There are two ways to look at this question; firstly from our (the gardener) point of view, and second from the dog’s viewpoint. For while we may assume that what works best for us should also work best for our pets, our logic may differ from reality somewhat.
So let’s start by looking at what is the best grass for dogs – from a dog’s opinion.
Dogs love grass – almost as much as digging holes in our neatly manicured lawns. Firstly, it’s a soft play area. Dogs can run on a turfed surface much more safely, and comfortably, than anything else we have to offer – even sand!
Second, they love to eat it. While we may assume that dogs are carnivorous animals and love to chow down on a gravy meat at any chance, they are actually more akin to an omnivore’s diet and happily eat their greens with their proteins. Grass, while not naturally part of their food pyramid, is more like a health supplement to their bodies – much like multi-vitamins are to us. It aids in cleansing their vital organs and offering pain relief for infections as well.
However, from a gardener’s viewpoint, is there such a thing as a “best grass for dogs”?
Naturally, gardens and dogs – especially juvenile pups – do not readily mix. Young dogs love to dig, have uncontrollable bowel movements in human-traffic areas and scatter their play things to the outermost extremeties of your yard. Their robust play can tear up a piece of sod quicker than you say, “Drop that ball!”
Therefore, the best grass for dogs is one that grows quick, can tolerate being covered with faeces and urine and regardless of how deep it digs will rebound once it’s given some relief.
Some gardeners assume that this means artificial grass but nothing could be more further from the truth. In fact, fake grass could be classed as the “worst grass for dogs”! They can’t chew on it, to aid their internal systems, but they can still dig through it – yet it doesn’t replenish itself. Plus, in the middle of summer your synthetic grass can get 2-5°C hotter than concrete – hardly conducive to pet play!
No, the best grass for dogs is a fast growing kikuyu or couch. It’s not necessarily the best lawn for a garden, because of its deep root system which constantly penetrates your garden beds, but where dogs are involved it will handle itself with aplomb.
Obviously, maintaining a lawn for a dog is different to keeping a neat garden lawn growing as well. The fertilisers MUST be organic and pet-friendly, watering will need to be more regular and mowing may become more of an obstacle course.