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What material for ground cover in dog run?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
We're just planning out the dog run at our acreage. We had washed round gravel at our last house, which the dog didn't care for much, although it was easy to keep nice. I've heard somewhere that wood chips are not good. We'd leave it grass, but that gets to look pretty bad in a short time, and she tends to do some digging (she's got a hole four feet deep in one of my flowerbeds). Anyone found something that works really well?
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hmmm...is there nothing that works really well? How about natural cedar mulch...anyone have experience with that?
post #3 of 7
We leave ours as dirt, grass and pine straw! Basically just whatever can naturally exist out there with the dogs. But it's not near the house and I've designated it as the one area the pups can destroy (ie: dig) to their heart's content.

I find that the the naturally falling pine straw and some sort of hardy creeper vine have held up to everything but digging. But our dogs are only out there at most maybe 1/2 hour a day.

I don't think pine straw is too expensive?

post #4 of 7
Ok, I have no idea the health factor but, I have seen lots of people use straw hay. You can grab a couple 100lb bales really cheap and I assume it would last pretty long. Just stock up before the harvest season at the end of summer is over. Although it wouldn't help with the digging it would provide some ground cover. If it gets too terribly soggy or muddy in the rainy season you can easily rake it up and throw a new batch in. The used straw might even be resued as flower bed and shrubbery cover if you have cold winters.

If it is an option you'd concider just make sure the crop wasn't to weedy. No cheatgrass! It's a particular kind of weed that can pop up in crops that are not well looked after. The ends of the weed are hazardous to small pets as they can become lodged in the ear canal. So just make sure you don't have any of that mixed in. If you know someone who purchases hay from cattle or horse just ask and see who they go to for bales. Alfalfa is a higher quality hay feed and would have less chance of weeds and cheatgrass but, isn't as durable to your run of the mill hay and gets quite mushy when wet.
post #5 of 7
OK, assume that I have done my usual lecture on the fact that this is just for the dog to run around in and you're not leaving her out there, right? She's a good happy inside house dog?

Given that, how big an area are we talking about? And what is your budget like?
post #6 of 7
My run has patio stone around the edge, and shavings on the inside. I started with aspen which creates a thick carpet, then I put pine on top. I find it easy to clean with a shovel and rake, although I have been meaning to get a shavings fork since the old one broke. They work really well.
The shavings are soft, smell good, and keep the dogs clean when its wet out.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
The dog run will be big. I was just out there measuring the area we had kind of decided on and it was about 1500 sq. ft! We're using one end of the shop for a wall and bringing it right up next to the house so I can get her in and out while bra-less, wearing a t-shirt and panties, with hair standing on end! Obviously it's not a secluded acreage. Our budget is negotiable...I just want something that the dog is comfortable on and that will still look presentable after she's been in there. I'm leaning toward a mulch of some sort, because it seems like it would be comfortable to walk/lay on and if she digs, I can just fill it in and throw some more mulch on top. This will be seen from the street, so we need curb appeal!

Having said that, I thought I had read somewhere that certain mulches were harmful to dogs. I want to be extra careful of her feet because she is having some issues there. We are working with a holistic vet and hopefully things will be resolved soon, but I still want to be careful.
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