In my Chihuahua and Dog Facebook groups, there are a lot of questions that are asked on a regular basis, but this one breaks my heart – “Am I a bad dog mom if we use puppy pads?”
The answer, of course, is no.
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Why People Use Puppy Pads For Their Dog’s Whole Life
It would be wonderful if every dog had a safe, fenced-in backyard where they could safely go potty as much as they wanted, at any time of day.
But few are so lucky.
Some people live in wooded areas that have birds of prey, so if their small dog is left out unattended for even a short period of time, they could be swooped up and killed.
I’ve even heard of birds going after dogs while the rest of their family was in the yard, so it’s absolutely true that some people have to limit their dog’s time outside to keep them safe.
Many people live in apartments. They may not be able to walk their dog late at night, especially if they do not live in a safe area.
Some people are disabled. They may have invisible disabilities like fibromyalgia that make it difficult for them to take their dog out when they’re having a tough day.
Some people use puppy pads because they work full-time and their dog is unable to wait for them to get home. They’d rather use puppy pads than risk their dog getting a urinary tract infection or kidney issues from holding it in too long.
Regardless of your reason for using them, you do not have to take it personally when someone says they do not like puppy pads, and you do not have to explain why you use them.
Are Puppy Pads Bad For Training?
Puppy pads can be useful during potty training if you’re unable to take your puppy outside as much as she needs. It’s better for her to use a pad than it is for her to just have accidents all over your home.
It’s definitely possible to transition your puppy from pads to outside.
But if you don’t plan on using puppy pads for your dog’s whole life – which doesn’t have to mean daily, you can use them through the winter, or just during storms – you may not want to introduce them during puppyhood at all.
Using pads does get your dog into a habit of relieving herself indoors. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t teach them to go outside.
Should You Upgrade From Puppy Pads?
If you use disposable puppy pads, you may feel awful about contributing to landfills with plastic backing that may take 10-20 years to decompose.
You may also find that they create lingering odors in your home.
Small dogs can be taught to use reusable pads, litter boxes, and other eco-friendly alternatives to potty pads.