When you adopt a dog into your family, your home becomes their home! So finding the best grass to plant in your yard is a great way to make sure they stay safe and happy when outside.
Whether you are building a new house, renovating your yard, or are just thinking about trying out a few areas, finding the right lawn grass for your needs can be a walk in the park.
Types of Grass and their Qualities
The first step to choosing the right type of grass is knowing what your needs are and what the lawn grass will be handling! If you have a more energetic dog, you’ll need more durable and fast-growing grass able to withstand high traffic. If you are in a warmer or drought-prone area, having lawn grass that is able to survive with low water intake can lead to a better-performing yard.
Wildly popular for its picture-perfect look, Kentucky Bluegrass is one of the favorite types of grass nationwide. Since it is considered a cool season grass, it is able to survive the colder winter months and less suitable to droughts.
KBG has shorter roots compared to other grass types, yet can self-repair at a higher rate and is less stress-prone. When the temperatures are high, keep KBG around 3-4 inches in length to adjust for the heat and lower rainfall.
This type of grass is perfect for a dog who is prone to digging and ripping up your lawn areas during play, as KGB has a higher rate of regeneration without help; although larger areas may need some help to return it to its normal beautiful, lush look.
Interested in KBG? Check out this page to see in-depth detail on how to best maintain a Kentucky Bluegrass lawn!
Bermuda grass is the go-to grass for southern states where its warm weather qualities are able to be heat and drought tolerant.
This lawn grass is also favorited for its ability to withstand stress and damage due to high traffic. Households with multiple dogs or highly energetic dogs would benefit from having a Bermuda lawn, as it can have up to six feet of roots and has an extremely fast growth rate.
Although Bermuda, like other warm-weather grass, turns brown in the winter months, it can be paired with cool weather grass during the colder months.
If you need tough and resilient grass due to crazy high energy or destructive dogs, Bermuda may be the right grass to pick for your lawn.
Popular for golf fields and livestock grazing, Perennial Ryegrass thrives in a cool season where it is able to receive plenty of water.
This grass does not turn brown during the winter like Bermuda grass does, which makes it a favorite lawn choice even in southern states. It can be used as a temporary winter grass when warm weather grass turns brown until it comes back again in the summer.
Perennial Ryegrass seeds extremely fast, a trait perfect for quickly replanting grass if your dog has a favorite pastime of ruining the yard with holes or playing. Though its seeds and begin growing quickly, it does start slowing down the growth rate once it reaches maturity.
This type is best for a quick repair but often does not last as long as many of the other grass types, but it can be mixed with warm weather grass to give a beautiful year-long lawn. This is a great type to have if you love running around barefoot or have children that play in the yard due to the spot patches that it grows in.
Zoysia is a warm-season grass that prefers the sun and can be tolerant to drought . It is best suited for southern climates and has low water and maintenance requirements, unlike some of the other cold-weather grasses.
This grass is high traffic resistant but establishes and seeds slowly. Great for open areas that may have a lot of dogs running around! Be patient with this type, it will come out gorgeous if you give it time to grow! Zoysia is a low requirement type, making it perfect for busy pet owners that still want a reliable and healthy lawn.
If you are not sure what type would be right for your lawn, Tall Fescue has a broad range of qualities that makes it a good fit for many types of lawns and locations.
Suited for both northern and southern regions, Fescue is able to be drought-tolerant and has roots up to 4 feet in length. It seeds quickly and is better suited for shady areas.
Fescue does have a lower level of self-repair, so it is best used for calmer dogs who do not have a habit of digging.
Ways that Dogs Damage Grass
Though they do not intend to damage your beautifully mowed and carefully fertilized grass, sometimes the life of a dog can be damaging to your yard.
Using the Bathroom
Everyone does it! Both dog urine and feces can create turmoil on the grass and plants around the yard.
Urine contains urea and nitrogen, two things that can break down grass and other plants when in high quantity. Nitrogen, in controlled amounts, is actually beneficial for your lawn but when focused on one area (such as a female dog squatting to pee), it can become extremely harmful. Dogs like to use the bathroom in the same area, causing an extreme build-up that even a healthy lawn may not be able to combat.
There are a few ways to prevent yellow spots in your grass, including diluting the spots with water and pre-made mixes that you can pick up in pet stores or online.
The leftover nutrients and bodily waste in the dog’s feces can also start to degrade your grass. It’s best to grab that good ol’ pooper scooper and get to work to help prevent dead spots in your yard and keep your lawn healthy!
Playing and Running
Dogs are playful and energetic animals that love to run around and wrestle with their friends, but that can put a lot of strain on your yard. Their nails can dig deep into the topsoil and rip grass down to the roots, causing long-term damage.
There are a few ways that you can prevent this! Keeping their nails trimmed and smoothed with a nail grinder can help soften the impact of their nails and lessen the damage.
If you play ball with your dog or have them on a runner line, moving them around can give your lawn time to rebuild and grow back. Much like how cattle farmers move their cows around to let other pastures grow back after they graze, moving your dog around has a similar effect.
Dogs dig for a lot of reasons and most of the time they can be taught to stop by giving them other outlets for their energy. Some dogs dig because they have a high prey drive, such as Border Collies, and they have a higher tendency to dig holes around the yard.
Digging holes can damage roots, topsoil, and even underlying soil that can create compacted dirt and dry out the ground that will prevent proper growth long term. Some dogs even try to dig under fences to escape for various reasons. Getting ahead of the problem before it gets too bad is the best way to prevent long-term damage.
If the damage is too much to fix, you may want to consider pulling up and reseeding the grass. When filling holes, use high-grade topsoil and gently pack it in. Try not to compact the soil too much, as you can create a dense area that roots can not break through, preventing growth!
A little elbow grease can knock out those trouble spots and get your grass looking tip-top shape in no time!
Tips to Keep Your Grass Healthy
The easy part is planting and seeding, the hard part is keeping that fresh grass green and growing! Read below for some great tips on how to get the most out of your lawn.
- Mow at 3 inches to allow grass to have established roots
- Water in the morning to prevent dry out
- Fertilize regularly and conduct testing every few years
- Treat pet waste spots early
- Collect rainwater (if legal in your state) to give your yard natural water during the seasons with lower rainfall
- Water deep, not frequently
- Don’t walk in the grass! Stop taking short cuts through the yard to prevent wear paths
- Be diligent about weeds
- If it snows, know what snow mold is and how to prevent it
- Keep dogs off wet grass since it is more prone to damage when wet
Even if you can’t be the perfect lawn caretaker, every little improvement in your maintenance routine helps!
Grass is Grass
At the end of the day, sometimes the grass is just going to be brown or struggle to grow strong for whatever reason. It is more important that your furry friends have a safe and healthy place to do their business, play, and rest.
Having a green and thick lawn may take a little extra work, but if you are dedicated to it, your hard work will surely pay off!
FAQs for the Best Grass for Dogs
What is the most durable grass for dogs?
The most durable grasses include Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermuda. They are both able to take a beating and stand right back up even with high traffic! Remember to move your dogs around when playing with them to evenly distribute the wear and tear on your lawn. Move their dog house or runner line every two to three months to allow that area of grass to repair itself.
What type of grass is more resistant to dog urine?
Fescue is the most resistant to dog urine and the damage that it does to plants! With other grasses, you are still able to combat the damage that nitrogen and other components cause to the lawn by diluting it, yet Fescue is naturally less prone to have high damage by your dog’s urine.
If your dog continues to use the bathroom in the same spot on the lawn, try to encourage them to use other areas and spread out the damage to lessen the impact.
What is the best grass to plant if you have dogs?
The best grass for your dogs and your lawn is the grass that has the properties you need most! Grass that grows fast for rough playing dogs, warm-season grass for southern states, and deep roots for dogs who dig are all great examples of how to look for the best grass for your needs.
It is all about what you need! Make a list of what your current lawn combats and use that to narrow down what grass type would be best suited for those conditions.
How do I get my dog to stop eating grass?
Many people believe that eating grass is always because the dog has an upset stomach, but this may not be the case every time. Making sure your dog has a complete and balanced diet is a great way to make sure their drive to eat vegetables is curbed, as they are getting everything their body needs in their food already.
Take action and talk to a veterinarian when your dog begins to chomp down on the lawn more than usual or this act is partnered with other worrisome actions, such as excessive vomiting.