Pros and Cons of Artificial Grass for Dogs

Want a lawn where Fido can jump and play, but not destroy? Artificial grass could save you time and money. Choose the right type of artificial grass for dogs, and it may even be pet-friendlier than the lawn you work so hard on to maintain. 

Check out these pros and cons, along with other helpful information about artificial grass for dogs, and you may be ready to turn synthetic turf into pet turf.


Pros Cons
1. Evergreen1. Costly
2. No More Bugs2. Needs Replacing
3. Less Mess Inside3. Heats Up
4. Easy Cleanup Outside4. Odor
5. Allergy Free

5 Pros of Artificial Grass for Dogs

You don’t have to spend the summer mowing and weeding your lawn to placate your pup. Let’s look at the benefits for pet owners and their dogs of installing fake grass. 

1. Evergreen 

Tired of brown or yellow spots on your natural lawn? Chances are, your dog (or someone else’s) has been peeing there. Dog urine has a high concentration of nitrogen and salt that kills grass.

Dead grass isn’t a problem you’ll have to worry about with a synthetic lawn. Artificial turf won’t stain when Lassie does her business, and the yard looks good year-round. 

2. No More Bugs

If you’re tired of fleas and ticks hitching a ride inside on your pooch, artificial grass helps put a stop to that. It keeps your pet healthier, helping him to avoid the scratching, red, scaly skin, hair loss, and scabs. You also won’t have to worry about fleas and other pests making your pet seriously ill with tapeworm or anemia.

Wildlife carries fleas. Deer and rabbits won’t be dropping by to feed on your artificial grass. You also won’t have to worry about getting rid of grubs or other lawn-destroying bugs since there’s nothing for them to feast on. Synthetic turf’s drainage holes also keep water from pooling, so there’s no standing water to attract insects.

3. Less Mess Inside

Dogs aren’t just bringing fleas into your home. They track in dirt with muddy paws and matted fur when you have real grass. Cleanup is no fun, especially if you have wall-to-wall carpet. 

Artificial grass turf doesn’t have bare spots where rain leaves a muddy mess for our furry friends to play. And fake grass won’t come off on your pooch’s fur when they roll around and play. 

4. Easy Cleanup Outside

The smell is a big concern for pet owners considering synthetic lawns. After all, they’re dealing with poop and dog pee daily. Artificial grass products include turf deodorizer that sits between the grass blades and liquid cleaners that eliminate odor.

Whether you have a lawn made of sod or artificial grass, you should pick up dog poop as soon as possible. Waiting too long poses health risks. You’ll have to hose it down several times and spray vinegar and water on the affected area. Use a leaf blower to remove any sticks or debris, then simply hose down the artificial lawn with a garden hose.  

5. Allergen-Free

Pet turf may be your only choice if you or your dog are allergic to grass. Pets may suffer constant scratching, hair loss, or rashes from rolling or digging in natural grass or just being around it. Synthetic turf is a great way to have a lovely green lawn without sacrificing your dog’s health.

4 Cons of Artificial Grass for Dogs

1. Costly

There’s no way around it. Putting in a synthetic lawn costs more than real grass- at least at first. Artificial turf installation runs an average of just over $12 per square foot, or about $5,000 for the average lawn, while even the most expensive sod averages 83 cents per square foot. 

Laying natural grass may require purchasing or renting a sod cutter, roto-tiller, and other expensive equipment. Installing artificial grass requires all that plus infill, a weed barrier, edging, adhesives, and the actual synthetic grass.

The cost may even out in the long run, as maintenance on real grass is more expensive than that of artificial turf. You’ll have to decide if low maintenance down the road on fake grass outweighs the initial expense.

2. Needs Replacing

Replacing synthetic turf is much more costly than replacing sod, and times vary on how often it’s necessary. Turf on a sports field gets more use than in your backyard and needs replacing more frequently.

Assuming normal lawn use, a well-maintained, quality artificial lawn can last 15 to 20 years. Developers continue to improve the durability and appearance of the grass, but pet waste can shorten the synthetic tuff’s lifespan if not cleaned properly, due to build-up on the grass blades.

It’s cheaper to keep natural grass looking good by overseeding every year. This keeps it greener, creates a thicker carpet, and tacks on years to the lawn at a very small cost. Grass seed averages 8 to 20 cents per square foot.

3. Heats Up

Artificial grass can get too hot for our furry friends’ paws when the sun is out. Dogs already run hotter than humans, with an average temperature of 101 degrees. So leaving them outside when the thermometer climbs may lead to dehydration or heat stroke.

natural grass releases water vapor that leads to cooling, but fake grass can’t do that, so it absorbs the heat. While most studies on the temperature of synthetic turf relate to sports fields, it’s estimated that an artificial lawn gets at least 20 degrees hotter than a natural lawn.

You can help keep Fido cool by limiting outdoor playtime on the synthetic turf to mornings and evenings and keep your pup inside during the hottest time of the day. You also want to make sure your yard has a shaded area where your pup can rest without feeling the heat. 

4. Odor

You can’t rely on enough steady rain to rinse pet waste from the turf. As we’ve already mentioned, picking up poop as soon as your dog goes keeps it from drying on the fake grass. You should also take immediate action when it comes to pet urine.

Dog pee makes its way through the blades of fake grass and congeals in the bottom of the carpet if it’s not removed. As it builds up, so does the smell. Hosing down your artificial turf regularly eliminates the urine and smell.

Best Artificial Grass for Dogs

The best artificial grass for dogs is called pet turf. While all synthetic lawn carpets have porous backing for drainage, pet turf has highly durable backing with slightly larger drainage holes. This allows dog pee to pass through the turf without congealing.

Pet turf works well for large and small dogs and even multiple furry friends. You can also put it in dog runs and kennels. It’s important to note that the sub-base must be properly installed. If not, dogs can dig up the turf or tear it, especially at the seams and edges.

Other Considerations

  • Material – Look for polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, or a combination, with built-in antimicrobial products to kill or slow the spread of bacteria, mold, and mildew. You can also use an infill with those same antimicrobial properties for extra protection.
  • Pile height – Longer piles look more luxurious, but shorter pile height is easier to clean. Choose an artificial grass that’s about an inch high to handle the increased activity in a dog run or play area.
  • Face weight -This measures the ounces of grass fiber per square yard. The higher the number, the more the synthetic lawn can endure. Face weights range from 40 to 90. Consider the higher end of that range.

Ultimately, You have to make the choice that works best for you and your dog, whether that’s a natural lawn or synthetic turf. But it’s good to know that low-maintenance, pet-friendly artificial grass is an option. 

FAQ About Artificial Grass for Dogs

1. Is Artificial Grass Safe for Dogs?

Yes, and often it’s safer than sod. Most artificial grass is made of polyethylene, the same plastic used for kids’ toys and common household products. 

What CAN make synthetic grass harmful is lead in the green coloring of the blades or black tire crumbs as infill. Those materials can be toxic, so only use artificial turf and infill that has been tested and is 100% lead and latex free.

2. How Do You Clean Pet Turf?

A spray with the garden hose is essential after daily bathroom breaks, but you’ll need to do a bit more on a weekly basis.

After picking up pet waste, add vinegar to the water to keep the urine and poop from congealing at the base of the fake grass. You can also sprinkle baking soda on the affected area, then hose it off.

3. Can Synthetic Lawns be Installed Around Landscaping?

Yes. Fake grass can be cut to fit around trees, mailboxes, swing sets, or anything else you may have in your yard. You will have to take some extra steps while installing it, so be sure to measure twice before making any cuts. 

Don’t worry about fake grass blocking the tree’s water source. The backing on artificial turf is quite porous, and rainwater easily reaches the roots. 

Don’t have the time or energy to install an artificial lawn?  We can find a landscaping pro near you to install it for you.

Main photo credit: Rawpixel

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!

About Wikilawn

Wikilawn’s mission is to provide the best resources and information to help you enjoy your outdoor spaces the way you want. Whether you are a DIY, lawn-loving, gardening guru, or someone who wants help in picking a local lawn care professional, we can smooth your path to a beautiful backyard!