Pea Gravel in the Backyard for Dogs: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Due to its affordability and ease of installation, pea gravel is a popular (and dog-friendly) choice for surfacing outdoor areas, such as dog runs and yards.

But is it the best option for your pet? Let’s explore the pros and cons of using pea gravel for your dog’s outdoor space.

Pea Gravel in the Backyard for Dogs

Pea Gravel is the best gravel for a dog run and high-traffic areas of your yard.

Pros and Cons of Pea Gravel


Pea gravel is gentle on your pet’s paws, making it a great choice if your dog likes to walk or run outdoors. It also helps keep them clean by preventing dirt from entering the house.

Pea gravel is also easy to maintain; it doesn’t require mowing or fertilizing like grass does and can be easily swept away.

  • Pea gravel is safe for a dog’s paws
  • Pea gravel looks better than mud in an area that your dog frequents
  • Pea gravel is easy to clean.
Pea Gravel for Dogs Pros and Cons


Pea gravel can be uncomfortable for dogs who like to lie down in their outdoor space. It can also get scalding in direct sunlight, which could cause burns on sensitive paws.

Additionally, pea gravel may not be suitable for dogs with mobility issues as it can be challenging to navigate with wheelchairs or other assistive devices.

Pea gravel isn’t good for absorbing a dog’s poop. In fact, no type of gravel is suitable for that. So if you’re looking to make a confined area for the dog to run for extended periods, make sure your furry friend has some grass to use.

Consider Grass

Regular mowing and fertilizing are vital to keeping your yard healthy and free of weeds. But the effort is worth it, as the grass provides your dog a comfortable place to relax, exercise and play.

If you don’t have a backyard with enough space for natural grass or if you live in an area where grass can’t grow, there are some great artificial options that you could try.

While pea gravel is suitable for a dog’s feet, grass is perhaps the best choice for a dog’s health. Grass is also easier to clean than pea gravel, as it can be sprayed or washed off with water.

When your dog uses the restroom in the grass, it may leave a yellow spot in the yard (mainly if your dog is a female).

Plus, if you have grass in your backyard, it’s the cheapest option for creating a yard for your pup. It does require some maintenance, though.

How to Further Improve Your Dogs Comfort

Dogs love the shade.

If you do decide that pea gravel is the right choice for your pet, there are several ways you can make it safer and more comfortable:

  • Add a top layer of mulch or wood chips over the top will help insulate against heat and provide cushioning;
  • Installing shade structures will help keep temperatures cooler, and adding ramps or steps will make it easier for dogs with mobility issues to access their outdoor space.
  • You may want to consider other options, such as artificial turf or concrete pavers for your dog’s outdoor area. Synthetic turf requires minimal maintenance but may not provide enough cushioning for dogs who like to lay down outside; concrete pavers are durable but may become slippery when wet.

Does it Need to Be Pea Gravel?

Pea gravel is on the left. River rock is to the right. You can see how the river rock is larger and not nearly as easy for a paw to move.

You can use any stone that is not sharp. Pea grave is an excellent choice for a dog run because it has a little give, which is great for a dog’s paws.

You could also use river rock, which is a good option for a large dog. It doesn’t have sharp edges but is much larger than pea gravel.


Ultimately, the best option depends on your dog’s needs and preferences – so take some time to research all available options before making a decision!