Grass for Pets
Our customers will often inquire about “pet-friendly” grasses. But when considering artificial grass for an area that will include pets (e.g. backyard, kennel, dog park, etc.) you want to consider the “system”, not just the grass type.
All Purchase Green grasses are “pet-friendly”, meaning they can be used for pet applications, but not all of them will perform the same from an aesthetic and maintenance perspective. The system typically consists of four components:
- Artificial Grass
- Puppy pad (optional)
- Cleaning solution / disinfectant and deodorizer
The grass you choose, the infill you select, your choice to use (or not use) a puppy pad, and cleaning solutions are a function of your desired aesthetic, intended use (size of the area + the size and number of the pets + the frequency with which the area will be used by pets) and your budget.
Grass Selection – short, dense grasses such as the Southwestern Sod Sport or Vista Sport are very functional and easy to clean. They are an excellent choice for dog kennels, dog runs and dog parks. An item of note, however, is that very short, dense grasses are typically considered less natural looking. For the customer looking to balance function AND performance, a dense, durable 1.5” to 1.6” pile height grass is a great choice – examples include Nature’s Sod 60, Spring Rye 65 and Southwestern Sod. Stay away from tall fibers and thin, fine fibers (such as Nature’s Sod Plush) – these grasses are the most difficult to clean.
Infill – infill selection for pet areas is critical. Preferred infill types are MellowFill or Zeolite. Both MellowFill and Zeolite help to reduce the ammonia buildup from pet urine. The anti-fungal (Zinc, ZPT, ZOE) protection infused in MellowFill is 99% effective at breaking down the ammonia buildup. Additionally, MellowFill doesn’t hold moisture. Stay away from silica sand infills in pet areas.
Puppy Pad – puppy pads are an excellent choice for pet areas that are not part of a larger yard. They serve a tremendous practical benefit for many different situations. One example would be those living in condos or apartments. Lacking a yard for your pet can be a tough situation. Stairways, elevators and the like present obstacles to meeting your pets needs while maintain a sanitary living quarters for yourself. Sometimes multiple trips a day are not possible. Pet potty turf patches with puppy pads fit conveniently on balconies and porches and can even be used indoors.
Cleaning Solution – regardless of the particular grass, the type of backing and the type of infill selected, some portion of pet urine will dry on the fibers and backing (as well as fecal matter) so a periodic cleaning is required. Purchase Green recommends an Enzymatic cleaner – they are environmentally friendly, kid- and pet-safe. Purchase Green carries two products:
Turf Cleaner – Our Turf Cleaner is a highly effective enzymatic product that removes the odor causing bacteria.
Turf Bomb – Our Turf Bomb has the same active ingredients as the Turf Cleaner and in addition includes an odor masker. We often get asked which should be used – the reality is they both do the exact same thing – the difference is how long it takes for the odor to be eliminated. If the turf is cleaned and the product used on a consistent, preventative, periodic basis the Turf cleaner is sufficient. If, however, you are applying the product on an “as-needed” basis AFTER an odor has already developed then the Turf Bomb is the preferred solution as the odor masking will be immediate while the odor causing bacteria is removed over the course of 24 to 48 hours.
“Fully Permeable Backing”
Beware. Several companies have marketed their pet friendly grasses as coming with a “fully permeable backing.” This is a myth. While the backings are in fact permeable and some do have very high drainage rates – the issue is that it is installed on top of a compacted sub-base! With this in mind remember the issue is never how quickly the urine gets through the grass but rather where does it go from there? With these grasses, it dries on the backing because very little gets absorbed into the sub-base before it dries. The net effect is that you will still get an odor buildup. Focus on function (i.e. how easy it is to remove fecal matter and how resistant it is to matting), infill options, and an effective maintenance program and don’t get side tracked on whether the grass is capable of draining at 27” per hour or 300” per hour – since both are much higher drainage rates than the turf will ever need to allow for effective pet urine run-off.