There are few things in life better than enjoying time on the lawn with our pets, but active and playful pups can cause a lot of wear and tear on a yard. Selecting the best grass for dogs or choosing the grass seed that is both durable and safe for our pets is an important consideration.
As much fun as it is to frolic on the lawn with our pets, it is no secret among pet owners that our outside time with our furry family can take its toll on grass.
Canines that like to spend a lot of time outside running, digging, and rolling in grass and flower beds can cause the yard to become bare.
Selecting as durable type of grass can help withstand the high traffic and damage caused by pets.
Also, creating visual barriers, such adding shrubbery or landscaping can help redirect dogs into other areas of the yard to allow time for regrowth and repair in the damaged areas.
Pets can pose a threat to our lawns with their bathroom habits. Dog urine can be especially acidic with a pH higher than 7 and can burn grass in the affected area.
Keeping pets hydrated with plenty of water can help dilute the acidic levels in urine and thus protect the grass. Also, quickly washing off the grass with water hose can dilute the urine before it does significant damage.
Feces can also threaten a healthy lawn. While small amounts may have a fertilizer affect and promote green growth, an excess of feces causes an overload of nitrogen into the soil that can burn and kill grass. Quickly scooping up feces as soon as possible can help minimize the damage to the grass.
Also, training pets to use the bathroom in a designated area of the yard can help protect grass in the rest of the lawn.
When shopping for the right grass seed, be mindful that some types of seed can be dangerous for pets. Grass seeds are very small and pointed, making it easy for dogs to get them embedded in their skin and feet. If consumed, the seeds can lodge in the digestive tracts or internal organs. If inhaled, they can get lodged in their lungs or throat.
Bury grass seeds approximately 1/8″ into the soil to help prevent direct contact between pets and grass seed, but still try to keep pets away from the planted area until the grass is established.
Some fertilizers used on newly planted grass can also be dangerous for pets, as many of them contain toxic herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides that are life-threatening if consumed. Even compounds like nitrogen that are present in fertilizers can have a poisonous effect when consumed in large amounts. Keep pets away from any fertilized areas for 24 hours after application.
Pre-packed pet safe products are also available for purchase from a variety of lawn and garden stores and online retailers.
Our yards are extensions of our dogs’ homes. Selecting a turf that provides them a healthy place to explore and play while also being tough enough to withstand their digging, playing, and bathroom habits is a priority.
Perennial Rye grass also performs well in cooler temperatures but can also tolerate warmer weather if it stays well-hydrated. It is known for its durability and can quickly repair damage from urine and paw tracks.
Zoysia grass takes longer to grow but can tolerate extremely warm temperatures. Once it is established, it is extremely dense and disease resistant, making it tough enough to endure high traffic, as well as easy to maintain.
Bermuda grass is an excellent choice for high pet-traffic areas, as it can repair itself at a rapid rate. Bermuda grass performs best in warm climates and requires little to no maintenance – just one rainy season a year can sustain Bermuda grass through droughts and cold winter months.
Some types of rye grass can be over-seeded with Bermuda grasses to offer an extra measure of protection and durability, but the seeding will take a few months to set. Once it is established, this combination of grasses is extremely tough, making it an excellent option for homes with multiple pets.
It is always nice to consider welcoming native grasses to your home. Instead of buying seeds commercially, you could keep or alternatively, plant native grasses like deer grass that your pets would most likely enjoy.
Searching for a pet-friendly grass seed can be daunting. It requires several weeks for new grass seed to establish and can be costly when re-seeding an entire lawn.
A great alternative is a grass patch for dogs – a small square footage of grass that dogs can use to use the bathroom. Many manufacturers offer hydroponically grown patches of grass that are dirt free and others offer artificial turf patches for dogs to use.
Employing the use of these handy grass patches can help protect lawns and gardens from the destructive effects urine and feces can have on a yard.
Dog grass patches are a great option for pet owners who work long hours and must leave their pets unattended for long stretches of time, or for those who live in apartments or cities where lawns are not common. The grass patches are also handy while waiting on new grass seed to establish or during the 24-hour waiting period after fertilizing the yard.
Pets bring joy to our lives and deserve a place where they can run, play, and relieve themselves without their owners constantly worrying about its effects on their lawns.
Select the grass – or grass patch – that is best for the pup and enjoy yard time with man’s best friend.
Don’t forget to keep the lawn healthy, when the grass is strong, it can last longer even when your pets love to threat them with their wet habits. The best tools are out there to make it happen, like cordless lawn mowers, lawn sweepers and others.