Dogs, Artificial Grass, Urine Odors, and Feces

What a wonderful idea to have artificial grass! It's always green. No mowing. No watering. No aeration. No fertilizing. No weed abatement. No care or upkeep once it's in place.

Hold on a moment, cowboy!

Do you have pets you plan to potty on the artificial grass?

If so, you've got a problem and should think carefully about a purchase of artificial grass.

I bought top-of-the-line stuff at Costco (made by Pegra; the stuff with brown "thatch" is much more realistic than the stuff with green thatch). I had it installed, following the manufacturer's directions precisely. I did not take shortcuts in site preparation and did not use cut-rate materials for the substrate. This project was not inexpensive, to participate in yunderstatement.

Before discussion of dog urine and feces, here are a couple pieces of advice on the installation, based on my experience.

Now it's time for the cautionary tale and how I attacked the urine and feces problems. I have two miniature poodles.


The urine smell is persistent in artificial grass. Summer is especially atrocious.

I've been in a pitched battle ever since I installed it (2010), trying to undo the damage done because I didn't know there would be a problem if I left the artificial grass "unattended" after my dogs pottied in the yard.

I anticipated odor might be a problem with my new artificial grass. I called the manufacturer's customer service before buying it. I was told, "Oh, no. No problem with odors; the urine washes right through! Feces will dissolve, too, in time. Just run the hose on the grass every so often."

Not true. Not even close to being true, which I discovered too late.

I know you are thinking, Won't rain wash away the odor, especially during the rainy season when there's a LOT of rain?

I have news for you: not only does water not wash away the odor, water seems to re-activate it!

There really is no way to deal with this problem without effort on your part. Sorry.

I installed the grass in the spring, and it wasn't until mid-summer that I figured out what was wrong. My nose was assailed with a fetid, sharp odor whenever I went outside. Sort of like a diaper pail that needs attending. I wrote it off to transitory odors blowing in on the wind. When I smelled it while I was inside my house (during a piano lesson), however, I knew it was not transitory and was coming from nearby. What in the world was this odor? I knew it wasn't the garbage cans (though I sniffed around them, anyway). Could it possibly be the artificial grass? Surely, any lingering manufacturing odors had dissipated. Could it be urine odor from the dogs? Willing to try anything to solve the problem, I crawled around in the grass with my nose in the blades. It didn't take longer than 5 seconds to figure out the culprit was the grass.


How was I going to solve the problem? I certainly couldn't ignore it. It would only get worse as more and more urine was contributed to the yard!

Here's a chronology of what I tried:


Believe it or not, dealing with feces is a whole lot easier than dealing with urine.

Feces are easy to pick up...however, if the stool is at all soft, make sure to have a roll of paper towels handy because you'll have to clean that spot thoroughly (wet the towel, wipe, then dry with another towel; repeat as needed; fun, huh?!).

If your dog has diarrhea, pick up what you can, wipe up the rest, and never feed bacon again.

NOTHING "seeps through" or "dissolves" on this grass. (Customer service lied!) If it's deposited on it, it's there for eternity - - or until you pick it up!

Closing Thoughts

Artificial grass is VERY hot when the sun shines down on it, and dogs won't step on it because they'll burn the pads on their paws. As soon as shade covers the grass, it cools right off - - within less than a minute.

Be prepared, however, to give your pet another place to potty during the height of summer when the temperature is high, the sun is directly over head, and the grass is sizzling. Or, put your dog out while there are still areas of shade in the yard.

As you might have guessed, this stuff is not "perfect for a dog run," as advertisements claim.

Would I buy artificial grass had I read this file first? No. Absolutely not!

If you choose to go ahead, don't say I didn't warn you!

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Last updated July 22, 2013.