Dogs and lawns don't always go well together. Digging, rolling, and urine can all kill the grass. Once the lawn dies, you are left with an unattractive and muddy mess that your dog then tracks into the house. Artificial turf can solve this problem and provide a realistic looking lawn alternative, but you have to choose the correct type and maintain it properly.
Choose the Right Type of Turf
Although you can use just about any type of artificial turf with pets, those made especially for use with dogs are the best option. These turf products won't contain any harmful chemicals and will be made to drain exceptionally well. There are even turf options available that are naturally antimicrobial, which helps prevent odors developing from pet waste.
Most pet-specific artificial turfs are installed directly over bare soil. In some cases, you may need to select a padding for beneath the turf. Choose a padding specifically made for use with dogs to ensure it also drains well without absorbing odors.
Deal With Waste
Waste is the main concern, whether you have artificial turf or a natural lawn. Solid waste is handled on artificial turf in the same way you would handle it anywhere else—either scoop it up or use plastic bag to pick it up.
Both solid waste spots and urine spots do require at least once weekly hosing off. Much like on a real lawn, this will dilute the waste residue so it soaks into the soil and isn't on the lawn's surface. Unlike a real lawn, you won't have to live with dead spots in the grass from frequent urination. If you have multiple dogs or your dog prefers to use one area as the bathroom, you may need to hose more frequently.
Maintain It Properly
General maintenance is much less labor intensive than real grass. You may need to rake the lawn to remove leaves and debris, especially if your dog is shedding. Frequency depends on how much debris is collecting on the lawn, so it can be as little as once monthly or as frequently as once a week.
Flat areas may develop where your dog likes to lay down. Raking will fluff the grass back up. Beyond that, hose down the lawn at least once a week. If odors do develop, you can spray the turf with an enzyme product made especially for combating dog odors on artificial turfs.
Depending on your budget, you may not want to cover the whole yard in artificial turf. In this case, consider fencing off a small section as a dog yard, or creating a dog run. This way you can save the real grass from dog damage while still giving your pet plenty of outdoor play time.