How to Choose Pee Pads for Dogs
It can be difficult to pin down the type of dog pee pad you want to get for your furry friends. Below, we’ll take a look at why you might need a pee pad and what to look for during your search. Housebreaking your puppy can be difficult, but a dog pee pad can help most dogs leave fewer messes in your home.
What is a Pee Pad?
A dog pee pad is a layered mat that is helpful for training puppies, assisting older dogs, or dealing with bad weather. The dog uses the pad instead of having to go outside, saving your floors. Some pads are disposable, while others are reusable and machine washable. There are even pads that emulate the smell and feel of real grass so your pup has an easier time using them.
We’ll take a look at all of this and more below. Having a pee pad on hand even if you don’t use them regularly can be a great option for pet owners in case of special circumstances and even emergencies.
Why Do You Need a Pee Pad?
Pee pads are more versatile than you might think. For something so simple, there is a hose of reasons why you may need one. Having pee pads on hand for any of these reasons is a great idea.
- Puppy Training. Training your puppy to pee outside is the most common reason that dog owners look for pee pads. While the pad doesn’t usually train the dog to go in the proper place (except for some faux grass pads), it can help with accidents. If you’ve ever trained a puppy, you know that running into unexpected messes can be a hassle. Most pee pads have special smells or other attractions that make puppies want to use them instead of your floor. If you’re crate-training your puppy at night, including a pee pad inside the crate area keeps their sleeping areas clean.
- Senior Dogs. Our oldest canine friends sometimes have some difficulties going outside like they used to. Especially if they have arthritis or other mobility issues, going in and out of the house all day can be taxing for them. While senior dogs may be resistant to using the pad at first, it can help you feel secure and have less of a mess to clean up during your best friends’ twilight years.
- Bad Weather. If you live in a location that gets a lot of heavy rain, snow, or ice, you know that walks out in the weather can be uncomfortable for you and your dog. Regardless of your dog’s age, they may have trouble using the bathroom outside when it’s extremely cold, icy, and snowy. They might not even want to go out in the rain. Having pee pads on hand for these situations can be a lifesaver.
- Lining a Crate. If you are your dog are going on a long trip, you may want to put down a pee pad in the bottom of their crate. If you can’t stop during your trip to let them out for a ride (if you’re on a long road trip and there are no roadside parks, for example), simply replace the pee pad when you stop. This works for a host of different crate-related situations.
- Post-Surgery. Sometimes, surgeries can leave your dog with incontinence for a time. If they’ve had any sort of leg or hip surgery, they may not be able to get up and go outside just after their surgery is over. If this is the case, putting down a pee pad can help make them more comfortable.
- Apartment Life. Our lives can get busy. Though we all know that our pups deserve the best, we also know that sometimes we just can’t get home in time to talk to the dog for a walk. If that’s the case, putting down a pee pad can save your floors. You’ll be happier to see your best friend if there isn’t a mess waiting for you when you get home.
Most pee pads work pretty well to cover these issues. The good thing about pee pads if they aren’t specialized. You can buy a pack of disposable pee pads and keep them on hand for your adult dog’s mishaps, from surgery to crate lining and beyond.
What to Look For in a Dog Pee Pad
Consider these things as you shop for dog pee pads.
What you’re using the pad for directly influences how big you’ll need them to be. Larger puppies will need a larger pad. The same can be said for older dogs. If you’re using pee pads to help older dogs or to supplement for terrible weather or apartment living, choosing the largest size available can help the both of you. Larger dogs pee more, so a larger and more absorbent pad is key.
Thankfully, most brands have different sizes and dimension options when purchasing dog pee pads, so keep an eye out for these options when you order.
Number of Layers
Most brands will advertise the number of layers that are present in their pee pads. Absorbancy is important, and you don’t want to skimp when it comes to the layers. Make sure that you’re choosing the pee pads with the most layers if at all possible.
Washable and reusable pads will have more layers. Similarly, grass pads won’t have many layers at all due to the way they are constructed. Keep these things in mind while you’re looking at your options.
What is the pee pad made of? This will differ greatly between different types of pads. Ideally, you want to go with absorbent materials for disposable pads. Reusable pads should be easy to machine wash and dry.
Some pads use charcoal or other odor-resistant linings and layers. These are great for keeping your house smelling fresh, even when you’re training a new puppy. Some pads have gel layers that absorb more than standard cloth. These are all things you have to take into account.
There are a few different types of pee pads available. You have to choose which is best for you and your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at your options.
- Disposable pee pads are simple to use but can be expensive to maintain. When your puppy uses the pad, you can throw it away afterward without having to worry about cleaning up.
- Washable or reusable pee pads are made of much thicker, heavier material. These pads are super absorbent. Once you remove the solid waste, you can run these pads through a washing machine to get them ready to go for the next time you need them.
- Grass pee pads are mats made of artificial grass. These are the most expensive pee pads you can find, but they also go a long way towards housebreaking your pup later on. If they already know to use the grass, it won’t be long before they’re going on your normal walks like a pro!
Capacity can be one of the most important features to look for when you’re shopping for larger dogs. Larger dogs pee more, and more often. You want to make sure that the pee pad you get for a larger or older dog is going to be able to handle your dog’s mess without leaking.
No matter how big your dog is, however, a larger capacity is always better. When shopping, look for the pee pads that advertise larger capacities. This way, you’re always covered with minimal leaks.
Number of Pads
Some pads come in multi-packs. Disposable pads always come in packs with multiple pads included. This is essentially how many pads you’re getting for your money. Of course, more pads means more expense. If it helps, consider how many times your puppy uses the bathroom throughout the day and buy the appropriate number based on what you’ve observed.
Tips for Potty Training Your New Puppy
Housetraining your new puppy is easily one of the most daunting tasks facing a new dog owner. You may fear that you’ll have damaged floors, endless messes to clean, and ruined rugs all through the house. While this is somewhat accurate, there are multiple ways you can work to encourage your dog to use the bathroom when and where you want them to.
To get started, it’s worth noting that pee pads and paper training techniques offer a temporary, incomplete solution to housebreaking your pup. Giving your dog multiple options on where to go to the bathroom can make it more difficult to completely train them later. Your dog might get mixed messages with this method, but it does work to prevent damage to your floors.
Crate training is another solution that many owners prefer to use. While most don’t like to lock their new pups away for longer periods, it can be a useful tool in your housebreaking arsenal. Dogs like clean living spaces. They generally won’t use the bathroom where they sleep.
Crate training can encourage your puppy to tell you when they need to go to the bathroom. Let them out of the crate and take them outside to go. Before too long, they’ll begin to connect these events.
Here are a few tips to help you housebreak your dog without crate training or paper training.
- Keep a close eye on your pup. It’s important to get to know your dog, and especially important when you’re housetraining them. Each dog will have different bathroom habits, tells, and signs that they have to go. Watching them can help you determine what these signs are. When you see them displaying these signs, it’s time to take them out for a walk.
- Schedules are key. Younger pups thrive on a schedule. When you feed them at the same time and walk them at the same time, they’ll quickly become accustomed to it. For younger dogs, make sure that you’re taking them out first thing in the morning, after playing, after naps, after eating, drinking, or getting excited, and as the last task before they go to bed. If they’ve spent any time in a crate, take them outside immediately afterward. Keep up with this schedule so your pup knows when to go.
- Praise often. Dogs rarely respond well to violence or scolding. Instead of punishing your dog for using the rug, praise them excitedly when they go to the bathroom outside. Throw a small party each time your dog goes to the bathroom outside, get her excited, and give her treats. The positive reinforcement of desired behaviors works much better than punishment.
The biggest tip we can give you is to be patient. All dogs are different, and some are more stubborn than others. However, a little bit of patience, a proactive approach, and lots of praise when your puppy does the right thing can help tremendously with housebreaking.