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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Yard Cover. Part V - Artificial Turf

From the mail bag: Have you heard or seen anything about the artificial turf with respect to dogs? Supposedly, it's guaranteed for life, doesn't need watering (obviously), and "looks like" a lawn. 

 I haven't seen one, but I imagine it's like a golf green. I wonder how dogs like it, and how the liquid and solid waste is cleaned up. It's hard to believe my terriers wouldn't shred it before long playing fetch, chasing squirrels, running after imaginary friends, etc.

Well, I've often suggested indoor artificial turf to people who have dogs who are afraid to go outdoors and for dogs who are left alone at home for long periods of time.  And I have to watch Puddin if we walk by a play ground that has artificial turf. She will try to urinate on it every time.

But personally I couldn't see using it to cover an entire yard.  A small piece of turf can be hosed down outside or even thrown away and replaced once it gets too disgusting.

But how does one hose down an entire yard?  To where does one spray the dog's elimination? Into the neighbor's yard, I guess? (kind of like leaf blowers).

In a natural yard, the elimination gets hosed down into the dirt and eventually breaks up. I guess the elimination would eventually biodegrade into the artificial turf; but it seems like it would take a lot longer.

I'm also reminded of a doggie day care that I visited a couple of times. Both times, I had a terrible headache the rest of the day. I think it was from the chemicals that they spray on the rocks that the dogs play on - the dogs didn't play on grass or nor dirt.  So I guess the area was sanitary, and the chemicals might be necessary for a doggie care, but I wouldn't want to have to do the same thing in a home environment.

I looked around on Bing for a couple of minutes.  I ran across the this article. It advises people to use turf deodorizers .  I think humans and pets are already bombarded with way too many artificial fragrances.  So that issue alone would turn me off to artificial turf.

And although this stuff doesn't need water like grass, it does require hosing to keep it clean - even if the homeowner doesn't have pets. More hosing is required for households with pets.

I also wonder how this would hold up if dogs are running back and forth. And does this stuff come in large rolls or does it come in blocks that can be easily replaced when worn.

And I wonder if continuous running on artificial turf would be irritating to the dogs' feet.

Here are some things to consider
- Ask the company exactly what the turf is made of.  Determine if there are any issues with pets and long term exposure, pets and ingestion, etc..
- As with anything, start with a small patch before you commit to placing  it all over the yard.

Actually, now that I think about, a fragrance free enzymatic cleanser might help keep odors down -- the same stuff that people use when their pets have accidents in the house.  But I suspect this would get expensive.

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