ضDogs have a reputation for eating just about anything that they can get into their mouths. That includes entirely inedible and indigestible objects, such as pee pads.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to keep a close tab of everything that your pooch consumes. Even if you’re extra vigilant, you’ll occasionally have to deal with medical emergencies triggered by ingesting inedible stuff like pee pads.
And like any pet parent in a similar situation, you may find yourself wondering, ‘what should I do if my dog eats pee pad?’
The first course of action if you discover that your dog has eaten pee pad is to establish the quantity of the item ingested. You can then monitor the animal for any adverse effects as you prepare to take him for a professional check-up. More on this later on.
Read below for everything you need to know about dogs and pee pads.
What Are Pee Pads?
Dogs ought to venture outdoors at the slightest opportunity available. It helps them stay active while also offering them an opportunity to socialize with other canines in the neighborhood. However, there are times when it’s best to keep these adorable furballs indoors.
For instance, it’s imprudent to let your dog explore the outdoors in the dead of winter or if you share an apartment with neighbors that aren’t so pet-friendly. Untrained puppies may also need to stay indoors so their owners can monitor their potty activity.
A pee pad is a handy tool for a dog that needs to remain in the same spot for a long period. As the name implies, the primary function of a pee pad is to hold pee momentarily. However, these objects may also double up as poop pads. That explains why they’re sometimes generally known as potty pads.
While the original intention of potty pads is to hold animal urine and fecal matter, pets like cats and dogs may want to chew these items. Indeed, one of the frequently raised concerns by many dog owners is, ‘my dog ate some of his pee pad, should I be worried?’
You have all the reasons to be worried if you discover that your pooch has ingested pee pad. But first, it’s important to start from the beginning and understand why your dog would want to eat these items in the first place.
Why Does My Dog Eat Pee Pads?
All canines will chew pee pads for generally the same reasons. However, these reasons may sometimes vary depending on your dog’s age.
Reasons Adult Dogs Chew Pee Pads
The obvious reason your dog is eating pee pads is that he is hungry. Note that dogs are inherently scavengers with a voracious appetite to boot.
If your dog is underfed, the animal will readily rummage through the house looking for that extra bite. That’s when he may stumble upon a pee pad and decide to chew it.
Dogs are known to resort to a variety of unbecoming behaviors when they’re bored. It’s the same way kids get up to mischief when they no longer find satisfaction in their environments.
Some canines may bark, growl, or howl incessantly as a way of entertaining themselves. Others may scratch, tear up, or chew items like their pee pads
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3. Stress and Anxiety
Dogs experience stress and anxiety like humans do. When your pooch is stressed, he may devise a mischievous way of calming himself down.
Licking is probably the most common behavior among anxious dogs. However, other canines may want to chew on stuff they normally wouldn’t eat, such as pee pads.
Separation anxiety is the most common anxiety disorder that can cause a dog to engage in self-destructive behavior like eating non-edible items. The condition generally affects dogs who spend much time alone and without enough ways to stay active during their owner’s absence.
4. Attention-seeking Behavior
Dogs are attention-craving animals. They want their presence felt and appreciated.
Your pooch may devise clever ways of getting your attention if he feels that you’re intentionally ghosting him. Unfortunately, that may include ripping and even nibbling on inedible stuff like pee pads.
5. Instinctive Behavior
Dogs may have shared the same living space with humans for thousands of years. However, these adorable furballs have largely retained their hunting instincts.
Tearing prey is part of a dog’s hunting behavior. Your dog may rip his pee pad apart and even chew it as he would normally do to real prey.
6. You’ve Inadvertently Encouraged the Behavior
How did you react the first time you found your dog chewing his pee pads?
Did you yell at him? Or perhaps you took the ripped item away and replaced it with a new one immediately!
Unknown to you, you may have inadvertently encouraged the behavior. It’s important to tread with caution when you catch your dog engaging in unbecoming conduct, lest you worsen the behavior in your vain attempts to stop it.
7. Underlying Medical Conditions
Sometimes, chewing pee pads could be indicative of an underlying eating disorder. That’s especially if the behavior is replicated on other non-edible stuff, such as sticks and rocks.
Pica is arguably the most common eating disorder in animals. Dogs suffering from this condition have an unexplained appetite for non-food items.
Pica can result from a variety of triggers. Common causes include hormonal imbalances, thyroid disease, separation anxiety, diabetes, or simply stress and boredom.
Note that pica is a severe medical condition that can have fatal consequences. Depending on what your dog ingests, the animal can get food poisoning, intestinal blockage, or internal hemorrhage.
Reasons Puppies Chew Pee Pads
1. It’s Fun
Pee pads feature an incredibly soft and plush texture. Not only does that make them appealing to puppies. It also makes it fun to rip them apart.
The tearing sound these objects give when being ripped makes the experience all the more fun for your little, naïve pups.
2. Exploring Their Surroundings
Puppies, like most mammals, are born blind. Before their eyes open and fully develop, these cuties explore their surroundings by their scents of smell and taste.
Therefore, a pup can easily get a pee pad into his mouth just to have a feel of how the object tastes like.
3. Teething Discomfort
Another reason why puppies chew puppy pads is that they’re trying to relieve teething pain.
New teeth can cause uncomfortable pain as they emerge through the gum line. The discomfort tends to be more common among first teethers – those growing milk teeth.
Puppies will chew on common household and backyard items to calm down teething pain. One of those items might just happen to be his pee pad.
Is It Dangerous For Dogs To Eat Puppy Pads?
Pee pads are non-edible items. Therefore, they offer no nutritional value to dogs.
However, the dangers of pee pads for dogs go way beyond their nutritional deficiency. These items can easily get stuck in your dog’s throat and cause asphyxiation. Common choking symptoms include dilated pupils, retching, hypersalivation, and irritability.
Pee pads may also cause intestinal obstruction. This is a severe medical condition that could easily kill your dog without urgent interventions. And it’s only worse considering that pee pads are designed to be absorbent. When these items get to your dog’s stomach, they’ll soak up the stomach fluids and expand, making it all the more difficult for them to move through the gut.
Inappetence, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and lethargy are all indicative of intestinal obstruction.
Also, while pee pads are generally soft, the same isn’t always true for the thin plastic material covering these items. The plastic may splinter and lacerate your dog’s mouth and digestive tract if ingested. This could trigger internal hemorrhage, another severe condition that may prove fatal if not urgently addressed.
Can Dogs Get Sick From Eating Pee Pads?
As already indicated, dogs can get sick from eating potty pads. The severity of the resultant symptoms will depend on the quantity consumed.
Besides choking hazards, intestinal blockage, and internal bleeding, sickness from ingesting pee pads may also result from the chemicals in these products.
Common chemicals in pee pads include grass scent, ammonia, disinfectants, and pheromones. These compounds can easily make your dog sick if ingested. Signs of pee pad poisoning include hemorrhage, incoordination, rapid breathing, and gastrointestinal distress.
What Happens If A Puppy Eats The Pee Pad?
All the above-listed risks could occur if your puppy keeps eating puppy pads. The difference is that puppies are more likely to bear the brunt of ingesting pee pads than adult dogs. That’s mainly due to their smaller digestive tracts and more sensitive stomachs.
Besides, eating a pee pad can affect your puppy’s housetraining. That’s because it delays the pup’s next stage of relieving himself outside. And it’s only worse, considering that the dog has to learn to stop eating pee pads before you can resume housetraining.
There’s usually also some cleaning work to do if your puppy rips his pee pad even if he doesn’t necessarily eat it. First, the spongy material would spread everywhere. Then, you’ll need to clean up pee puddles deposited elsewhere in the room as the dog can no longer use his pee pad.
What Do I Do If My Dog Eats A Pee Pad?
One of the commonly reported problems by dog owners is, ‘my puppy ate a pee pad and has diarrhea now, what do I do?’
It’s important to know what to do if puppy eats pee pad. Note that your actions (or inactions) can determine whether the animal lives or dies.
The first thing to do if you suspect that your dog has ingested pee pads is to establish the quantity consumed. Ideally, the severity of symptoms and the most appropriate treatment options will depend on the amounts of pee pads your pooch has eaten.
The next and most important step is to whisk your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic. This is highly recommended even if the symptoms haven’t emerged yet. Be sure to furnish the vet with useful information to enable them make a proper diagnosis. That includes the quantity of pee pad ingested and the duration from the time of exposure.
Perhaps you’ve always wondered, ‘my dog ate a puppy pad, will he be okay?’
While ingesting pee pads may not kill your dog instantly, it could have fatal consequences if untreated. Therefore, your best bet is to take your pooch for a professional examination as soon as possible.
How to Stop a Puppy from Eating Pee Pads
When it comes to dogs eating pee pads, prevention is certainly better than cure. Fortunately, there are numerous tips you can implement to prevent your pooch from consuming pee pads or even ripping the items.
Needless to mention, you’ll need to start by getting to the root of the problem. Any intervention must address the root cause of the behavior.
Here are common ways to prevent your dog from eating or playing aggressively with pee pads;
1. Feed Your Dog Well
Keeping your dog well-fed is the most effective solution for avoiding hunger-induced eating disorders. Unless your dog is struggling to shed a few extra pounds, ensure the animal eats to his fill.
Most importantly, be sure to feed your dog a balanced diet. This shouldn’t be a problem if you source your dog’s food from established pet stores.
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2. Keep Your Dog Stimulated
Understimulation (or a total lack of it) is a leading trigger of stress, anxiety, and boredom in dogs, as well as all associated destructive behaviors. Therefore, keeping your pooch stimulated can go a long way in reducing his interest in his pee pads.
The most effective ways to stimulate your dog are to exercise and play with him regularly. As the saying goes, ‘a tired dog is a happy dog.’
It’s also important to supply your dog with plenty of interactive toys, such as puzzle feeders and ball launchers. These will help keep him engaged in your absence. If you’re dealing with a teething puppy, get him chew toys specially designed for soothing teething pain.
3. Give Your Dog the Much-required Attention
Neglecting your dog is the surest way to weaken the bonds between the two of you. Extended periods of neglect can also stimulate undesired behaviors, such as eating non-edible items like pee pads.
So, attend to your dog’s emotional needs at the slightest opportunity you can find. Common ways to go about that include grooming the animal, petting him, playing together, and going on morning runs together.
4. Train Your Dog
Training works better for puppies than adult dogs. The ideal time to train is as soon as the dog is weaned.
First, you’ll need to come up with relatable commands, such as “STOP” and “NO.” Say these words in a soft but loud voice when you catch your puppy eating his pee pad.
Remember to throw in a reward to the dog if he’s able to obey your commands. It helps reinforce the learned lessons.
5. Use Deterrents
There are plenty of deterrents you can use to prevent your dog from eating his pee pads. Examples include anti-chew sprays and adhesives.
Just ensure these materials are made from pet-safe products.
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Numerous reasons might cause your dog to eat his potty pads and other non-edible items. Fortunately, there are equally many ways to stop, redirect, and even prevent this behavior.
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