Are Medical Bed Underpads the Same As Puppy Pads?

If you use puppy pads, you know how their cost can really add up. When you go through a few pads a day, those small packs of about 15-20 barely last a week, and the bulk packs of about 50 to 100 pads can cost a small fortune.

One of the biggest ways I saved money when Matilda was small – and more recently, when raising four kittens from 4 weeks old – was by purchasing medical bed underpads designed for human use.

Medical underpads are used to absorb urine in medical settings, especially with individuals that are incontinent. They’re also used in nursing homes and in-home for people withs special needs.

They look nearly the same as puppy pads, with a blue waterproof backing and a soft, white, absorbent top layer.

But are they really the same as puppy pads?

Differences Between Medical Pads and Puppy Pads

Medical pads are often larger than puppy pads, and may be more absorbent. However, I’ve also noticed that some can actually be narrower and thinner than puppy pads.

The cheapest pads will likely become soaked after one use, even with a small puppy, and may not be as quick-wicking, so your pup may track urine with their paws. And they may be less likely to wick away urine before giving off odors.

However, they’re fine if you’re able to change them out frequently. They also work great for feeding a litter of messy puppies or kittens.

Always check the dimensions before you buy.

Small pads with just one or two layers of absorbency are often just fine.

But sometimes it’s cost-effective to spring for bigger, thicker pads, as they can sometimes absorb up to a day’s worth of use before you’ll need to change them out. This makes sense if you may not be home to change it out immediately.

Personally, I like having a large supply of thin, small, cheap medical pads like these.

That way, I don’t have to worry about throwing out a pad after one use, especially if there’s a #2.

And, I can use pads to line carriers, cages, and trash cans. When I need more absorbency, I can just use two or more pads.

When To Spend More on Puppy Pads

While basic puppy pads are often identical to medical underpads, there are speciality puppy pads that are worth springing for.

Puppy pads that contain an attractant are great for housetraining a puppy. Alternately, though, you can purchase a spray attractant separately for use with any puppy pad or medical pads.

Those that are scented or contain a charcoal layer to absorb layer, too, can be worth paying a few cents more per pad. While prompt clean-up is going to be the best way to prevent potty odors from diffusing throughout your home, when that’s not possible, a more absorbent pad with odor-reducing features can help.

Other Ways To Save Money on Puppy Pads

If you need puppy-pads for long-term use, you’ll save a lot of money with a reusable indoor dog potty setup.

Disposable potties like Bark Potty and Fresh Patch lock in urine odors much more effectively than puppy pads, and you only need to replace them once a month.

A fake grass patch is our favorite for very occasional use – Matilda only uses it a couple times a year during really bad weather – but I can’t speak on how it handles odor and how often you’ll need to clean it if used daily. You could possibly put puppy pads or crystal kitty litter under the fake grass to absorb moisture and odor.

Naturally, transitioning your dog from puppy pads to going outside is optimal, but it’s not possible for everyone. Or, you might still use puppy pads into your dog’s adulthood as back-up. Do what works best for your dog, and feel free to find ways to save money while doing it.

Lindsay PevnyLindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You’ll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.

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