The Best Ground Cover for Dog Potty Areas Reviewed

Are you trying to choose the best ground cover for dog potty areas? Look no more! You’ll find your next favorite product below!

We’ve created a list of the best ground covers on the market and equipped it with additional tips on choosing what suits you best! We’ve included various types of covers to offer a wide range of choices. Keep reading to learn about each!

Girl playing with two dogs

What is Ground Cover?

A ground cover is any plant or artificial material you can place in your garden that’s non-toxic for your pets and protects your garden from damage. Choosing the best ground cover for a dog potty area is definitely a challenging experience since you must consider various factors!

Luckily, we’ve done the necessary research and developed a list of dog-friendly ground covers that you and your puppy will love!

A List of Dog-Friendly Ground Cover Options

While there isn’t much to learn about dog-designated ground covers, as the manufacturers have created them, especially for dogs, using flowers, trees, or shrubs as ground covers may be challenging.

Dogs are sensitive to many more plants compared to people. While some may cause mild reactions, others can be poisonous. That’s why choosing what to plant in your garden may be more time-consuming if a dog runs around your yard.

To facilitate the process of finding the best option for your yard, we’ve prepared a list of dog-friendly ground cover options:

  • Flowers
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
  • Dwarf shrubs
  • Cat Litter
  • Gravel
  • Pebbles
  • Sand
  • Grass
  • Artificial grass
  • Mulch
  • Dog pads.
Sad dog lying on the ground

How We Pick and Tested

We carefully research and test the recommended products. Before recommending any plants for your garden, we’re checking whether the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists those specific plants as toxic or non-toxic for dogs.

When we’re talking about other ground cover products like gravel, mulch, or cat litter, we’re considering thousands of customer reviews to understand all the advantages and disadvantages.

Our Top Pick

Our top pick is the Mosser Lee ML1110 Desert Sand Soil Cover! First, your dog will love playing in it, as pups are major sand fans!

Secondly, it traps liquids better than rocks and doesn’t require as much care as plants do! Even though you need to place it in a covered area, your dog’s excitement about playing in the sand is a decisive aspect!

The Best Brands at a Glance

Product NameBest for case
Mosser Lee ML1110 Desert Sand Soil CoverBest overall
AMERICAN PLANT EXCHANGE Hibiscus Live PlantBest runner-up
ALTRUISTIC Realistic Pet Artificial Grass for Dogs Indoor Outdoor DecorBest artificial grass
32+ RED CRAPE MYRTLE TREE / SHRUB / FLOWER / SEEDSBest dwarf shrub
Wild Hawthorn Seeds (Crataegus monogyna)Best edible
Perfect Plants 2-3 FT Little Gem Magnolia TreeBest decorative
Bonnie Plants Sweet Basil Live Herb PlantsBest multi-purpose
Banana Tree Plant Musa Basjoo Cold Hardy Tropical LiveBest tropical
Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Perennial Ryegrass Mix Repairs Bare SpotsBest ryegrass
Avalution 18LB Natural Grey River Rocks Aquarium GravelBest gravel
100% Natural Cedar Shaving | MulchBest mulch
Fresh Step Scented Litter with The Power of FebrezeBest cat litter
CJGQ Natural Stone Mexican Beach Pebbles 18 Pounds for Garden LandscapeBest stones
Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy PadsBest dog pad
Wild Hawthorn Seeds (Crataegus monogyna) Packet of 10 Seeds
Mosser Lee ML1110 Desert Sand Soil Cover, 5 Pound
Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy Pee Pads with Leak-Proof Quick-Dry Design for Potty Training, Standard Absorbency, Regular Size, 22 x 22 Inches - Pack of 50
Product name
Wild Hawthorn Seeds (Crataegus monogyna) Packet of 10 Seeds
Mosser Lee ML1110 Desert Sand Soil Cover, 5 Pound
Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy Pee Pads with Leak-Proof Quick-Dry Design for Potty Training, Standard Absorbency, Regular Size, 22 x 22 Inches – Pack of 50
Price
$8.97
$7.48
$18.48
Wild Hawthorn Seeds (Crataegus monogyna) Packet of 10 Seeds
Product name
Wild Hawthorn Seeds (Crataegus monogyna) Packet of 10 Seeds
Price
$8.97
Buy Now
Mosser Lee ML1110 Desert Sand Soil Cover, 5 Pound
Product name
Mosser Lee ML1110 Desert Sand Soil Cover, 5 Pound
Price
$7.48
Buy Now
Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy Pee Pads with Leak-Proof Quick-Dry Design for Potty Training, Standard Absorbency, Regular Size, 22 x 22 Inches - Pack of 50
Product name
Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy Pee Pads with Leak-Proof Quick-Dry Design for Potty Training, Standard Absorbency, Regular Size, 22 x 22 Inches – Pack of 50
Price
$18.48
Buy Now

Reviewing Our Top Picks

Mosser Lee ML1110 Desert Sand Soil Cover – Best Overall

General Description

If you’re looking for a ground cover that will offer a pleasant look to your garden and, at the same time, will serve as a dog potty area, this Mosser Lee sand is great for both! We’ve even chosen it as our top pick!

Since dogs absolutely love digging in the sand, your pup will thank you for adding it to your backyard! Besides this, it’s inexpensive and traps liquids better than rocks. However, remember that sand works better in covered places, especially if it frequently rains in your region.

Pros:

  • Offers a pleasant look to your garden as long as you place it in a covered area
  • Your dog will love it!
  • It retains liquids well
  • Inexpensive
  • Multi-purpose
  • Serves as gnat repellent

Cons:

  • You need to place it in covered areas

Cover type: Soil cover

Color: Desert sand, black sand, white sand

Installation and care instructions: Intended for covered areas

Weight: 5 pounds (2.26 kilograms)

Dimensions: 10.8 x 7 x 2 inches (27.4 x 17.8 x 5.1 centimeters)

AMERICAN PLANT EXCHANGE Hibiscus Live Plant – Best Runner-Up

General Description

This beautiful plant will undoubtedly be an excellent addition to your garden! Besides revitalizing and providing some color to your backyard, it is also safe for your dog – can you wish for more?! That’s why it became the best runner-up on our list!

Gardeners consider it doesn’t require much care, making it one of the greatest low-maintenance pet-friendly backyard designs!

If your hibiscus receives the little care it needs, it’ll bloom in your garden for many years! Hibiscus plants flower in summer and fall. However, in tropical climates, they have flowers year-round!

Pros:

  • Provides color to your backyard
  • Low maintenance
  • Attracts pollinators
  • Suitable as a bush, shrub, or tree
  • You can plant it in your garden or grow it in a pot
  • Pet safe
  • Purifies the air
  • Blooms during spring and fall or has flowers year round

Cons:

  • Requires more attention during winter, especially if the winters are harsh in your region

Cover type: Shrub & hedge

Color: Orangish flowers

Installation and care instructions: Full sun to partial shade, 6 hours of direct sunlight per day; regular watering

Weight: 8 pounds (3.62 kilograms)

Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 24 inches (25.4 x 25.4 x 60.96 centimeters)

Unit count: 1

ALTRUISTIC Realistic Pet Artificial Grass for Dogs Indoor Outdoor Decor – Best Artificial Grass

General Description

This artificial grass could be a great groundcover for dogs, making it the best artificial grass on our list!

It is soft to the touch and feels like genuine grass. You’ll have a dog-friendly backyard, so there is no grass for your puppy’s urine to bleach!

The product consists of high-quality polyethylene and poly polypropylene yarns. This makes it fireproof and resistant to high temperatures.

Moreover, it has drainage holes, making it excellent for leaving outdoors when it rains or snows! Users reported that they left the grass outside over winter, and it suffered no damage!

Pros:

  • Soft to the touch
  • High-quality products
  • Resistant to high temperatures
  • Fireproof
  • Drains well
  • Safe for children and pets
  • Suitable for multiple uses
  • Has a 14-year warranty and a 30-day return policy

Cons:

  • Requires more care during heat waves as the grass may give off a urine smell
  • The surface temperature can get high during summer

Cover type: Artificial grass

Color: 4 tones blades, green

Weight: 10.38 pounds (4.7 kilograms)

Dimensions: 37.2 x 7.2 x 6.4 inches (94.5 x 18.3 x 16.2 centimeters)

32+ RED CRAPE MYRTLE TREE / SHRUB / FLOWER / SEEDS – Best Dwarf Shrub

General Description

Crape myrtles are an excellent choice for your garden! These plants grow as trees, shrubs, or dwarf shrubs; hence we list them as the best dwarf shrubs!

If you choose to grow the plant as a shrub, you can use it as a border if you put it alongside other crape myrtles. The plant can grow as a dwarf shrub that reaches heights of around 4 feet (1.2 meters), making it a safe ground cover for dogs.

Crape myrtle trees are perfect for patios, entrances, and walkways and can grow up to around 12 feet (3.65 meters) tall in ten years!

Pros:

  • You can grow it as a tree, a shrub, or a dwarf shrub
  • Does not require much maintenance
  • Gives a splendid color to your garden
  • Pet safe
  • Crape myrtle trees reach more than around 12 feet (3.65 meters) tall

Cons:

  • If you want to grow it as a shrub or dwarf shrub, the plant will require more care
  • Requires full sun, so growing it in cool climates may be challenging

Cover type: Tree/shrub/flower

Color: Pinkish-reddish when in bloom

Installation and care instructions: Low maintenance; pruning controls height; requires full sun.

Weight: 1.44 ounces (40.8 grams)

Dimensions: 6.34 x 2.32 x 0.67 inches (16.1 x 5.9 x 1.72 centimeters)

Wild Hawthorn Seeds (Crataegus monogyna) – Best Edible

Amazon choice award in Fruit Plants & Seeds by Palm Beach Medicinal Herbs

General Description

The Crataegus monogyna plant can grow as a shrub or a small tree and has fantastic edible fruits, being the best edible on the market!

The shrub or the tree blooms in late spring and produces flowers measuring 0.4 inches (1 centimeter) in diameter and having five white petals, a single style, and multiple red stamens – just imagine what beauty you’ll have in your garden!

Towards fall, the plant produces edible small, oval, red fruits.

Last but not least, what’s of biggest interest here – it’s not toxic to your dog!

Pros:

  • Offers your garden a pleasant look
  • Produces fragrant flowers that attract pollinators
  • Produces tasty edible fruits that have medicinal properties, too
  • Attracts birds
  • Leaves are edible
  • Safe for your dog

Cons:

  • The plant will not produce as many haws and may die if it doesn’t get enough sunlight
  • The fruits may attract many insects

Cover type: Seeds for a shrub or small tree

Color: White flowers, dark red fruits

Installation and care instructions: Sandy, average, well-drained soil, Hardiness Zones 4 – 8, full sun to part shade

Weight: 0.245 ounces (6.94 grams)

Dimensions: 5.47 x 3.11 x 0.12 inches (13.9 x 7.9 x 0.3 centimeters)

Unit count: 10 

Perfect Plants 2-3 FT Little Gem Magnolia Tree – Best Decorative

General Description

This gorgeous best decorative tree will perfectly fit with your backyard, especially if you have dogs running around it!

It has dark green foliage and a compact form that grows slower than other magnolias. You can grow it either as a shrub or a small tree that can reach a height of approximately 13.9 feet (4.2 meters) and a width of 3.9 feet (1.2 meters).

This plant produces numerous cup-shaped flowers with long, elliptic leaves in warmer climates.

Besides this, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists magnolias as non-toxic for dogs!

Pros:

  • Flowers quickly after planting
  • It is smaller compared to other shrubs and trees
  • Has long leaves and beautiful flowers and fruits
  • Non-toxic to dogs

Cons:

  • Grows better in moderate climates

Cover type: Shrub or tree

Color: White flowers, green foliage

Installation and care instructions: Hardiness Zones: 7 – 9, full sun to partial shade

Weight: 23 pounds (10.43 kilograms)

Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 55 inches (30.5 x 30.5 x 139.7 centimeters)

Unit count:

Bonnie Plants Sweet Basil Live Herb Plants – Best Multi-Purpose

General Description

This plant is one of the most popular among gardeners and dog owners!

Sweet Basil is an excellent choice if you want to grow something that’s not toxic to your dog and that you can use in the kitchen simultaneously! The plant has large flavored leaves. It grows fast and doesn’t require much maintenance besides placing it in full sun, regularly watering it, and pinching blooms.

The manufacturer advises the customers to plant it after the last spring frost.

Pros:

  • Non-toxic to dogs
  • Perfect for salads and other dishes
  • Grows fast
  • Doesn’t require much maintenance
  • You can grow it in a container

Cons:

  • Since the plant requires at least six hours of sunlight a day, you may find it difficult to grow it if you live in cold areas.

Cover type: Herb

Color: Green

Installation and care instructions: Full sun to partial shade, at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, regular watering

Weight: 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms)

Dimensions: 12 x 11 x 14 inches (30.5 x 27.9 x 35.6 centimeters)

Unit count: 4

Banana Tree Plant Musa Basjoo Cold Hardy Tropical Live – Best Tropical

General Description

While this banana tree may require more maintenance, especially during winter, it’s definitely worth the try!

Before planting it, you should carefully choose a place where strong winds will not damage the tree’s leaves.

Moreover, even if the manufacturer states the plant is highly resistant to cold, you should prepare to cover the banana tree during winter until the weather improves.

On the other hand, though, this plant grows fast and reaches incredible heights! Some gardeners reported that they’ve had this Martha’s Secrets product for around half a year, and the tree had already reached 4 to 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 meters) tall!

Furthermore, it’s not toxic to your dog, so you’ll love seeing your fluffy friend running around the tree!

Pros:

  • Grows fast
  • Reaches great heights
  • Not toxic to dogs
  • More resistant to cold compared to other banana trees

Cons:

  • Gardeners reported that the tree requires much maintenance during winter if the weather gets too cold

Cover type: Banana tree plant

Installation and care instructions: Full sun to partial share; requires regular watering and fertilization

Weight: 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms)

Unit count:

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Perennial Ryegrass Mix Repairs Bare Spots – Best Ryegrass

General Description

This best ryegrass could be exactly what you’ve been looking for! Its fine texture makes it perfect for your dog to play on!

Moreover, the manufacturer says that its coating absorbs more water than other uncoated seeds and can feed with essential nutrients that support the grass’ height and quality! You can grow it in full sun or partial shade – the grass will grow fast anywhere! The seeds begin to grow in roughly 5 to 10 days!

The manufacturer advises seeding in early fall and watering the grass daily or as often as to maintain the soil surface moist until the seedlings reach 2 inches (5 centimeters) tall. This will further enhance proper growth. 

Pros: 

  • Fine texture
  • Non-toxic to dogs
  • Has a well-designed coating that absorbs more water and promotes proper growth
  • Grows fast

Cons:

  • Grows best when the temperatures are 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 26.6 degrees Celsius)
  • Some gardeners reported it grows slower than advertised
  • Dog pee may bleach grass, causing it to die quickly

Cover type: Ryegrass

Color: Green

Installation and care instructions: Seeding during fall, watering daily or as needed until the seedlings reach 2 inches (5 centimeters) tall; grows in full sun or part shade

Weight: 7.14 pounds (3.23 kilograms)

Dimensions: 10 x 15 x 18 inches (25.4 x 38.1 x 45.7 centimeters)

Avalution 18LB Natural Grey River Rocks Aquarium Gravel – Best Gravel

General Description

If you’re looking for no-grass backyard ideas for dogs, no worries! We’ve got some other options, too, like this Avalution gray gravel, the best gravel option on our list!

Besides serving as a perfect ground cover in your backyard, you can also add stones to potted plants, as they lock soil moisture and nutrients and enhance proper plant growth!

You can use the product to decorate your garden, aquariums, or fish tanks if you have any! Your dog won’t be the only one to be happy about it!

Besides, it’s inexpensive and easy to clean! Just use the garden hose to clean the area where your dog has peed.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to clean
  • Pet safe
  • Multi-purpose

Cons:

  • Requires proper washing before using as it contains lots of dust

Cover type: Gravel

Color: Gray

Weight: 18.3 pounds (8.3 kilograms); 7 pounds (3.17 kilograms); 3 pounds (1.36 kilograms)

Dimensions: 14.96 x 12.13 x 4.45 inches (38 x  30.8 x 11.3 centimeters) for the 18-pound (8.3 kilograms) product

Unit count: 1

100% Natural Cedar Shaving | Mulch – Best Mulch

Amazon choice award in Garden Soil by Wood Smith USA

General Description

Mulch can serve as an excellent ground cover! It brings numerous benefits to your garden, including holding moisture in the soil, repelling bugs and insects, and absorbing unpleasant odors! The latter makes it perfect as a dog ground cover, especially thanks to its natural cedar aroma!

Your garden will smell better than ever, and your puppy will be the happiest! Your plants will be excited, too, as the mulch will not only keep bugs away but also fungus and mold!

Pros:

  • Has a pleasant odor
  • Absorbs unpleasant odors
  • Insect and bug repellent
  • Retains moisture in the soil
  • Pet friendly
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • A bit expensive
  • May cause slight stomach discomfort if ingested

Cover type: Mulch; cedar

Weight: 6.4 ounces (181.4 grams)

Dimensions: 9 x 3.5 x 11.6 inches (22.8 x 8.9 x 29.5 centimeters)

Fresh Step Scented Litter with The Power of Febreze – Best Cat Litter

General Description

Are you wondering why we’re suggesting cat litter for your dog? Because it’s one of the best ground covers for dog potty areas, we promise! After all, that’s what clumping cat litter is for!

This #1 Best Seller in Cat Litter is an inexpensive product with an ammonia block technology, meaning it absorbs unpleasant urine odors – that’s only one of the reasons you’ll love to have it in the dog potty area!

Moreover, it’s a clumping litter, which is a huge advantage for you as a dog owner, as you’ll find it much easier to clean than sand, for instance.

On the other hand, this product might be more suitable for small dog owners, as buying enough litter to cover a large area might be slightly expensive.

Pros:

  • Absorbs odors
  • Clumping litter
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • More suitable for small dogs

Cover type: Cat litter; three styles available: extreme, multi-cat, and odor shield

Installation and care instructions: You should remove clumps and solids daily and add more litter every time you clean the area.

Weight: 14 pounds (6.35 kilograms)

Dimensions: 10.13 x 4.19 x 10.13 inches (25.7 x 10.6 x 25.7 centimeters)

CJGQ Natural Stone Mexican Beach Pebbles 18 Pounds for Garden Landscape – Best Stones

General Description

These oval-to-round rocks are smooth and flat, making for the best ground cover for dog potty area! They are non-toxic, eco-friendly, and easy to clean river rocks.

Besides using them as ground covers, you can add them in plant containers and vases and use them as decorative elements around your house.

If you’re worried about the stones getting hot during summer, we have the answer! Some users reported that they hadn’t had any problems even when temperatures were as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius).

Pros:

  • Smooth and flat
  • Easy to clean
  • Non-toxic
  • Suitable as design and decorative elements

Cons:

  • Might be slightly expensive if you need to cover large areas

Cover type: Pebbles

Color: Mexican beach pebbles; multi-colored

Weight: 18 pounds (8.16 kilograms)

Dimensions: 15.79 x 12.32 x 2.76 inches (40.1 x 31.3 x 7 centimeters)

Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy Pads – Best Dog Pad

Amazon choice award in Disposable Dog Training Pads by Amazon Basics

General Description

If you still haven’t chosen the best ground cover for dog potty area, why not go with a dog pad?! This Amazon Basics Dog and Puppy Pad is the best dog pad product on our list and features an absorbent core that turns liquid into gel, a quick dry surface, and a plastic border on all four sides!

You can leave it outside for your dog to play on or use it for training sessions!

On the other hand, you’ll need to change the pad every time it gets filled with urine. This might be time-consuming and generate a lot of waste. Moreover, the product may not serve as a dog poop area.

Pros:

  • Multi-purpose
  • Leak-proof
  • Plastic border to avoid leaking on the floor

Cons:

  • Time-consuming
  • Generates a lot of waste

Cover type: Dog pad

Color: White/light blue

Weight: 1.05 ounces (29.7 grams)

Dimensions: 22 x 22 x 0.02 inches (55.9 x 55.9 x 0.05 centimeters)

Unit count: 50

Some Reader Questions Answered

If you’ve still got questions, here’s the answer to one of the most “popular” regarding ground covers for dog potty areas!

Will Dogs Pee on Gravel?

Yes, dogs pee on the gravel, but not all! Some will choose to pee on the grass. If your dog pees on the gravel, you can use a garden hose to clean it by allowing the water to run right through where the dog urinated.

Why Trust Us?

Why trust us? That’s easy! We’re not just providing solutions! We also empathize with you and share both the advantages and disadvantages of the products we recommend – after all, we know no solution is perfect! 

We’re always choosing the best products on the market, but we’re trying to offer you the whole perspective of using them so that you can choose the one that suits you best!

Two dogs playing on the grass

Wrapping Things Up

What a journey! So many good products that you’re probably wondering which one you should select as ground cover! Or maybe you’ve already chosen your favorite! 

We recommend our first choice, the Mosser Lee ML1110 Desert Sand Soil Cover, especially if your dog loves digging in the sand! It’s inexpensive, practical, retains moisture, and can even serve as a decorative element for plant containers and terrariums! Besides this, users reported that the sand is a significant gnat-repellent!

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