Sod is less likely to be killed by dogs than grass seed. Plus, sod takes root faster than grass seed, which means you’ll be able to let your dogs back onto the lawn more quickly. It may seem like sod is the clear winner, but there is a catch. Installing sod is more expensive and requires more work than seeding a lawn. While sod is the faster way to transform dead grass into a dog-ready yard, it comes with a risk. If your dogs ruin your new beautiful lawn with urine spots, you’ve lost more time and money. Grass seed requires you to keep your dogs off your lawn for a longer time, but it requires less time and effort to seed or repair.
What to Plant in a Lawn with Dogs: Sod Vs. Seed
You may be torn between planting sod or grass seed in a lawn used by dogs. After all, playful dogs can do damage to a healthy lawn, which means they can harm a new lawn even more quickly. So, when you’re planting new grass in a lawn used by dogs, is it better to go with sod or seed?
Sod with Dogs: Pros
Dogs are less likely to destroy sod than they are to kill new grass seed. This is because sod is more mature than newly sprouted grass, which makes it more able to withstand foot traffic from your pets. You should still keep your dogs off a new sod lawn for 4–6 weeks after planting because sod needs time to take root. The good news is, the waiting period for sod to be pet-ready is much shorter than it is for grass seed. So, you won’t have to keep your pets off the lawn nearly as long if you choose sod over seed.
- Sod is less easily damaged by dogs than grass seedlings.
- Your lawn is ready for dog traffic more quickly after installing sod vs. seeds.
- Sod works more quickly than seed to repair a yard destroyed by dogs.
If your yard has been ruined by dogs, sod can transform the entire lawn much more quickly than grass seed. Instead of waiting for grass to germinate, sprout, and mature, you lay a green lawn of sod in one day. Just remember not to lay sod over bad grass, since this can jeopardize the health of your new sod.
Sod with Dogs: Cons
It is more expensive to establish a new lawn from sod than from seed. If you’re on a budget, this might make sod a poor choice. Plus, if you’re worried about the dogs wrecking the grass in the future, you may not want to make such a big investment in new sod.
- Sod is more expensive than seed.
- You may be surprised by how long it takes to lay sod.
- It’s a big job to replace sod ruined by dogs.
Preparing the soil and laying new sod is a large task. It can require a lot of work. In addition, you may need to hire a few helping hands since all your sod should be laid the same day it is delivered. If your dogs do damage portions of your new sod, it can be very frustrating to feel that your hard work and investment has gone to waste.
Grass Seed with Dogs: Pros
One of the best reasons to choose seed over sod is because it allows you to revitalize your lawn at a low cost. Sod is usually 2 to 5 times more expensive than seed per square foot. So, you’ll definitely save money by choosing grass seed.
- Grass seed is less expensive than sod.
- It is easier to plant grass seed than sod.
- If your dogs damage your lawn, it is easier to try again.
Although preparing your lawn for seed does require work, the process of seeding your lawn is a lot less labor-intensive than laying sod. So, you’ll save yourself time and effort with grass seed. If your seed fails—or if your dogs kill some of the new grass—it’s a lot easier to try seeding again compared to ordering and laying new sod.
Grass Seed with Dogs: Cons
The biggest drawback of attempting to grow grass seed in a lawn used by dogs is the fact that young grass grown is very easily killed. Even light use from relatively small dogs can kill your new grass sprouts. To prevent this, you’ll have to keep your dogs off the lawn for 3 months. This is twice as long as it takes for sod to become dog-ready once it is laid.
- Grass seedlings are more easily damaged by pet traffic than sod.
- You will have to keep your dog off the lawn for 3 months.
- Some grass varieties cannot be grown from seed.
Even if you want to grow your lawn from seeds, it isn’t possible for every type of grass. St. Augustine grass cannot be grown from seed, so you will have to plant sod or grass plugs. This may limit your options, depending on what grass you’re growing.
How Do You Protect New Grass from Dogs?
The best way to give new sod or seed a chance to survive is to keep your dogs off the lawn completely until the grass is established. For the best results, fence off the newly sodded or seeded area. For sod, wait 4–6 weeks until you allow dogs on the lawn. For grass seed, wait 3 months before your grass is ready for dogs.
- Fence off new seed or sod until the grass can withstand use by dogs.
- Sod requires 4–6 weeks of no foot traffic before it’s ready for your dogs.
- Grass grown from seed must be kept off-limits from dogs for 3 months.
- Provide your dogs with an alternative area to relieve themselves.
- Take your dogs on walks or to dog-friendly parks instead of letting them use your yard.
While your new lawn is fenced off, keep your dogs entertained by giving them alternative play areas. Establish a place for your dogs to relieve themselves that is not in your lawn. Take them on walks or to dog parks so your pets can enjoy outdoor activities without destroying your newly planted grass.
What is the Best Type of Grass for Dogs?
Fast-growing grasses that spread via runners (also called stolons) are the best varieties for yards used by dogs. If you are in a region with freezing winters, Kentucky Bluegrass is the best choice. The Kentucky Bluegrass spread rate makes it quick to recover dead patches of grass. This will help your lawn fight back against regular use by dogs.
- It is essential to choose a fast-spreading grass to fight back against lawn damage caused by dogs.
- Kentucky Bluegrass is the best cool season grass for a lawn where dogs will play.
- Zoysia or Bermuda grass are great warm-season grasses to choose from if you have dogs.
If you live in a region with mild winters, choose Bermuda grass or Zoysia grass to create a dog-friendly yard. These two types of grass both spread aggressively through roots and runners. So, even areas frequently used by playing dogs can be reclaimed.
Should You Plant Sod or Grass Seed if You Have Dogs?
Before you choose sod or seed to revitalize a lawn used by dogs, keep these facts in mind:
- Sod is less likely to be damaged by dogs than seed.
- Sod takes root faster than seed, which means your lawn will be ready for dogs sooner.
- If you plant sod, your lawn will only have to be fenced off from your dogs for 4–6 weeks.
- Sod is more expensive than grass seed.
- It takes more work to lay sod than it does to seed your lawn.
Grass Seed Facts:
- Grass seed is far less expensive than sod.
- It is less work to spread grass seed than it is to lay sod.
- Grass seedlings are easily killed by minimal dog use.
- You will have to keep dogs off your lawn for 3 months after seeding.
Since sod is more resilient and establishes a dog-friendly yard faster than grass seed, it’s our preferred choice. However, you can grow grass from seed in your yard to save yourself time and money. You’ll just have to keep your dogs completely off your lawn for much longer after planting.