DoggieLawn Disposable Dog Potty, SPACIOUS 24.75x21 inches *REAL* grass
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A REAL GRASS potty box for your furry friend! It's entirely disposable so there's no mess, no odor and no cleaning except for the removal of pet solids. An eco-friendly and user friendly alternative t
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What I ended up doing was installing a balcony pet door (Ideal Pet Products) and ordering these hydroponic grass products (Well, originally, I had him fenced in in the kitchen with a box, and he would still miss the box sometimes; now, he is very clear that the balcony is the place to go because there is a distinct boundary). It took him a while to fully "get it", and to this day, he still prefers to do his business out front on leash, but I do not worry about him when I go out or when I'm away at work anymore. I watch him on my iPhone (Cloud baby monitor app), and he is doing what he's supposed to be now. I have a setup where his bedding area is enclosed by a Regalo playyard fence/baby gate in an arc shape around the pet door, and he can have 24 hr access to his grass, too, whenever he needs to go.
I have now tried both Fresh Patch and DoggieLawn, and can compare them side by side. In the photos, FreshPatch is the slightly smaller box in the front, and DoggieLawn is in the back (keep in mind, I stagger when I order them, so that FreshPatch is a week older). (EDIT: Not sure if Prime is available anymore on either, so taking this out of the review). The DoggieLawn wasn't bad on shipping either, considering it is a live product, but it is not for those who need something right away... took just over a week (earlier than its estimate). The quality of both appears to be comparable; the grass I got with DL appears to be a different variety (slightly coarser, still robust; the dog seems to have no preference aside from whatever is fresher), but both seem to last about the same amt of time (roughly 2 weeks, depending on use). I highly recommend that you spritz your pieces down with water at least once a day, to keep them live longer. The hydroponic mats they grow the grass on appear identical; both are clean and soil-free, similar to that Cocotek mat type of substrate. The main difference is that the DL is *slightly* larger, dimension-wise; they claim 33% (see description). For those who complain that the price is so much higher than lawn sod you can buy at a landscaping store or Home Depot, well, this is NOT sod. It is bug-free, soil-free, cleaner and (EDIT: Now that I've had the experience, the hydroponics do NOT last longer than garden sod, so long as the dirt is packed tightly and the sod is watered daily). I made a summary chart, attaching as a picture.
EDIT: Now that I've had more experience with many options, I've updated the chart and will write mroe on my experiences. As stated above, I was incorrect to presume that garden sod lasted less time than hydroponic grasses (something I had heard from others). From my experience, if the sod is fresh and packed in tight soil and watered immediately (and daily afterwards), it can outlast the hydroponics. Obviously, the fresher the sod, the better, so a lawn & garden store might be best; for me, Home Depot is still the most convenient, and their sod is fresher than Lowes in our area (the dirt on the Lowes grass was ridiculously dry and loose, plus, the sod is more expensive by almost double). I have gotten this sod to last almost a month on my balcony, when watered frequently (but not drowned in a tray). That is good, because replacing a whole strip of lawn sod on the 2nd floor is a huge, dirty chore--I have to carry it from the car, up stairs, then through a carpeted living room to the balcony, and it is quite heavy. It's all worth it to have the do use it for this long and not have to take him downstairs constantly to do his business, but it's still not something to look forward to. If you are not able to lift this stuff or don't want to deal with the dirtiness, I still highly recommend hydroponic grass--DL or FP. However, I have to take one star away because neither offer Prime, and with the convenience of fresh sod in the summer, I have to go with HD or Lowes (plus, the realization that hydroponics can't outlast sod; I think this is mostly due to the fact that sod soil retains moisture better and just is larger, so it spreads out the urine better). In the winter, I will likely go back to hydroponic delivery or artificial turf. The fake grass isn't a terrible option when it's cooler, because it doesn't stink as much as in the heat. In the summer, you just smell it too much, no matter how much you spray it down. What I do for artificial turf on the balcony is lay a tarp down underneath first, then layer rubber mulch on top in a slant for drainage, then spray Nature's Miracle Urine Destroyer liberally, then lay the fake grass with drainage holes over it. The dog still prefers fresh live grass, obviously, especially if the turf gets too old with urine smells. You really have to spray it down frequently to minimize this, so I have to go with live grass products in the summer.
Tips on getting your dog to use grass:
Reward and praise every time you see your dog go inside the box--I use his favorite salmon treats
Don't move the box too much, it's confusing to puppies
Take him/her to the box on leash right after a nap and give the verbal command you use outside for elimination; be patient if he doesn't go
Spray with pheromone products; I've never tried it, but some say it works--I just catch some of his pee in a poop bag when he goes outside and use as a "reminder" when he hasn't used the box in a while
*Gently* ease the poop off the grass once it's hardened somewhat, to avoid mashing it into the grass; makes it last clean longer
After removing poop in the mornings, spray or mist it down with a spray bottle liberally; this also helps clean off the urine
If your puppy frequently goes near the box but just outside it, limit his fenced in area more (had this problem when I started in the kitchen)
For accidents outside box, use Nature's Miracle to clean up the scent so that he isn't tempted to start a habit
Will attach photo shortly.
UPDATE: So I have noticed that since this has been delivered I have found little tiny red bugs around the areas my dog was. I thought that it was ticks but come to find out they were clover mites. Apparently they are huge pests and hard to get rid of. I lifted up the grass and saw millions of them crawling all throughout the grass. And they are so small that it said even if we put the box outside they are likely to get in through the cracks. So the idea of grass for apartments are nice but so not worth it. Looks like we will stick with artificial.
The advantage is that I didn't have to change the pee every single day. I did, however, have to search it carefully for poop AND bugs. Where you throw away other indoor toilet options that have pee, this one stays slowly accumulating it. While you don't really smell it, the bugs do. Then the pee slowly kills the grass, and you have to throw it away anyway. At that point, the box is a soggy mess. Again, I'm not sure what I was expecting. Magic pee that disappeared? Of course not.
THEN WE DISCOVERED DOGGIELAWN! Now we just take a hand held pooper scooper to pick up the poo without getting down on our hands and knees! The grass sits perfectly in a plastic bin low to the ground and doesn't get blown all around! So the maintenance and upkeep are a breeze now! It's worth every penny spent not to have to do all the work we've been doing for so many years!!! YAY! Super Happy With DoggieLawn!