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Are Single-Use Puppy Pads Toxic?

Having your puppy go outside is an ideal solution, but puppy pee pads can be a useful tool for potty training a puppy. A doggy pee pad can be beneficial if you have a young puppy who must go potty frequently. 

There are many benefits of using puppy training pads, including convenience, easy cleanup, and high absorbency, to name a few. However, before you decide to use potty training pads, it’s important to learn whether they contain any chemicals and are safe to use around puppies. At this point, you may ask, are puppy pads toxic?

Keep reading to find out! This article will tell you what are puppy pads made of, what to do if your puppy is chewing potty pads, and share eco-friendly alternatives to single-use puppy pads. 

This post includes affiliate links. If you buy something through us, we may earn a small commission.

What Are Puppy Potty Training Pads Made Of?

Most puppy training pads have the same basic elements, and their function is to absorb your puppy’s urine. 

A doggy pee pad has a plastic, leak-proof lining designed to keep the wetness contained in the pad. The backing can be blue or white, depending on the manufacturer. Thanks to the plastic backing, owners can fold the pad from the outside without contacting soiled areas. 

The rest of the pad consists of several layers with absorbent materials. The first layer allows the urine to move through to the pad’s absorbent layers and is made from non-woven flow-thru cloth. All remaining absorbent layers may consist of all or some of the following:

  • Paper tissue (sometimes contains charcoal or baking soda for odor control)
  • Absorbent synthetic hydrogel (turns the urine into a gel)
  • More paper tissue (sometimes has added pheromones to attract the puppy to pee on the pad)

Most puppy pads can hold up to three cups of liquid and lock it into the pad to prevent leaking. Depending on the manufacturer, puppy training pads have four or five absorbent layers and are similarly effective. 

Are Puppy Training Pads Toxic?

Puppy training pads can be made with toxic components. When used as intended, a puppy pad is non-toxic and won’t harm your puppy in any way. However, that doesn’t mean it’s safe for your pup to eat the pee pad. 

Unfortunately, puppies like to chew things, especially during the teething phase. Although puppy training pads are technically non-toxic, you should be concerned if your puppy tears and eats a pee pad. 

The following issues are associated with the ingestion of puppy training pads:

  • The plastic lining may cause an intestinal obstruction
  • The absorbent hydrogel may soak up the necessary stomach fluids 
  • The synthetic pheromones may cause an adverse reaction
  • Vomiting
  • Eating a dirty puppy pad may expose a puppy to harmful bacteria from urine and feces

RELATED POST: 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Disposable Puppy Pads

What To Do If Your Puppy Eats Pee Pads?

More often than not, your puppy will tear up the puppy training pad without ingesting it. However, even if this is the case, it’s best that you act as if your dog ate the puppy pad. If you notice that your pooch has shredded or chewed their puppy training pad, be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation 

If your puppy exhibits any of these symptoms after eating a puppy pad, call your vet and monitor them for up to 24 hours to see if the symptoms subside. Take your puppy to the vet if they seem worse or if their symptoms persist for more than 24 hours.

And be sure to read the Potentially Dangerous Items for Your Pet list.

Why Does Your Puppy Chew Puppy Pads?

There are several reasons why puppies love to chew puppy training pads. The best way to stop this behavior is to find out why your pup is doing it in the first place. 

Here are the most likely reasons why your puppy chews puppy pads:

1. Stress

Puppies experience stress just like people. When a puppy is stressed, they will find a way to relieve the stress and calm down. Many dogs resort to destructive behavior to comfort themselves and ease their anxiety. Chewing and tearing training pads may serve as stress relief and has a calming effect on your puppy.

2. Hunger

When hungry, some puppies may start chewing random things, including a training pee pad. If this is the case, take a closer look at your pup’s food and daily calorie intake. Consider switching to a good quality calorie-dense food and give your puppy some healthy treats throughout the day to help them feel full for longer.

3. Boredom

Puppies are like toddlers in some way – if there’s nothing interesting to do, they’ll get into all sorts of trouble. A bored puppy will chew and tear everything they come across, including the pee pad and even that new pair of shoes. Puppies need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to burn pent-up energy and stay entertained. 

4. Pica

If your puppy is eating pee pads, they may have pica. Pica is a condition that may cause your pooch to eat non-food items. This condition can be triggered by a medical issue, like nutrient deficiency, or a behavioral problem, like boredom or anxiety. 

5. Teething

Teething is a painful and uncomfortable phase for many puppies. If your puppy is teething, they may chew a pappy pad to relieve discomfort caused by emerging teeth. 

How To Stop A Puppy From Eating Potty Training Pads For Dogs?

The best way to avoid dangers associated with eating pee pads is to train your puppy not to eat them. Puppies enjoy chewing and tearing pee pads, and training them to stop requires some work and patience.

Here are some tips to stop your puppy from eating pee pads:

YOU MIGHT ASLO WANT TO READ: How to Train a Puppy to Pee on a Reusable Pee Pad

Give Your Puppy Chew Toys

Provide your puppy with different chew toys to prevent them from being destructive while teething. Having access to fun toys to play with will keep your puppy mentally stimulated and prevent boredom. 

Rotate your puppy’s toys once a week to keep things interesting. This way, your pup won’t lose interest in their toys and will always have new and exciting toys to play with. 

Keep Your Puppy Exercised

In addition to chew toys, puppies also need regular exercise to release pent-up energy and stay on their best behavior. A simple walk and several play sessions a day will suffice and help keep your pup exercised and calm. 

Feed Your Puppy A Balanced Diet

Puppies need high-quality and nutritious kibble to stay healthy and thrive. Eating cheap kibble can lead to nutrient deficiencies and cause your puppy to eat puppy pads. If your puppy seems hungry all the time, switch them to a better quality puppy food and make sure you’re feeding appropriate amounts of food at mealtimes.

Teach Your Puppy The “Leave It” Command

Teaching your puppy the “leave it” command can be handy in many situations. For this approach to work, you’ll have to keep an eye on your dog and catch them when they are about to chew the pee pad.

When you see your puppy starting to eat the pee pad, say, “leave it” in a firm voice. When your puppy leaves the pad, praise them and give them a tasty treat. Repeat these steps the next time you catch your pup chewing the pee pad. 


Redirection is an effective training technique, especially for puppies. When you catch your puppy eating the pee pad, redirect their attention to another activity. Use this training technique alone or combined with the “leave it” command. 

Use A Pee Pad Holder

Pee pad holders are designed to keep the pad in place and discourage chewing. However, these trays aren’t always effective and might not stop a determined puppy. A pee pad holder is a great option if your puppy is easily discouraged. 

Eco-Friendly Alternative To Single-Use Puppy Pads

In addition to being dangerous for puppies if ingested, single-use pee pads are also bad for the environment. Because they are made of plastic, disposable puppy pads can’t be recycled or composted. To make matters even worse, it’s estimated that a single pee pad takes around 500 years to break down in a landfill.  

Instead of spending money on single-use puppy pads, switch to reusable puppy pads. In addition to being a better option for the planet and your wallet, reusable puppy pads are non-toxic. Unlike disposable pee pads, washable pet mats aren’t made using harsh chemicals, dyes, and bleach, and are completely safe for your pet and the planet.

Here are a couple of our favorite brand of reusable and washable puppy pads to use instead:

FAQs About Are Puppy Pads Toxic

Below you’ll find answers to the most common questions about using puppy pee pads.

Are Puppy Pads Toxic To Humans?

No, puppy pee pads aren’t toxic to humans. Pet pee mats are a variation of a product originally intended for humans. Having said that, you shouldn’t use puppy pee pads for a baby because many are treated with pheromones to attract the dog to pee on them and can cause skin irritations in infants. 

Are Puppy Pads Toxic To Guinea Pigs?

No, puppy pads aren’t toxic to guinea pigs when used correctly. It’s safe to use puppy pads as a cage liner, but only in combination with other kinds of bedding. To prevent guinea pigs from chewing on puppy pee pads out of boredom, place the pads underneath another type of bedding. Avoid using scented puppy pee pads for guinea pigs because they are toxic if ingested. 

Are Puppy Pads Toxic To Rabbits?

Puppy pads are toxic to rabbits if ingested. Puppy pads contain sodium polyacrylate polymeric hydrogel, a superabsorbent compound that can cause serious harm to a rabbit’s digestive tract if ingested. Furthermore, baking soda, a common ingredient used in many puppy pads for odor control, is dangerous for rabbits when ingested or inhaled. 

A Final Word On Are Pee Pads Toxic

Puppy pee pads are a common tool used for housetraining puppies or older incontinent dogs. When used correctly, single-use puppy pads shouldn’t be toxic to dogs. However, using puppy pee pads isn’t without risks.

Puppy pads contain a superabsorbent compound that is dangerous for puppies if ingested. When ingested, this compound will absorb fluids in the puppy’s stomach and expand, causing an intestinal blockage. To prevent this from happening, switch to reusable puppy pads that are safer for your puppy and the environment. 

More Eco-Friendly Tips For Pet Owners:

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What To Use Instead Of Single-Use Puppy Pee Pads That Isn’t Toxic

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