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10 Reasons Not to Buy Fake Dog Grass Pads

Fake indoor grass pads for dogs

Fake indoor grass pads and puppy pee pads are products designed as indoor bathrooms for dogs.

I am not a fan of these products because I’ve just seen too many problems where the pads make dogs even more confused. The dogs end up peeing next to the pads or on small rugs and pillows that resemble a pad.

Despite my obvious bias, I understand these products are helpful for potty training some puppies and of course they can be helpful for people with physical disabilities or for certain dogs with disabilities.

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I understand some people NEED to use pee pads or fake grass for dogs if they work long hours and have limited options for dog care. I get it.

One of the most common reasons cited for using indoor pee pads is it’s too dangerous for a small dog to be outside due to wild animals (hawks, gators, coyotes). I would personally choose to let the small dog out on a leash and be out with the dog, but that is not what everyone chooses to do.

I personally am not a fan of using any type of indoor bathroom for dogs in general. For the average dog, I really recommend you start potty training your puppy OUTSIDE immediately.

Here’s why:

Reasons not to use fake grass or pee pads for dogs

1. Training a dog to use pee pads won’t be easy

In my experience, the dog owners who buy pee pads buy the product because they think their dogs can’t “hold it” when really the dog is not potty trained.

So instead of training the dog to go potty outside, they plop down some pads on the ground. What this does is confuse the dog even further.

If you do decide to use indoor pee pads, it’s important to take a couple of weeks to properly train your dog to use the pads.

This involves taking the dog to the pad multiple times per day (on a leash) and rewarding them for using the pad.

It also means you should leave your dog in a crate or small gated area when you can’t supervise so she doesn’t sneak off and have accidents.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of dog owners who think they can just plop some pads on the ground and the dogs will know what to do.

Do you know how many times I’ve heard “She just doesn’t get it!” That’s because you have to teach her!

Fake grass pads for dogs

2. The dog will get walked less

Most dogs don’t get walked enough already. Yes, I do understand the need for these products. I do. However, I also know people use the pee pads as an excuse not to head outside and walk their dogs.

It’s bad enough that so many small dogs get nothing more than a five-minute walk to relieve themselves. Now some are lucky if they get outside at all.

3. Owners of small dogs have enough problems with housebreaking

We all know at least one person who owns a Yorkie, Maltese, Chihuahua or Pomeranian that pees in the house. I’m not talking about old dogs that can’t hold it. I’m talking about 2-year-old dogs that still aren’t potty trained.

If the owner can’t train her dog to go to the bathroom outside (one of the easiest things to teach a dog), how will she train her dog to pee on fake grass? This will only encourage the dog to pee on carpet, rugs, couches and mattresses.

I unfortunately saw a lot of examples of this as a professional pet sitter.

See my post: How to train my dog to use pee pads.

4. People don’t change the pad often enough

One of the top problems I see is dog owners leave the pads out too long and the dog doesn’t want to step on a used pad. So what does he do? He pees next to the pad.

If you decide to use puppy potty pads or indoor fake grass, you’ll have more success if you can keep the area clean for your dog.

5. Pee pads for dogs won’t take away all issues

The average housebroken dog can go five or six hours without a potty break (or longer).

If you are leaving your dog home for shorter periods and she is having accidents, there might be a bigger issue than her not being able to hold it. She could have a bladder infection or anxiety or she truly is not potty trained.

If you have recently moved, she might not understand where she can and can’t go to the bathroom. Purchasing indoor fake grass is unlikely to solve these problems.

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6. Some dogs eat their own poop

Let’s face it, many of them do. I think this would be too tempting for a lot of dogs. Some dogs will eat their poop and their owners won’t even know it because they’re not home!

7. What about dogs that lift their legs?

Are you going to buy him a few fake trees and bushes to go along with that grass? Or maybe he’ll just pee on the wall?

8. There are other options than pee pads if you work long hours

Dogs shouldn’t be left alone for too long regularly if we can avoid it. Many people who work long shifts have dogs, but they come home during their breaks, take their dogs to daycare or hire a dog walker or pet sitter or ask a friend to help.

Dogs are pack animals and need interaction and exercise. Leaving a dog home for 12 hours or more several days a week is generally not fair to the dog.

Yes, it can work for some. There are exceptions. Some senior dogs will gladly sleep all day and perhaps a pee pad is a good solution.

I also understand sometimes you simply don’t have options for dog care due to financial reasons or aggression and perhaps pee pads are your best choice.

Reasons not to buy fake grass pads for dogs

9. Fake grass pads for dogs are not the same as a litter box

Cats cover up after themselves. Dogs won’t be covering up anything! They’ll probably step right in it.

Or maybe they’ll do that thing where they kick their back legs and fling some poop onto your carpet!

My dog Ace had an annoying habit of walking while he pooped! If I bought fake grass pads for him, he would probably walk right off the edge!

See my post: My dog pees right next to the potty pad!

10. Dogs are not as sanitary as cats

Cats are naturally clean animals. Dogs are not. Dogs are careless. They roll in things and they eat garbage, dead animals and poop. And they’d generally prefer to go to the bathroom outside, away from their “den” area.

 

Fake grass pads for dogs

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What’s your opinion on fake indoor grass for dogs?

As you can see, I’m totally opinionated on this. I know that. I do understand these types of products are great for the right dogs. If you use pee pads for your dogs, let us know how they’ve helped you in the comments.

For more information, check out my post on 10 reasons to buy fake indoor grass for dogs.

Jill

Saturday 19th of February 2022

Think its great for a back up and it is possible to train to use. Not everyone lives in a house with a back yard and there are a bizzlion dogs that need to be rescued. Know of several very reputable breeders of dachshunds that use these successfully.

Ray

Sunday 23rd of January 2022

Point well made. Now, how do you break the puppy of the habit of using a pee pad, if you got this email too late?

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 23rd of January 2022

It's a little more challenging but just go back to basics as though you just got the puppy today. Take them outside often and reward. Supervise constantly indoors and crate/kennel when you can't supervise. Ignore accidents or scold "no" only if you catch them going the second it's happening. Take outside immediately and reward for going outside. Good luck, just takes patience and consistency.

Kaitlin

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

We will be getting one for our older dog since we are in a high rise building and putting it on the balcony. I think it’s be super confusing for him if it was inside. But sometimes in the middle of the night he has to go despite taking him out right before bed since he’s older and he gets upset if he’s had an “accident” in the house. Putting this on the balcony for his emergencies seems to be the kindest solution for him.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 31st of July 2019

That is a great solution. I hope it works well.

H

Wednesday 16th of January 2019

My friend recently got an Italian mastiff puppy who is now 4 months old. He was trained on one of those fake grass boxes, which hasn't done much good in the long run. He will ONLY pee on that, or anything that is a square shape (rugs, dog beds, cushions, etc.). Now we're trying to figure out how to break him from the fake grass square because he'll hold his pee until he finds another square to relieve himself on. Even if he's been walked around in a huge field of grass! He just won't go. I've also known other dogs who were trained on the fake grass squares, and they too have a preference for square-shaped items as a place to pee. I think the pee pads and fake grass boxes are stupid and do absolutely no good!

Laurel

Wednesday 6th of June 2018

Guilty! Yes I am one of those people I used to talk smack about. Ugh! My 8lb Chi mix uses pads indoors. She was so tiny when I brought her home at around 10 weeks, I just could not imagine her going outside ;like the other dogs. That was in March. Then, in July, we had coyotes show up for the first time (2015) in our neighborhood and that really scared me so night time potty outside was out of the question. I own a studio cottage & considered a dog door with an enclosure but other household maintenance took priority. Excuses excuses. I'm a dog walker so getting her out is not the issue. The issue is me! Very protective! I had a coyote come within 3-4 feet of my foster dog one evening at 5pm (when it gets dark early) going from the car parked directly in front of my house to inside up the walkway. I'm really self conscious about the pee pads & smell. I use reusable and even have a separate small portable washer for them. It's a labor of love. My 12 lb foster dog, however does go outside and has never used the pads.