Artificial grass is an excellent solution for your garden as an alternative to real turf, but is it pet-friendly? Will your dog's defecation cause decay? Can Rabbits ruin the real-style effect? Pets are a crucial part of our families in the UK, with many households having a fluffy, scaly or feathery friend as a member of the family. As such the lawn is often a focal point in the life of families with pets as they can use it as a place to play, exercise and of course go to the toilet. So is artificial grass alright to put on your lawn if you have pets? Will it affect their mood, their habits or their quality of life? We'll take a look at some of the most common pets in the UK that would be affected by artificial grass.

Dogs

Man's best friend is a prolific user of the lawn, spending a large amount of time in the garden playing and running around on a day to day basis. Smelling is also a large part of a dog's life, their sense of smell guiding them through the world around them. But will artificial grass affect their love of the garden? No. Artificial grass is perfectly dog-friendly and won't cause them to feel lost. In fact, it has the added benefit of being weatherproof and won't freeze over during the winter so your pooch can play on it all year round. It also won't wear away over time - which is a common problem with genuine turf which gets worn down by dogs. There isn't a waste issue either as artificial turf is permeable, meaning any urine drains away just like water would do on a rainy day and more solid waste can be easily scooped up and washed away if necessary.

Cats

Cats are less likely to spend as much time in the garden as dogs, often choosing to roam further and make the most of their freedom to come and go as they please. But that doesn't mean they won't enjoy the lawn, with all the smells, sounds and creatures for them to chase. Artificial grass is also cat-friendly and won't affect the way your cat behaves, although they may be disappointed in the lack of creepy crawlies to chase through it. Any waste is easily cleaned away and the material is durable enough to take even the sharpest of claws. Some cats like to chew grass and plants, and although artificial grass won't give them any nutritional benefit it won't harm them either if they manage to pull some blades out.

Rabbits/Guinea Pigs

Rabbits and guinea pigs are the pets that are most likely to be affected by the change in turf as a lot of their lives are spent living on it. Although most rabbits and guinea pigs live in hutches, most owners will have a run that allows them to enjoy the turf outside safely. There is also a grazing issue as both rabbits and guinea pigs will graze upon the turf regularly when out on it, so is this a problem for artificial grass? No, artificial grass is perfectly friendly for rabbits and guinea pigs to use. Some owners even line the floors of their hutches with artificial turf as an alternative to the wooden bottoms. Both rabbits and guinea pigs use their sense of smell when grazing, and as artificial turf doesn't smell like grass then there will be no issues with them trying to eat it. Some artificial turf styles may have long pile heights which can be created using loops, these may get caught in teeth and claws so some research into pile height and style should be done before taking the plunge.

Tortoises

Tortoises are becoming more and more popular in the UK and, like rabbits and guinea pigs, will spend a lot of time outside in a garden run - especially in the summer months. As with rabbits and guinea pigs they do graze on the grass and flowers, albeit at a much slower rate, but artificial grass won't be a problem for them. Tortoise owners should, however, make sure that the tortoise has access to things to nibble on when in the run, be it actual food or have a small planter that's accessible to the tortoise for it to graze on.