Dog Owners are Starting to Dig This Grass, Largely Because Their Pets Can’t

By Mary Beth Breckenridge
Beacon Journal

It’s artificial turf that can stand up to whatever dogs dish out, be it claws or waste. And that means no mud, no dead spots in the grass and very little bother for humans.

Synthetic dog turf is being installed at some kennels and homes where owners want the look and the paw-friendly feel of grass with less fuss and mess.

It was the choice of Stephen and Shandell Mooney, who wanted to create a grassy area where their two active Australian Shepherds could play and relieve themselves but didn’t want the dogs tracking mud into their brand new house in Green. The Mooneys recently installed a brand of turf called K9Grass inside a fenced, 30-by-30-foot area.

The first time the dogs encountered the synthetic turf, ”there was a little bit of trepidation,” Stephen Mooney said. They needed a little reassurance that, unlike the carpet in the house, it was OK to go on this stuff.

But it didn’t take long for the dogs to catch on.

”They’re marking all over the place now,” he said.

How it works

Dog turf is the same or much like the current generation of artificial grass used on athletic fields. In many cases, the turf is no different; it’s just marketed for dog use. ForeverLawn’s K9Grass, on the other hand, was developed specifically for dogs, with added features such as a faster-draining backing and antimicrobial protection.

The blades of artificial grass are usually made of materials such as polyethylene, polypropylene or nylon — or a combination of them — and are attached to a mat, much like carpet.

The mat is perforated to allow liquids such as urine and water to drain through, and the turf is installed over a base material such as crushed rock that allows the liquid to percolate into the soil. Drainage systems are sometimes installed beneath the turf to facilitate the flow of liquids away from the surface.

Solid waste can be picked up easily and the turf hosed down or sanitized when necessary. K9Grass has an antimicrobial additive called AlphaSan incorporated in the grass blades to inhibit germ growth and odors.

The turf is anchored along the edges, and an infill material such as sand or tiny pieces of rubber is sometimes spread over the surface and allowed to settle among the blades to keep the blades upright and hold the turf in place. K9Grass doesn’t use an infill but instead incorporates an artificial thatch made of curled blades, which makes the turf easier to clean, marketing director Donna Kent said.

Artificial turf has become popular with dog day-care facilities and veterinary centers, said Jeff Hart of ProGreen International, an artificial turf maker in Denver.

”It feels more homey than just concrete or gravel,” and it’s easier on paws, he said.

The dogs at Fairlawn Pet Resort in Copley Township seem to appreciate it, staff member Danielle Kinney said. K9Grass covers the two main areas that are designated for elimination and are sometimes used for small groups of dogs to play.

Kinney said she’s never seen a dog hesitate to use the turf.

”You don’t have to really do anything. They come out and they know this is the go spot,” she said.

And since it’s fake, dog turf stays green. It’s not subject to burning from the nitrogen in urine, like real grass, and it won’t turn brown in times of cold or drought.

”Basically, you’ve got green all year-round with no maintenance,” said Erik Kline, who owns Klein’s Lawn and Landscaping in Hartville and travels around the country installing K9Grass for New Mexico-based ForeverLawn.

SAFETY CONCERNS

Is artificial turf safe for dogs?

The discovery of high levels of lead in the pigment used in some synthetic sports turf has led to an investigation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission into whether the lead could rub off and cause health problems.

The two fields in New Jersey that prompted the investigation both had nylon-based turf made by Astro Turf. New Jersey officials did not find lead in polyethylene turf.

Rick Doyle, president of the Synthetic Turf Council, said the lead poses no health risk because it’s fixed in place in the nylon and does not leach out, the Associated Press reported. He also said manufacturers have begun offering lead-free nylon surfaces.

 


Hear What Mike Gallagher Has to Say About K9Grass

turf magazine

K9Grass Customers Featured on the Today Show

USA Today
April 10, 2008 – The Today Show featured several new upscale pet boarding facilities that have chosen K9Grass for their surfacing solution. The following is an excerpt from the article on the Today Show’s website.

“It’s estimated that Americans will spend $3 billion on pet boarding and grooming in 2008. So why not do that near the airport and combine it with your next trip? You’ll find Paradise 4 Paws ˜ an airport hotel for pets ˜ near Chicago’s O’Hare. Opening later this month, the 25,000-square-foot resort for cats and dogs offers a cage-free environment ˜ dogs sleep in their own suites or in a slumber-party lounge.

Suites look over play yards and a splashing pool, and dogs can frolic in the bone-shaped pool and indoor grass area. A deluxe suite starts at $47 a night.

Cats get their own gated community (after all, they’re cats!) ˜ deluxe, executive and presidential bungalows with a window perch and personal aquarium in select suites. They can play in the outdoor Adventure Jungle, or just watch the action from their bungalow window. A deluxe bungalow starts at $25 a night. The facility is open 24/7 for pickup and drop-off based on your flight schedule.

Already open and running: Located within a mile of the Jacksonville, New Orleans and Houston Bush airports are three Pet Paradise resorts, offering similar upscale pet hotel services.”
(see http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/24030806/ for the full article):

K9Grass – The artificial grass designed specifically for dogs!


K9Grass Provides Pets A Clean, Safe Environment

by Charlene H. Carpenter,
Pet o’ Mine Editor

June, 2007 — When the Humane Society of Catawba County opens its new animal shelter this fall, its canine residents are in for a treat: Some of the kennel areas will be covered with a unique new artificial grass that is safer and cleaner than real grass.

Dave Trotter, owner of Forever Lawn of North Carolina in Mooresville, has donated 750 square feet of K9 Grass to cover the ground in the convalescing kennel areas of the new facility under construction in Hickory.

“K9 Grass is the only artificial grass designed specifically for dogs,” says Trotter. “It has a knitted backing with Flow-through™ technology that provides total and immediate drainage of liquid waste. It has an antimicrobial agent built into the blades that helps prevent bacterial growth and control odor.”

Wanda Fitzpatrick, who recently had Trotter install 1,700 square feet at her Armadale Farm Kennel in Raleigh, says the grass looks and smells good.

“There are no odor issues because it drains real well and it looks terrific. It looks like grass,” says Fitzpatrick, “And, the dogs don’t get dirty and muddy when it rains so we aren’t constantly having to give them baths.”

The grass, which is made for kennels, boarding facilities, dog parks, veterinary offices, the homes of pet owners and anywhere pets are, is different from other artificial grasses because it has a comprehensive drainage system that keeps the grass clean and free of harmful bacteria caused by animal waste.

When it is installed indoors over concrete, Trotter puts in a system that raises the grass off the floor and allows it to drain.

K9 grass also is unique because it does not require infill, according to Trotter.

“Most artificial grasses, 99.9 percent of them, require a crumb rubber or sand infill that goes on top of the grass and gets groomed down into the blades to help hold the blades up. The infill will absorb liquid waste and creates an environment that will cause bacteria to grow and that will hold odors,” says Trotter. “To prevent that, we created a dense bladed grass that doesn’t require infill for support and allows for immediate drainage which eliminates those problems.”

The drainage properties combined with the antimicrobial agent built into the grass keeps the grass clean and safe, according to Trotter.

The grass also is very durable. While constant use by dogs can kill real grass and leave bald areas and holes in the yard, K9 grass is durable enough to withstand the digging and chewing that destroys real grass. The manufacturer of the grass is so confident of its performance and durability that it offers an eight-year warranty on the product.

The product isn’t just for dogs. It works just as well for other animals, says Trotter. Some zoos use it.

“It works well anywhere you need a drainable, clean and safe environment for pets,” says Trotter. “For home owners, it not only provides your pet a safe, clean environment, it helps keep your house free from muddy paw prints and debris pets bring in from the yard.”

Because of the sanitary issues the grass addresses, Fitzpatrick of Armadale Farm Kennel thinks that, it will be something that kennels will someday be required to have.

“The kennels have to be inspected by the Department of Agriculture and the inspector loved it. He even brought his boss back to see it,” says the kennel owner.

Jane Earnest, executive director of the Humane Society of Catawba County, says the grass will be a definite asset for the new shelter.

“It is perfect, you don’t need to mow it, it is easily washed off, and it is nice and neat for that area of the new shelter.”

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