but do not flush it, it is going to smell really, really bad! The same goes for the fake grass for dogs. Homeowners have to clean fake turf after the dogs to keep it fresh.
There are two types of smell on K9 turfs. The smell of urine and the smell of spoiled eggs.
The smell of urine is the least of worries. It could be cleaned relatively easily with soapy water. Just hose turf down with a mixture of pet-safe cleaner and water. The smell of spoiled eggs means that there could be bacteria infestation, usually accumulated under the pet turf surface. This issue requires a more thorough treatment at the bacterial level with mold-killing substances and sanitization. In some cases, complete turf replacement is unavoidable. Drain core installation for pet turf minimizes the chances of bacteria infestation and allows it to clean and dry turf from underneath.
How to keep dog turf clean:
Occasional exposure (rare neighbor pets at front yards):
Just rinse turf with water. Apply soapy water or sanitizers once in a while.
Moderate exposure (a dog is trained to a dedicated place but occasionally goes on the grass here and there):
To keep turf clean, it is important to prevent bacterial growth. Sanitizers, in combination with turf deodorizer, do a great job of maintaining pet turf freshness. For additional protection, you may use chlorine-based sanitizers, such as Wysiwash. A drain core system is recommended.
High exposure (More than one dog uses the area constantly):
For pet relief areas, we recommend installing sanitizer with an automated rinse system. This allows you to wash the dog lawn surface regularly in a cost-effective manner. Note, regular sprinklers help keep the dog lawn clean but may not be sufficient enough to replace a hose or wash system. Installation of a drain core is a must. Without the drain core, your yard will smell in a matter of weeks. You will not be able to get rid of that smell easily.
How do you determine which system you need?
If you notice the smell during the day when the sun is up, then you need the drain core. You notice it because the surface is wet and bacteria may be growing underneath.
What infill do you recommend?
There are four different types of infill, in general.
Silica sand, #16 grit silica sand is the most affordable infill for pet turf. Its granules are large enough to minimize compaction and allow for air access. Yet, there are better alternatives.
Antibacterial sand with Microban is one of the best options to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew causing stains and smell. This infill provides ventilation and bouncy performance. It does not stick to cloth or hair and thus will not be brought into the house.
Turf deodorizer, or volcanic ash, is a clean porous material that is negatively charged to kill the ammonia smell. We use it to release the smell under the dog lawn in residential areas. For commercial, turf deodorizer can be applied on top of turf or mixed with antibacterial sand for the best performance. Note, turf deodorizer may leave white stains that are washable, yet annoying when wet.
Natural infill, made of tree bark or cork, such as Corkonut or Brockfill is rare to find. By the nature of it, it shall be one of the coolest infills available because it is so light. It also contains moisture. However, we are concerned with how this infill works with bacteria and cleaning as it creates moisture abundant environments that are separated from the ground with backing.
What is a permeable backing in artificial grass?
Most or all artificial grass backings are permeable. There are three types available on the market: pet turf with cloth backing, pet turf with micro holes, and punch hole turf.
A completely permeable backing (cloth and micro-holes) allows hosing grass down directly into the ground at every single spot. At regular hole punch spot turf, water and dirt have to travel a few inches to find a hole.
A completely permeable backing is a good idea, however, there are a few reasons why many companies do not widely offer it. Reason one is that some permeable backings retain moisture, like a wet cloth. Bacteria love moisture. Even though it drains through, the cloth blocks bacteria and dirt like a filter. The second reason is that completely permeable backing is generally less durable. Such material has much less chance of survival in harsh conditions caused by salt, moisture, and UV rays.
In most residential and commercial applications we see three times the backing with holes every few inches through the surface of pet turf. In our experience, this works best. And yes, we install turf similar to the Synlawn pet system and EasyTurf grass with permeable backing artificial turf materials for those who love it!
Will artificial grass for pets fall during normal use?
Yes, any artificial grass will eventually fall. This process is called matting. However, some grasses could fall within weeks, others may stay as installed for years. Most people think that the more weight in the grass (90oz, 100oz, 110oz) the longer it is going to last. This is partly true. However such grass may last just as installed for a few weeks or months only. The biggest performance secret, in our experience, is in the structure of artificial grass blades. The stronger the blade, the longer the grass looks as it did when installed. The stronger the blade, the easier it is to brush it up and support the worn area with more infill.
Why is fake grass for dogs still the best option?
Well, it is great to have a green, natural, plush vibrant lawn. But most homeowners are not that lucky. We see mud, dirt, weeds, and stones. All of this travels into the houses. And despite all those shortcomings of artificial pet turf, there is nothing else to replace it with. A Pet turf system is a cost-efficient way to create a clean surface that your pets can enjoy year-round. And with some care, this alternative works for most of us. That is why so many people convert to fake grass for dogs.
What is the difference between K9 turf and pet turf or dog turf?
The only difference we could find is the name and manufacturers. It is essentially the same product serving the same purpose. It is just people call them differently depending on the type of commercial they remembered.
How do you install artificial grass for pets?
In general, the procedure is the same as for artificial grass lawns. We have to remove existing turf, cap sprinklers, and rewire irrigation, then we need to separate the turf area from planters and haul away excess dirt. Then we put down about two to three inches of road base, compact it, and proceed with K9 grass installation.
There are a few systems we can help you build.
First, and the most affordable, is lawn-type artificial grass for pets for occasional use under close supervision. We would apply a layer of turf deodorizer under the turf and then nail turf down on the perimeter and throughout the lawn. Turf deodorizer will take care of occasional exposure to urine. And you would save the most money.
The second option is for moderate use under close supervision. We would still use nails to nail down both drain core and artificial turf to the ground. We would apply turf deodorizer underneath and antibacterial infill on top.
The third type is designed for the areas with safety requirements. We cannot use nails where dogs are left unsupervised for their safety. In this case, we have to install planks on the perimeter and staple artificial turf material to the planks. Nail free pet systems usually cost a bit more.
And finally, for the heavy use areas, we have to build a drainage system, wash system, and deodorizer. Such projects are always custom and require additional attention. Often installed at hotels, pet facilities, and public spaces.
What is the best artificial turf for dogs?
This is a difficult question. Some people like it plush, others like it easy to clean. It is hard to say without being opinionated. We try to set our priorities based on basic needs and safety requirements.
First, the turf should be washable so that both your pet and you could enjoy the area free from odor and bacteria. Microban technology artificial grass materials help us achieve a cleaner surface.
Second, the turf should be at a comfortable temperature. We try to select turf materials and infill that is the coolest to our knowledge. We constantly monitor the market for new grasses to offer our clients.
Third, the surface should perform well in terms of drainage and traffic. For each project, we try to identify potential landscape shortcomings and address them prior to the installation of artificial turf for dogs.
And finally, we use special tools to check that compaction is great, that nails are safe. That seams are hidden and strong.
The best artificial turf for dogs would be safer, cleaner, cooler, and look just as installed for a longer time.
How much does it cost to install pet-friendly artificial grass?
On average, artificial turf for dogs costs more than regular lawns. The price increase comes from advanced material requirements, infills and compaction, drainage, and safety measures. You are looking at at least $8.5 per sq.ft. for a quality pet turf installation. It is not rare when we have to decline pet turf projects because clients try to save on materials. It costs double to remove existing turf and reinstall the new one. And we know that saving $1-3 per sq.ft. would ruin the pet-friendly artificial grass project, creating an immediate need to invest much more in the nearest future. We do not want to be the ones to blame. Our goal is to make you proud of our work and recommend us to others.