Yes you can have it all – an attractive, organic lawn and a happy, active dog …
You may need to lower your standards a wee bit since any grassy area where dogs tread will most likely not be pristine, golf course quality, or win the best lawn in your neighborhood award. The sooner you can accept that simple fact, the sooner you can move forward and take the steps necessary to achieve a harmonious outdoor life with your pets.
Certain varieties of grass perform better than others do under the pressure of life with our canine friends. Two grasses suitable for most areas of the United States are rye grass and buffalo grass. Rye grass is known for growing quickly which is definitely helpful for filling in bare patches caused by urine spots, or a dog’s penchant for digging.
In early fall or spring, consider overseeding your lawn with one of these varieties to increase your lawn’s overall vigor and crowd out opportunistic weeds. It’s best to keep your dog away from the area until the grass takes hold.
Buffalo grass, a U.S. native, is enjoying a renaissance since it can thrive in droughtlike conditions or areas of standing water. Its tough, fares well with heavy paw or kid traffic, and grows to a height of only 3 inches. Adaptable and relatively maintenance free, it represents an environmentally friendly option. It can be slow to spread, unlike rye grass, so try it in a small area first to see how it responds to your yard’s conditions.
Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass, suitable for areas with harsh winters. Its known for the rich blue-green color and ability to spread slowly. It simply creeps into areas damaged by your pet so you don’t need to replant or overseed your lawn to repair problem spots.
Adopting a few easy modifications to the way you mow your grass makes your outdoor environment more eco-friendly and kinder to your pet.
* Mow your grass no shorter than 3 inches. Longer grass stands up better to life with an active dog.
* Mow often. Cutting less of the grass blade more frequently causes less damage to the lawn. This allows it to grow healthier roots that survive without fertilizers.
* Switch to a people-powered reel mower. Using an old-fashioned push mower protects the environment from gas emissions and spares your pet from the anxiety caused by loud lawn mowers.
More Dog Friendly Lawn Tips:
1.) Use Organic Fertilizers – Keep your dog safe outdoors by making sure your lawn fertilizer is pet-friendly. Choose an EPA-certified organic fertilizer to treat your lawn without posing a danger to your dog. They are widely available in granular and liquid forms. Make sure to follow the directions and adhere to the recommended waiting period before allowing your dog to go outside.
2.) Leave The Grass Clippings – Go ahead and remove the bag from your lawn mower and let the clippings fall. If the grass is damp when you mow it and the clippings clump, use a rake to spread them out more evenly. Grass clippings decompose to release nitrogen into the soil, thus nourishing your lawn without any chemical additives.
3.) Apply Potash – Enrich your dog friendly lawn with potassium using natural potash. You can mix it with bone meal to provide nitrogen as well. Purchase liquid potash at home supply stores or garden centers.
4.) Wash Your Dog’s Paws – If your pup comes in contact with a chemically treated lawn, try and wash her paws upon coming inside. Just put a little dog shampoo or mild liquid soap into a bowl and dunk. Some lawn and garden chemicals can irritate paws, and if your pooch then licks her paws, she can become ill.
5.) Don’t Use Cocoa Bean Mulch – We’ve put this in several articles and it bears repeating … this type of mulch has a smell and taste that is very appealing to dogs. However, it contains theobromine (the same substance found in chocolate) and can be toxic. Use compost or another type of mulch in the yard.
6.) Ditch The High Maintenance Lawn – Especially out west, there are folks leaving the traditional grass behind and going with gravel instead. It’s inexpensive and maintenance-free. Pea gravel is generally a good option and easy to walk on even with bare feet. Synthetic lawns are another alternative.