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Dr. Traas
Dr. Traas, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 5
Experience:  >7 yrs. as a veterinarian; Also a Repro, Pediatric, Genetic Specialist at Univ. of Pennsylvania
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What is the best ground cover for a dog run I am leaning towards

Customer Question

What is the best ground cover for a dog run? I am leaning towards cedar chips for the comfort, pest repellent properties and ease of replacement. Are there any dangers with this type of cover? grass is not an option
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Traas replied 8 years ago.
I prefer large rubber mats over dirt or concrete (Sometimes they can be found in farm and fleet stores as stall mats or truck bed liners). They are easy to clean, bleach and hose down and are comfortable and replaceable when they wear out. You should also place a soft washable bed or dog hammock (see the one at this site though there are many like it URL REMOVED ). It is important and to partially cover the run for shade.

Cedar chips are not a good bedding material as they must be cleaned out daily and this can become very messy and expensive. In addition many dogs have skin that is sensitive to the oils found in cedar chips. Also, There are things in cedar chips that may cause both lung disease and liver disease. They may also eat the chips and the chips can become lodged in the intestines.

If you have more money there is a great product called K9 grass ( which is artificial turf for dogs but is more expensive. Many people also use pea gravel because the drainage is good and it is easy to clean.

Concrete works but I do see more wear and tear on dog's bodies when they are kept on concrete.

Hope this helps,
Dr. Traas
Dr. Traas and 5 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
My first choice was pea gravel because of the properties you mentioned, but a gardener and a yard maintenance worker as well as many blog contributers, said their dogs didn't do well on the pea gravel because they weren't comfortable and it hurt their feet. I mostly want this space because it is separate from the main garden, it is narrow but long so will provide them some room from each other. It is well shaded by plants along the fence and there is a faucet where i could install a lick stick. However, they will use it mostly to go out and relieve themselves then come back in the house, and every once in a while for a little play time when i need them out of the way for a while. I do not want "outside" dogs and in Houston in can be cruel to put dogs out in the summer unless you have air conditioned dog houses! I like two options you mentioned because i could spot the stuff more easily to clean up, but if they are prohibitively
expensive, i would like reassurance that pea gravel is safe and comfortable.
Thanks, Customer

Expert:  Dr. Traas replied 8 years ago.
For the uses that you are discussing pea gravel should be fine. Just be sure that shen you purchase it the edges of most of the stones are smooth not sharp. It is common to have pea gravel in outdoor runs at veterinary clinics so this should make you feel better. Some dog's will not use it to eliminate because they are not used to the surface so before you buy it make sure your dog will use it if you can. I do like the rubber stall mats though as they are comfortable and easy to clean. One thought though is that they are usually black and that may not work well in Houston as they may get very hot from the sun. You would have to decide if you have enough shade for a black flooring material.
Dr. Traas
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so much for your detailed and thoughtful responses to this question. I am seriously giving some attention to a mixture of surfaces. One they can confine their waste to and one they can be comfortable playing on. Again thanks so very much.
Christel DeCoste,Max, Rocky and Rascal