As a brand-new puppy parent, slight panic may happen when your new fur-baby decides it’s a good idea to eat their puppy pad. Puppies and the dangers of eating puppy pads are discussions that often repeat throughout the internet.
The dangers of eating puppy pads depend on the type of pad you are using. Pads designed for puppies are safer, but it is still dangerous for dogs to eat puppy pads.
Pad manufacturers expect puppies to get rambunctious and chew up their puppy pads. They’re puppies. It’s what they do. But even though manufacturers are aware of the problem, there isn’t much they can do to help you stop a puppy from eating their potty spot. That training is on pet owners, and we can offer some help.
What Are Puppy Pads Made of?
Let’s start by taking a look at what components go into a puppy pad. Although the fundamental components will vary depending on the manufacturer, most pads have the same base elements.
A plastic, leak-proof backing keeps wetness contained on the pad. These are usually blue or white, depending on the manufacturer. The backing allows easy cleanup, as you can just fold the pad from the outside to avoid contacting soiled areas.
The rest of the pad is a series of layers containing absorbent materials. The top layer is a flow-thru non-woven cloth that allows urine to flow through to the pad’s absorbent layers. The remaining layers may be any (or each) of the following:
- Paper tissue (sometimes with added baking soda or charcoal for odor control)
- Absorbent synthetic fluff and pulp (this turns urine to gel)
- More paper tissue (sometimes with added “pheromone attraction” scents)
Most pads are capable of containing up to 3 cups of urine and locking it into the pad to prevent leaking. Most pads have four or five layers of material and make similar claims of efficacy.
Every pad we looked at claimed to be “non-toxic,” but that doesn’t mean it is okay if your puppy eats them. It means the base components will not harm you or your pup in their designed form with proper use.
Is It Dangerous for Dogs to Eat Puppy Pads?
The dangers of your pup eating a puppy pad usually are not life-threatening. As we mentioned, manufacturers use non-toxic components. Your pup’s digestive system was not designed to digest those non-toxic components, and that is where the danger lies.
Puppies eat stuff. It’s what they do. They are teething and learning. Even though puppy pads are rated “non-toxic,” you still have to worry if your pup decides to eat one. Some general concerns:
- The plastic may bind up in their little digestive systems
- Liner material may soak up necessary stomach fluids, also causing binding issues
- They may vomit (this is a good thing if they bring it back up)
- A dirty pad may contain bacteria from urine or feces
- Added “scents” may cause adverse reactions
So, yes, it CAN be dangerous for your puppy to eat their puppy pads.
What to Do If Your Puppy Eats a Puppy Pad
Most of the time, your puppy will just shred their pads rather than ingesting them. If you take your eyes off your pup for two seconds, they will do the impossible. If you notice they have shredded and possibly eaten their potty pad, treat it as if they DID eat it.
Watch for signs of distress, including:
- Loss of appetite
If your pup is exhibiting any of the above signs of distress after shredding a potty pad, monitor them for 24 hours to see if the symptoms clear. If your pup’s distress continues over 24-hours or appears to be extreme, take them to a veterinarian.
How to Discourage Puppy from Eating Puppy Pads
The ultimate fix to avoid the dangers of your new pup eating puppy pads is to train them not to. We understand that is much easier to say than to put into practice. To that, we can offer some training tips that may help you.
- Try taping the pads to the floor using painters tape (it doesn’t leave residue).
- For carpeted homes, you can purchase a pet pad holder designed to keep the pad in place and discourage chewing.
- If your pup is teething, try giving them ice cubes or dog toys that can be frozen.
- Provide suitable alternative items designed for chewing.
- Ensure your puppy is receiving adequate quantities of food (check with your vet for proper feeding instructions).
Bear in mind that all puppies are different. Like real children, our furry children all have other methods of learning. If you try one thing and it doesn’t work, keep trying until you find something that does, then stick with that.
Offer up lots of attention, so your new pup doesn’t feel lonely. Remember, most puppies are from litters where they are used to having several playmates to wrestle with throughout the day. When you bring them home, they get lonely for their siblings, so you have to fill that gap.
Being mindful of your puppy’s needs will help them adjust to their new home. It will also alleviate some of the stress they feel being removed from their familiar surroundings at the breeder or kennel.
Potty Training Tips and Tricks
The transition from puppy pad to going on grass can create its own set of difficulties. Puppies need to go out every two hours at first. Develop the habit of taking your pup outside every couple of hours.
They will develop the habit of relieving themselves outside much faster. Puppies will typically defecate within 30 minutes of eating a meal. Keeping them on a set schedule of feeding times will help regulate their tiny bodies.
Puppy Parent Potty Training Pointers
Some of these may not apply to your particular situation, but we tried to compile a comprehensive list.
- Show your pet where they are permitted — Keep them in one small area.
- Every breed has peculiarities — Learn about your dog.
- Try to keep your pup where you can watch them — Circling, sniffing, and scratching are subtle signs your pup is needing to potty.
- If you catch your pup having an accident — Interrupt your puppy and immediately carry them outside to finish.
- Designate a “potty zone” in your yard — Take your pup to the same area consistently.
- Lots of praise for successes — Praise your pup for successful “business” ventures.
Consistency, rules, and praises. Sticking to the same routine will teach your pup in no time.
What to Do with Your Left-over Puppy Pads
Once your pup is trained and you can empty the left-over puppy pads out of the closet, what do you do with them? They could just go into the trash. But a better idea is to donate left-over pads to your local animal shelter. They will appreciate the donation.
Training your pup can be a time-consuming venture. In the end, though, you will be rewarded with a companion for many years. With patience, love, and training your pup will move from the annoying “toddler phase” to adult dog. Even though puppy pads are non-toxic, they can still be dangerous, so keep your pup safe when using this training aide.
Puppies are bound to tear up a pad or two when potty training. Though it’s not great, it’s not the worst thing in the world, either. In this situation, the best thing you can do is clean up and scold them gently. Once the need has subsided, you’ll even be able to help some dogs in need by donating to your local animal shelter.
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