Artificial grass can be the perfect solution for pet owners. However, the type of grass and products you use with it can make all the difference and enhance the experience for both you and your pets.
Not all types of artificial grass require infill, but for pet owners, it is highly recommended. There are several to choose from, including silica sand, rubber, and envirofill.
However, in our honest opinion, you won’t find a better option than zeolite. And just so you know, we do not have any affiliation with zeolite, we genuinely stock it and recommend it to our customers because we are not aware of any other product that delivers the same quality results
Zeolite reduces urine odours and will keep your lawn in top condition for longer. But, how does it work? We will cover this and more as we dive into why pet owners should use zeolite to make artificial grass even more pet-friendly.
But first, you need to have a good basis for that infill and know what grass suits your pet the best
Pet-Friendly Artificial Grass
There are a couple of things to think about when it comes to grass and pets.
Artificial lawns are even more pet friendly than natural grass gardens. Not only do your pets get to run around freely, but there is less chance of ingesting harmful chemicals.
Fake lawns don't need any fertilisers or similar substances to thrive, so they take less care but are safer at the same time.
As a whole, artificial grass is an excellent solution for animals. It is also safer and more hygienic because there is no chance of pet waste spreading bacteria through the soil.
Bacteria, and even parasites, can cause serious illnesses to pets - and they can spread to humans too. So, it's best to always pick up after your pet no matter what.
Artificial grass cuts down on the risk of infection even further. This is important to consider if you have children around as they are as much more likely to be affected by these illnesses.
On this note, shorter pile heights are best for pets because it is much easier to clean the fibres. So, try and go for around a 28mm pile height if you can. If the pile height is too short, it will be uncomfortable for little paws.
There shouldn't be any odour because of waste as long as the grass is regularly washed down, especially if you use a Polyurethane (PU) backing which allows proper drainage and doesn't increase your chances of gross smells like its counterpart latex does.
To be extra cautious there are some important things you can do. This is where zeolite comes in.
What is Zeolite?
As mentioned, when installing your grass, you may want to use an infill to support the strands to stand up straight and protect the backing underneath from the sun.
A common infill for this purpose is silica sand, but if you have a pet there are other benefits to using an infill too - benefits that you can't get from this type of material.
The infill we recommend is zeolite. Zeolite is a mineral that is negatively charged and great for pet owners. It is originally a volcanic mineral and can come in natural and manmade forms. Both of which are completely safe for pets and children.
We won't go all-in on the scientific details, but just so you know, zeolite is a natural stone with a molecular structure is shaped like a honeycomb that absorbs liquids and gasses, including ammonia which is the gas that goes off that ghastly stench of stale urine.
The honeycomb structure also means that there is excellent drainage and water will flow easily through the infill after it is applied. This makes it easy to wash pet urine away that wasn't caught by a hose or when it rains.
It's also good to remember that bacteria thrive where it is wet, so having the moisture quickly drained away is the most hygienic option. Zeolite is perfect for this.
What does zeolite for artificial grass actually do?
Pet owners should opt for an artificial grass infill that helps to eliminate unwanted smells from lingering in your garden.
As briefly stated, zeolite has the ability to absorb ammonia. This is a gas that occurs naturally within humans and animals and is what you can smell most commonly in animal urine.
As you’re probably aware, the smell of ammonia is quite strong and unpleasant. When outdoors it can be especially potent because the warmth of the sun releases the scent and high humidity causes it to spread.
The best way to combat unwanted urine smells is to tackle the ammonia itself.
It's also worth mentioning that zeolite helps to keep the grass cool through the slow process of water evaporation. It also absorbs some of the suns heat, cooling the strands down and making it much more gentle on the skin. This is especially helpful for delicate paws to stop them from getting burnt.
How does zeolite work?
Through the natural process of weather, zeolite prevents and gets rid of nasty smells.
It works by exchanging 'ions' which, put simply, are a type of negatively charged particle. Don't worry, the details aren't too important. In brief, zeolite exchanges its sodium particles for ammonia particles upon contact, soaking them up.
So, when your pet urinates on the grass it neutralises and prevents the odour before it has even had the chance to form.
This process is also easily reversed by the rain. Because the rain contains sodium when it hits the zeolite, they swap particles once again and the ammonia is released and washed away.
Once the zeolite is dry, this means it is freshly recharged with sodium again ready to absorb more ammonia and repeat the whole process!
The best part about this is that it requires no action on your part. The weather will naturally go through its cycle and do all the work for you.
OK, so that gets the technical explanation out of the way. But it doesn’t explain everything.
How does zeolite help to prevent nasty odours?
Now you know that zeolite constantly works like a sponge that absorbs and retains particles in pet urine until they are washed away in the rain, you might be wondering what zeolite smells of.
In fact, zeolite has no smell. So, it truly is the best solution for neutralising bad odours and keeping outdoor areas feeling natural.
This is a much better solution than trying to cover up an already existing smell with strongly scented products. More often than not this causes more problems than it fixes and can leave a peculiar odour itself from the mixing of scents.
Zeolite takes the opposite approach of tackling the main cause, not just the symptoms, so is recommended for all artificial grass owners with pets.
What else can be done to prevent the smell of dog pee?
Whether you choose to use zeolite or not, you should be hosing down your lawn fairly consistently.
We don’t recommend you allow urine to linger for more than a week. For cleanliness and smell, especially if you have more than one dog, a build-up of pet mess is harder to deal with if you leave it too long between cleans.
There are also various artificial lawn cleaning products you could look in-to. Having said that, mild soapy water is as good as anything. Just spread it across your grass around once every six months and then wash it away to keep it extra fresh.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on your dog's hair shedding. Especially if you have a long hair breed.
Over time, a build-up of dog hair can block the holes in the underlay and cause drainage problems. If this happens, when a dog urinates on the ar-tificial grass it will have nowhere to go other than to soak into the pet hair.
Brushing your artificial lawn with a soft-bristled garden brush will take care of that potential problem. It is important for your lawns general care to start with, but also clears away various other pieces of garden debris, dust and small insects.
A rake can also be used to clean up your lawn, but it is advisable to avoid ones made from metal. Also, brush against the direction your pile is facing. This keeps the strands upright, bouncy and more natural-looking.
How much Zeolite do you need?
We recommend using 3-6kg of zeolite per square meter, both underneath the turf and on top. In general, the infill should last as long as the grass itself - leaving you with less hassle but all of the benefits of astroturf.
To conclude, zeolite is an essential investment to keep your lawn smelling fresh and your pets happy.
If you have pets and want more advice about pet-friendly artificial lawns, why not contact a member of our knowledgeable team for professional advice. We’re happy to help.