Pets and Pee Pads: A Conundrum
Pet pee pads may not be the most glamorous thing to have around the house, but they can be indispensable when it comes to housetraining a puppy or a newly adopted adult dog. Although they can be helpful in many circumstances, care and planning should be used to avoid pet pee pads from becoming a crutch and thwarting long-term housetraining.
Animal Family Veterinary Care Center explores the pros and cons of using pet pee pads.
House Training Goals
Potty training any pet – puppy or newly adopted adult – takes patience, time, and sometimes creativity. Each pet is different, and will have their own timeline for learning. Positive reinforcement is a key component to house training. As well, learning what each pet’s needs and preferences are can help nudge the process along.
The Pros of Pet Pee Pads
Convenience. If it is difficult to provide frequent potty breaks for your puppy due to your schedule, circumstances, or living situation, pee pads can be a useful tool. For example, if you are sick or mobility impaired and live in an apartment building, it might be very convenient to train your pet to go on a pee pad from time to time rather than make a long trip downstairs to get them outside.
Creates a potty spot. Pet pee pads can help pets learn where it’s appropriate to go. Pee pads can also encourage your puppy to use a certain potty area, away from their sleeping area.
Easy clean up. Once you see a mess, simply toss them in the trash and lay a new one down. You can also buy reusable, washable pet pee pads which are better for the environment since they aren’t single use.
Weather friendly. For all those times when the weather is really nasty, pet pee pads can give you and your pet a respite from cold, wind, rain, or snow. Some pets have a hard time going potty outside in inclement weather because they are uncomfortable or distracted. No trip outside necessary for pee pad trained pets.
Sick or Injured Relief
Another important use for pet pee pads is if your pet is sick, recovering from surgery, or incontinent due to age. For these pets, (and their owners!) having a spot to go that’s close and easy to access can be a big relief (no pun intended).
The Cons of Pet Pee Pads
Of course, there are also some drawbacks to using pet pee pads. The most talked about is the fact that if used for too long, pets may not want to eliminate elsewhere and may become reliant on the pads.
Pee pads can keep you warm and dry when the weather isn’t cooperating, but they can also cause your pet to miss out on social experiences and exercise. Walking daily, sniffing, and meeting other dogs and people are all important components to keeping your pet healthy. Using pee pads can deprive your dog of the benefits of socialization.
A Happy Medium?
Pee pads could be used in tandem with regular outdoor potty breaks, or as a contingency plan if the weather or other circumstances interfere. If there is an outdoor space available, it’s typically recommended to use that first when potty training and to use pee pads as an alternative.
Soiling inside the house is bound to happen, and pee pads can definitely protect furniture, rugs, and floors. But with positive reinforcement, rewards, praise, and consistency, outdoor potty training can be a reality and you and your pet can share a mess-free home.
Your Partner in Potty Training
Our veterinarians and staff are always willing to lend support and assistance with potty training and the use of pet pee pads. If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. We’re here for you!