K-9 grass, so what’s the word around the water bowl? To answer that question we must go back a little, to the dark days of smelly old dog runs, before Wagmore opened its’ glorious doors to the world. We wanted an oasis for our canine guests. Where the air was clean, the nice days could be spent outside playing in the grass and when the kids went home they didn’t bring the smells of the day with them. You probably have been to other daycares around the country and have been greeted with that familiar doggy odor upon entering. You know the one that has a hint of urine and bleach. Our mission was to build a safe play space that minimized if not completely eliminated odors.
The State of Connecticut requires that a play surface for canines be cleanable which leaves very few acceptable options. We saw concrete, rubber matting, pea gravel and all were effective but proved to degrade quickly under the constant use of harsh chemicals to clean them. They also didn’t protect the dogs from stepping or rolling in the waste. So, the search began and the answer was found in an edition of Bark Magazine. They profiled a huge facility recently opened in Texas. A climate controlled indoor dog park that was several football fields large complete with grass sitting upon its own drainage system. We had to have this in our facility!
The easiest way to describe it for those that haven’t seen, it is astro-turf for dogs, but this isn’t your average run of the mill football stadium turf. This grass is designed for dogs. It’s permeable so urine is immediately filtered through to the drainage below and out to the sewer. This virtually eliminates urine puddles that get stepped in then all over paws and fur etc. Solids are picked up just like poop at the dog park and thrown away and then hosed clean right away into the drainage. A granular infill goes to work immediately to neutralize the urine and bacteria which breaks it down to a safe state. At the end of the day the grass gets hosed down with cool water and then a special, safe pet friendly enzyme is applied to the entire surface. This completes the breakdown of any biological materials and washes it all away, leaving behind a clean fresh scent and a safe place for puppies to play.
Other thing to consider was how the grass would hold up in the elements. It is designed to be heat resistant so in those hot days of August there are no worries about paws being scorched on hot solid surfaces. It is soft and giving but doesn’t shift like pea-gravel or sand so we are less likely to see strains, sprains or joint injuries found on hard solid surfaces or soft shifting sub-straights. Unlike regular grass it requires no watering, fertilizing or mowing. Just a specialized rake to remove any grass shed, hair or debris. Best of all unlike real grass there is no dying off, yellowing or dreaded mud puddles, although the dogs really seem to enjoy that.
So far we haven’t encountered many down sides to our turf, aside from two notable things. The grass sheds similar to new carpet so in the beginning it requires a little more attention and raking. Some puppies that have soft delicate feet have some soreness after the first day of play and occasionally small spots on their pads, similar to us skinning a knee. We have found that applying Musher’s Secret to sensitive paws and careful monitoring helps heal and prevent that from happening.
We are so excited to be the first in our area to feature K-9 grass as well as a large outdoor play area which seems to be the dogs’ favorite part. Pet parents can safely leave their furry kids with us and know they are getting supervised dog park fun all day long while they are at work.