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Puppy pads offer your pup a place to pee in a pinch. However, they are not a permanent solution or an alternative to conventional potty training. They are usually single-use items, but just how long do they last?
Puppy pads do not usually expire, but it depends on how they are stored. Most puppy pads consist of a couple of layers of gauze covering a layer of superabsorbent sodium polyacrylate polymeric hydrogel which sits on a plastic sheet.
The superabsorbent sodium polyacrylate polymeric hydrogel, or hydrogel for short, is the active component in puppy pads. Hydrogels are extremely good at absorbing moisture. That said, there is an upper limit to how much moisture hydrogel can absorb.
Suppose left exposed to the elements, the hydrogel in a puppy pad will reach that limit via the moisture. In that case, it will absorb from the surrounding air. It is important to note that that can take very long to happen, especially in arid regions.
It depends on the puppy in question, but a puppy pad commonly endures a full day’s use with smaller pups. Bigger puppies may require fresh puppy pads every couple of hours. It is something you will have to learn to gauge by your individual puppy’s use.
According to the AKC, most puppy pads need changing after a maximum of three uses. However, should the puppy pad start giving off a smell, it’s time to swap it out with a new one.
Unused puppy pads can stand for a couple of days. Keep in mind that the hydrogel can also absorb various odors. It could be that your puppy isn’t using the pad because it smells funny.
When should you throw away puppy pads?
You should dispose of puppy pads if they seem soiled. When a puppy pad looks notably moist, it is time for a replacement. It would be best if you never tried to reuse a puppy pad, as the hydrogel is pretty much a one-shot deal.
Because the hydrogel absorbs moisture, washing a disposable puppy pad is not an option. Be sure to dispose of puppy pads per your country’s waste management and recycling laws.
Do puppy pads lose their scent?
Yes, but just how long it takes depends on the scent, the amount thereof, and the quality of the scent compound. For example, fragrances added to puppy pads to mask the smell of urine tend to fade faster.
Note that puppy pads with such fragrances are a bit silly. A dog is more likely to pee on a spot that already has an ammonia-urine smell. Therefore, manufacturers scent many puppy pads with a hint of ammonia.
Some puppy pads have a mild lawn scent. Although it sounds like a grand idea, in truth, there is no merit to scenting puppy pads to smell like lawn grass. Puppies aren’t born with a penchant for peeing in gardens.
Manufacturers sometimes add pheromones to the puppy pads to try and draw the pup’s attention when nature calls.
These pheromone scents decay quickly. It’s no manufacturer’s fault that the biochemical structures break down in a relatively short period.
However, the manufacturers are well aware of the fact, so perhaps it is just a bit questionable that they market their products.
Keep in mind that tons of spray-on products claim similar properties. So the idea that a spray-on product could achieve luring your pup over is not unfounded. Still, it likely has more to do with the scent of ammonia than anything else.
What do you do with old puppy pads?
In most places, it’s fine to chuck used puppy pads in the bin. However, some states and countries have more strict rules about the disposal of chemicals such as hydrogels. Check with your local department of waste management before disposing of puppy pads.
How often should I wash reusable pee pads?
Just like baby diapers, you can purchase reusable puppy pee pads. These are less popular than their disposable counterparts for a couple of reasons. The most important reason is that they are nowhere near as absorbent.
That means that you have to wash reusable puppy pee pads far more frequently than you have to replace disposable pee pads.
Just how often is something you will have to decide for yourself. But unless your pup pees every couple of hours, you will most likely end up washing a reusable pee pad after each use.
Leaving a used reusable pee pad to stand until the next time your puppy needs to relieve themself would be unsanitary and likely cause an unpleasant smell.
Can I use a moist reusable puppy pad?
If it is time to change out a reusable puppy pad for a fresh one, but the last batch hasn’t completely dried from the wash, you may think to put down a moist one temporarily.
There is nothing wrong with it, but a slightly moist puppy pad could end up putting your puppy off their training pad. Therefore, it’s best to have a backup set of fresh reusable puppy pads at hand so that you don’t have to wait for dry ones in a pinch.
Puppy training pads expire in any relevant timeframe. In addition, if exposed to the elements, disposable puppy pee pads can absorb the moisture in the air, rendering them useless.
For the most part, the frequency with which and quantity your pup pees are the main factors in how long a pee pad will last. If the pad looks damp, it needs replacing.
Scented puppy pads can lose their scent. The rate at which the pad loses scent depends entirely on the scenting agent used. For the most part, a slight ammonia smell is the most effective scent to lure a puppy to pee on the pad.
While reusable puppy pads are cheaper in the long run, they are also a lot of effort. Reusable puppy pads can absorb more pee, but you can no longer use them once they are at capacity.
Tamsin has worked extensively in dog behavior problems and in rescue. She has worked with trainers who specialize in Shutzhund and protection training. Nowadays, her focus is on canine nutrition.
Tamsin is pictured here with her much loved boy, Hudson. She is a true dog lover with a wealth of knowledge on dogs, and we're grateful to have her on the HoundGames team.