6 Best Grasses for Dogs

Hardy enough for Fido's backyard duty

Border collie dog playing on grass, best grasses for dogs

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There is nothing like playing with your pup in the yard. Whether it’s a game of tag or fetch your yard is a space for endless fun.

All this playtime can wear down the appearance of your lawn. Even if you don’t have a rambunctious pup, your dog’s daily bathroom breaks can turn your green grass into a sad yellow color.

The type of grass you choose for your yard can have a big impact on its appearance and ability to withstand the wear and tear that comes with owning a dog. With some forethought, your lawn can stay lush and green despite your pup’s sometimes harsh treatment. Here are 6 of the best grasses for dogs.

When choosing the best grass for dogs that will suit your yard, consider the climate you live in, the pH level of your soil, and what type of rainfall you expect (or watering schedule you can commit to)—since some grasses are much more drought-tolerant than others.

  • 01 of 06

    Fescue

    Fescue grass; best grasses for dogs

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    Fescue grass is hardy and does well with active dogs that love to run and tumble on your lawn. Part of the Festuca genus, there are many varieties to choose from.

    Do you have a large dog? Fescue may be the perfect fit. This grass variety is very absorbent and can handle a large dog’s urine with ease. Many varieties of fescue are very easy to care for, do not require a lot of attention or nutrients to thrive, and can tolerate shade and drought. For an easy, durable grass option, fescue makes a great choice.

    USDA Growing Zones: 4-7

    Sun Exposure: Shade to sun

    Soil Needs: Neutral, well-draining

  • 02 of 06

    Kentucky Bluegrass (Poa pratensis)

    Kentucky bluegrass; best grasses for dogs

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    Does your pup run circles around you with seemingly never-ending energy? That kind of activity not only wears you out, it wears out your grass as well. Meet Kentucky Bluegrass, a durable and beautiful cool-season grass.

    This popular, fast-growing, fast healing, thick grass is up to the challenge of your dog’s racing paws. It grows well in most climates and does very well in colder areas.

    Besides its ability to heal from roughhousing or your pup’s potty breaks, it also makes a very attractive looking lawn with its unique blue-hued blades of grass.

    USDA Growing Zones: 2-6

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Slightly acidic to neutral, rich

  • 03 of 06

    Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne)

    Perennial ryegrass; best grasses for dogs

    Kirill Rudenko / Getty Images

    Perennial Ryegrass is hardy and tolerant of dog urine, making it a great choice if you have a large dog or own multiple dogs. Though it is not as cold-hardy as Kentucky Bluegrass, it does very well in cooler climates and stays a beautiful green color in mild winters. This grass does require more water and fertilizer than other grasses.

    USDA Growing Zones: 3-7

    Sun Exposure: Sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Slightly acidic to neutral, moist, rich

  • 04 of 06

    Zoysia

    Zoysia grass; best grass type for dogs

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    Zoysia is a genus of grass that is dense and luxurious, making it perfect for high paw-traffic. It does well in warmer climates and does not require frequent watering because of its resistance to drought.

    Once established, it is very durable and creates a soft, thick lawn that will withstand your pup’s playtime. It does take two to four years to be fully established, but it will reward you with a rich lawn that you and your pup will enjoy.

    USDA Growing Zones: 5-11

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Slightly acidic to neutral, loamy

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Bermuda (Cynodon dactylon)

    Bermuda grass; best grasses for dogs

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    Don’t have time to wait for zoysia grass to establish before handling your rambunctious pup? No worries! Bermuda grass is not only hardy but also fast-healing. This makes it a perfect choice for frequent paw-traffic. Its deep root system makes it very sturdy, and it is a popular choice for golf courses and sports fields for this very reason. It is well suited for warmer climates and does not require frequent watering.

    USDA Growing Zones: 7-10

    Sun Exposure: Full sun

    Soil Needs: Slightly acidic to neutral, rich

  • 06 of 06

    Centipede (Eremochloa ophiuroides)

    Centipede (Eremochloa ophiuroides); best grass for dogs

    James Becwar / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

    This grass requires specific growing conditions to thrive, but it may make a wonderful option for standing up to your pup’s urine. It needs more acidic soil than most grasses, and cannot tolerate alkaline soil.

    Centipede grass does well in hot weather but needs plenty of water to survive. If you are in the U.S., this makes planting this grass in the Southeast your best option. Otherwise, it may not thrive without diligent watering. With these higher watering requirements, your dog’s urine will be diluted and less likely to turn your green grass an unsightly yellow.

    USDA Growing Zones: 7-10

    Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade

    Soil Needs: Acidic, well-draining, sandy

Adding a pup to the family doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a beautiful, green lawn. With these grass varieties, you can keep your lawn looking lush and your pup happy at the same time.

On top of choosing a hardy grass variety, there are a few things you can do that will help avoid some wear and tear problems altogether. When it comes to bathroom breaks, picking up your dog’s excrement right away will keep it from damaging the grass underneath. With urine, try hosing down the spots where your dog frequently goes regularly. This will dilute the urine and make it less likely to turn your grass yellow.

By combining these easy tips with a dog-friendly grass variety, your lawn is sure to look its best, even with your pup prancing across it.