Artificial pet turf [or fake grass for dogs] has been steadily increasing in popularity among homeowners for use in front yards, backyards, play areas, and dog runs.
There are several reasons why people are attracted to this landscaping option. In hot, dry climates, like the one we enjoy in Texas, artificial grass is an affordable, low-maintenance alternative to a natural grass lawn.
It stays beautiful, lush, and green year-round without the watering required to keep natural grass from drying up in the Texas heat.
Table Of Contents
Why Use Fake Grass for Dogs?
Maintaining a smooth, green natural grass lawn is a challenge.
It costs a lot of time, energy, and money to keep your yard looking beautiful—doubly so if you have dogs.
Fido can do a lot of damage to your lawn by digging up the grass, creating brown dog urine spots from peeing in the same place, or running on the same path and wearing ruts.
Staying ahead of your dog’s impact on the landscaping is a constant struggle for many pet owners.
If you’ve thought about replacing your real grass with synthetic grass to avoid these issues, you may have more questions than answers.
- Is artificial grass safe for dogs and children?
- How much does it cost?
- Is it environmentally friendly?
- Does it drain well?
- How do you clean pet turf?
If you’re considering taking the leap to try out artificial grass in your pet area, dog run, or your entire yard, read on.
We will answer the questions you have about the durability, safety, maintenance requirements, and overall pet-friendliness of artificial grass.
We also list our picks for the best brands of fake grass for dogs and other pets.
Is Artificial Grass Safe for Dogs & Pets?
Naturally, safety is a primary concern for your family, and your fur babies are no exception.
Rest assured that artificial turf is safe for dogs—sometimes even more than normal grass.
A common misconception about synthetic grass for dogs is that it contains lead and harmful chemicals.
This was true several years ago, but many artificial turf manufacturers have now eliminated lead and other harmful chemicals from their manufacturing processes.
These improvements in manufacturing technology have made artificial grass safer than ever before—often safer than chemical-treated natural grass.
In 2008 the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and major turf manufacturers entered agreements to make sure synthetic turf would no longer pose this health concern.
This means that, as long as you choose an ethical, reputable artificial grass installation company, you can rest assured that lead exposure will not be an issue for your family or pets.
This does not necessarily mean that all existing artificial turf is safe for pets – or safe for children.
If you have synthetic grass in your yard that was installed before moving in, and is of unknown origin, you should consider having the lead levels tested.
Benefits of Installing Fake Grass for Dogs
The benefits of using artificial grass in a pet area, dog run, or your entire yard are numerous. Homeowners across the country are opting for manufactured lawns because it is:
- Low Maintenance
- Cleaner for dogs [requiring fewer baths and tick treatments]
- Prevents Muddy Paws
The savings in time, money, and energy spent on maintaining a natural grass lawn makes artificial grass a definite win for you and your pet.
Even professional kennels and veterinarians often use fake grass for outdoor pet areas because mowing those areas is difficult and artificial grass cleanup is a cinch.
Many dog parks and apartment complexes with dog areas use synthetic pet turf as well, and for many of the same reasons.
Fake grass will also withstand the heavy use of multiple dogs every day without wearing ruts or holes like normal grass would.
Lastly, it’s easy to install, whether the base is concrete or soil.
Real Grass vs. Fake Grass for Dogs
Real grass has its advantages. Who doesn’t love cool, springy, green grass under their feet on a hot summer day?
But that natural grass comes at a high price—weekends spent mowing, edging, weeding, and fertilizing the lawn.
And let’s not even talk about the water bill in the heat of a Texas summer.
Fake grass may not have the same cool, padded feeling as real grass, but nowadays, it comes pretty close.
Artificial grass is made with blades of varying widths, textures, and colors to mimic the variation in natural grass.
Unless you look closely, you just might mistake it for the real thing.
By installing pet-friendly turf in your yard, you avoid all the problems that burden natural grass lawns:
- Brown spots from dog urine
- Bugs/Ticks/Fleas/Other Pests
When it comes to maintaining a vibrant, smooth, attractive lawn, fake grass for dogs is head and shoulders above real grass.
Natural Grass Usually Requires Chemicals
A healthy-looking natural grass lawn usually requires a plethora of harmful chemicals, such as:
These substances keep your lawn green and pretty, but they can contaminate groundwater, alter the chemistry of the soil, and even cause cancer and other diseases.
Chemical treatments for lawns should be avoided when possible.
Artificial Grass Does Not Require Chemicals
Artificial grass requires no chemical applications.
The blades of grass are made from antimicrobial fibers that prevent the buildup of bacteria, mold, and mildew.
The only maintenance required is the occasional spray down with the hose.
Without all the harmful lawn chemicals, your lovely, green lawn will be a safe place for both pets and kids to play.
What’s the Difference Between Pet Turf & Artificial Grass?
Artificial grass has come a long way in the decades since AstroTurf first appeared in 1965.
The massive advances in technology and manufacturing processes have resulted in an incredible variety of synthetic grass products.
Artificial grasses are now produced with specific applications in mind—in this case, artificial grass specifically designed for dogs.
Not all synthetic turf for pets is created equal.
While they may look and feel similar, there are some important differences between artificial grass and Pet Turf.
Pet turf is specially designed to withstand the wear and tear from running animals, as well as the high nitrogen concentrations in dog urine.
Nor does it contain infill (small bits of rubber that create padding), which can retain moisture and cause mold or mildew.
Instead, fake grass for dogs has a 100% permeable backing that allows for faster drainage than typical artificial grass.
Where Can I Install Fake Grass for Dogs?
The only limit is your imagination.
Synthetic grass can be installed indoors and outdoors, on walls, around pools, between pavers, on rooftops, decks, and patios, just to name a few.
The most common places that people install pet turf are:
- Dog runs
- Pet areas
- Patios and Porches
- Dog Parks
You can install it in places you wouldn’t be able to mow and in small patches that wouldn’t make sense for regular grass.
How Do I Maintain Pet-Friendly Artificial Grass?
When it comes to the maintenance of artificial turf versus real grass, there’s really no contest.
Once it’s installed, artificial grass is nearly maintenance-free.
There’s no mowing, weeding, edging, or watering needed to keep your lawn green year-round.
Homeowners with synthetic turf lawns get to spend their Saturdays actually enjoying their yards instead of manicuring them!!
How To Clean Fake Grass for Dogs
While fake turf for pets is much easier to maintain than a normal lawn, you should spray it down once or twice a week with the hose to ensure that the ammonia from pet urine doesn’t build up and cause odors.
Do not use a pressure washer to do this. The force is unnecessary and can damage the grass.
You’ll still need to pick up the doggy do-do, but other than that, the only maintenance required to keep your artificial grass looking beautiful is to rake up any debris that falls on it (like twigs and leaves) and fluff it with a broom or rake if it gets pressed down in high traffic areas.
Do not use acidic or alcohol-based cleaners on your synthetic grass, as it can harm the fibers.
How Durable is Fake Grass for Dogs?
An artificial turf installation will last 10 to 20 years.
The longevity of the grass depends on how well it’s maintained, how much traffic it receives, and the quality of the product; higher-end grass usually lasts longer.
What Makes A Turf Product Durable?
Below we’ll examine the individual components of artificial turf so that you’ll know what to look for when you begin shopping for
The face weight of synthetic grass is a measure of the weight (in ounces) of the yarn within 1 square yard.
This includes the blades and thatch only and does not include the infill or backing. Fake turf products with a greater face weight tend to be more durable.
This comes in several forms like rubber, ceramic, silica, etc. and will vary depending on the turf application, turf product, and installer.
Infills play two important roles in turf installations, acting as a ballast to help keep the turf in place and mimic the soil between grass blades, keeping them upright and springy.
Select an infill that is antimicrobial to keep down odors (or better yet, one with no infill at all). Look for varieties that are non-toxic to pets, in case of accidental ingestion.
The best pet turf products will have a fully permeable backing to allow water and urine to pass directly through it.
Grass blades with a “w” shape will retain their form and be easy to clean. Opt for heat resistant fibers to keep your pet’s paws nice and cool.
How Much Does Fake Grass for Dogs Cost?
There is an upfront cost with pet turf, and the price will vary depending on the size of the installation, the quality of the turf, and other environmental factors, like leveling that may need to be done before the installation.
On average, for a 500-1,000 sq. ft. installation plan on about $6.16 – $8.98 per square foot, depending on the quality of the product.
If you’d like to learn more about the cost of artificial grass or find out how much your installation will cost you can use our artificial grass cost calculator.
Bear in mind that synthetic lawns are made to last a decade or more. After the initial purchase, artificial grass costs you next to nothing.
Another factor to consider is how much natural grass is already costing you. If you were to put in new sod, you’d likely spend thousands of dollars to do so.
Whether the lawn is new or established, you also need to buy expensive lawn equipment (like mowers and edgers), and you must fuel, and maintain your tools.
If you have to fertilize, aerate, or treat your lawn for pests, those costs add up too.
If the sticker price of artificial grass seems a bit shocking, bear in mind that the upfront investment in a synthetic lawn will pay for itself in a few years with water and maintenance savings.
One of the biggest financial and environmental savings that fake grass creates is in water.
The average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses.
More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens.
Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day!
That’s a lot of cash and empty aquifers just for green grass.
A lot of homeowners with synthetic turf get really excited about this one.
With artificial grass, you can say good-bye to your landscaper and the monthly landscaping bill.
There’s no need to take up garage space with mowers, edgers, or weed whackers.
Aside from costing money and hassle, mowing your lawn each week has a hefty toll on the environment.
Lawnmowers and other gas-powered landscaping equipment use 800 million gallons of gas each year in the U.S. alone, accounting for 5 percent of the overall air pollution.
Installing synthetic turf is a great way to reduce your overall carbon footprint.
Did you know that the average American spends 43.8 hours caring for their yard each year? That’s a full work week!
Installing artificial grass is like giving yourself an extra week of vacation to spend with the people and pets you love, rather than behind a lawnmower.
What To Look For When Buying Fake Grass For Dogs
Just like steaks, lightbulbs, and tennis shoes, artificial grass comes in multiple grades.
Different brands and quality tiers of artificial grass will be more or less durable, and higher-end products come with additional features.
To make an informed buying decision, here are a few important features to look for when shopping for fake grass for dogs.
Look for a heavier face weight to ensure you’re getting artificial grass that will stand up to time and heavy traffic.
Fully Permeable Backing
This is a must-have for pet owners who want to avoid the buildup of odors from pet urine in their lawn.
This is not a deal-breaker, but a warranty is a good indicator that the manufacturer is willing to stand behind their product.
Matches Neighborhood Grass Type
Take note of what grasses are common in your area, and match the color and look if you can.
Low Pile Height
A low pile height of around 1 inch is good for pet turf, as it makes cleanup of solid waste quick and easy.
With so many choices on the market today, you can find an artificial grass product that meets your needs and fits your budget.
How Is Synthetic Grass Made?
Artificial grass is made by extruding colored, UV-resistant plastic through a machine to form threads.
Those threads are then punched through a backing to form sheets of artificial grass.
The process is similar to hooking yarn through a frame to make a rug.
The length, type, and density of the fibers, as well as the type of backing material, all impact the quality of the final product.
Most pet-friendly turf includes antimicrobial agents in the source material to prevent the growth of bacteria and neutralize odors.
What’s the Best Drainage Technology for Pet Turf?
When it comes to fake grass for dogs, the most important feature is drainage.
All artificial turf products have a “Backing” and different backings drain in different ways.
The two most common types of backing are:
- Fully Permeable (or non-perforated)
- Hole-Punch (or perforated)
Fully Permeable Backing (Non-Perforated)
The best fake grass for dogs will have the non-perforated or fully permeable backing, which allows for edge-to-edge drainage so dog urine can pass directly through the turf.
We recently came out with a new DUAL FLOW backing that consists of both a fully permeable backing that’s hole-punched, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of each.
Our industry-leading DUAL FLOW backing drains water at a rate of 1,549 in. per hour, ensuring that your artificial lawn stays clean and dry.
That means that your dog can go to the bathroom just as it would on natural grass because the urine flows straight through the turf; all you have to do is wash down the spot with water.
Hole-Punch Backing (Perforated)
Perforated (or hole-punch) backing consists of small drainage holes spaced about 4—6 inches apart.
This is fine for draining rain and hose water in dry climates, but this type of backing is inadequate for pets.
Urine can pool between the holes, causing a buildup of odors and bacteria.
What To Avoid With Pet Turf Products?
We’ve covered the important features to look for when shopping for artificial grass for dogs and pets, but there are a few things that you should avoid as well.
A lot of turf companies are peddling ceramic infills or so-called “odor control” infills that supposedly complement fake grass for dogs.
Infill is not recommended with pet turf because it tends to inhibit drainage.
For turfs with a hole-punch backing, infill clogs the holes, preventing proper drainage.
If your dog has an occasional bout of diarrhea, cleaning the infill can be messy and infuriating.
Avoid pet turf products with infill, regardless of any advertised odor control or antimicrobial features.
How Do I Install Synthetic Grass for Dogs?
The installation process for pet turf is fairly simple and can be completed in just one or two days.
Here’s a rundown of what to expect.
Step 1: Pre-Installation
A professional turf installer will come to your home and mark any wires, sprinklers, pipes, or anything else that may need protection during the installation process.
Step 2: Removal of Existing Grass
A sod cutter is used to remove the existing grass. The sod is then loaded onto a trailer to be hauled away.
Step 3: Edging
Where possible, a sidewalk, curb, fence, or patio is used to secure the artificial grass. If no convenient edging exists, the installer will put down poly board edging.
Step 4: Install Weed Fabric
Installers will put down a layer of weed fabric to act as a barrier to any plants that may sprout and disrupt the synthetic lawn.
Step 5: Add Base Material
The crew will spread base material to provide an even foundation for the artificial grass. The material is sprayed with water and compacted to create a smooth surface.
Step : Roll Out Artificial Grass
The crew will roll out the artificial grass, cut it to fit the installation area, then secure it with staples, seam tape, and glue.
Step 7: Spread Infill
Installers spread infill on top of the fake grass with a drop spreader. This helps the grass stay springy and upright. It also weighs down the backing to ensure you have no buckling or wrinkling on your synthetic lawn.
Step 8: Power Brush Pet Turf
Finish the turf with a power brush. This final step gives the artificial grass a finished appearance.
Step 9: Review Installation
Review the installation with a project supervisor. He or she will go over the work, ensuring you are satisfied with your new artificial lawn. You and the project supervisor will sign a certificate of completion.
Many do-it-yourselfers ask if they can save money by installing artificial grass themselves.
DIYers may be able to get away with installing a small strip of artificial grass on their own. But for entire lawns where seams are required, this is not recommended.
Because this process requires a variety of specialized equipment and practiced techniques to hide seams and ensure a natural look, it’s best to leave the installation of synthetic lawns to the professionals.
What’s the Best Fake Grass for Dogs?
The answer to this question depends entirely on the needs of your property and your budget.
This guide is intended to provide you with all the information necessary to make an informed buying decision.
While we have included Ideal Turf among the following products, we do so because we’re 100% confident in our products and installation process.
If you have any questions about how our pet turf measures up to the competition, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Here are a few of the best fake grass for dogs or pet turf products on the market today.
Global Syn-Turf – Pet Turf
Global Syn-Turf Pet Turf is great for any type of traffic and any size pet. It also has a slightly longer pile height than other pet turf options at 1 1⁄8”.The blades are ‘U’ shaped, which helps the grass stand upright after multiple uses.
Recommended Use: Light to Heavy Traffic
Colors: Emerald Green and Olive Green
Pile Height: 1 1⁄8”
Drainage: Fully Permeable [121.4 in/hr]
TigerTurf – Pet Turf
TigerTurf Pet Turf features beautiful field and lime green grass blade color tones in addition to a brown thatch layer. This turf was made for durability and comfort. Their pet turf uses a proprietary turf backing that’s incredibly resistant to pull force, so let your pup play all day! Made to withstand use by all sizes of dogs and their families, you can’t go wrong with TigerTurf.
Recommended Use: Moderate to Heavy Traffic
Colors: Field Green, Lime Green, Brown
Pile Height: 1”
Drainage: Hole-Punch[30+ in/hr]
K9Grass — Classic Pet Turf
K9Grass Classic pet turf is great for high-traffic dog areas. K9Grass is made with premium materials, is equipped with a Flow-through backing, and eliminates the need for infill. While K9Grass is arguably the best fake grass for dogs in the industry, it’s also the most expensive so be prepared to stretch your budget.
Recommended Use: Light to Heavy Traffic
Colors: Summer Green and Turf Green
Pile Height: 3/4”
Drainage: Permeable [2,000+ in/hr]
Ideal Turf — Pet Turf
Incredible performance and value are what make Kingston 76 our top-selling fake grass for dogs. A 76-ounce beautiful, lush, and soft natural grass replacement featuring delustered and UV stabilized Sport Green, Apple Green, and Olive grass blades with Field Green and Tan thatch that combine to create the perfect artificial grass solution at an affordable price point.
Recommended Use: Light to Heavy Traffic
Colors: Summer Blend Blades w/ Field Green and Tan thatch
Pile Height: 1”
Drainage: Permeable [1,549 in/hr]
SYNLawn — Pet Platinum
SYNLawn Pet Platinum is the ultimate artificial pet grass for animals of all shapes and sizes. Designed for maximum drainage, long-lasting durability as well as providing low surface temperatures and an elegant combination of natural colors for ultra-realistic natural beauty.
Recommended Use: Light to Heavy Traffic
Colors: Field Green & Apple Blades w/ Field Green & Beige Thatch
Pile Height: 1 1/2”
Drainage: Permeable [1,200 in/hr]
Due to its low maintenance profile, lack of harmful chemical treatments, and long-term durability, fake grass for dogs is a win all around.
The initial investment of prep work and installation will pay for itself with savings on maintenance and water.
Spend your free time playing with your pet on your synthetic lawn rather than spending hundreds of dollars and a workweek each year maintaining it!
If you’re interested in having pet turf installed in your Texas yard, get a free estimate today!
We’ll ensure that you’ll have a dog run or synthetic turf pet area that your family and beloved dog will enjoy for years to come, from the best artificial grass company in Texas.