November 8, 2008 | By Nikki B. | 2 comments

Originally, I used cypress mulch for the everyday outdoor run and potty area. Cypress mulch is non-toxic, and it is a soft wood, so it crumbles more than it splinters. It's shock absorbing, and it's easy to pick up poop from it. The problems with it are that dogs like to chew on it, and they will sneak it inside and chew it to pieces on the floor, on days when the doors are open.

I then experimented with sand and stone. The smaller pea gravel feels good on tired pads and joints, and it's easy to pick up poop from. The problem is that some of the dogs eat small rocks and that can be dangerous to their health.

I tried the larger stones too. They aren't as much fun to walk on, but the dogs can't really eat them, although Bailey still tries.

The sand was a big disaster. We didn't use a solid liner before we put it down. The landscape cloth I used is permeable to mud, so my sand mixed with rain and the mud beneath it and formed a desert-like crust that is neither fun to walk on, nor easy to clean poop from.

I went back to the mulch. I re-mulched last week and it looks so much better now.

The big play yard is grass, and the dirt spots where the dogs have killed the grass.

What sorts of substrates do other daycares use outside?
Comments (2)
Nikki B.

Nikki B.
7 years ago

I make sure that parents know that their dogs will not be clean when they leave. I promise supervised, socialized, and exercised, but never, ever clean. Especially the ones who like to dig in the sanboxes.

Yeah, the fake grass is really great, but not so much for a small biz budget like mine.

Terry  A.

Terry A.
7 years ago

Too bad we can't all afford fake grass! I too worry about gravel and mulch, because dogs will eat it. Right now I have dirt, and have to explain to owners that their dogs will go home filthy, which I don't like. I have a few patches of grass, but it is an ongoing battle to keep it going in the desert heat here in inland San Diego.

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