Are Puppy Training Pads Toxic?

Adopting a new puppy is an exciting time, no matter who you are or what your family situation happens to be. Sure, if you have kids, it can often be more fun as you listen to their squeals of joy and watch your kids and puppy interact, play and romp. However, single adults and couples get as much of a kick out of having a new pupper around the house.

One thing, however, that isn’t nearly as fun or thrilling is cleaning up after your new furry friend. That’s compounded by the fact that puppies don’t really care where they pee or poop, which can cause more than a little bit of stress. (And, frankly, some nausea.)

One of the most popular solutions to the problem of puppy poo and pee is puppy training pads. Easy to use and, more importantly, clean up, puppy training pads are relatively inexpensive and a generally well-accepted method of housetraining a puppy.

There is one concern with puppy training pads, though, that I hear about all the time from my readers and followers on social media; puppies who chew and, sometimes, eat their puppy training pads. One question I get frequently is, “are puppy training pads toxic?” typically from puppy parents who‘ve just discovered part of a puppy training pad has been eaten by their pup.

The quick answer is that, no, puppy pads are not toxic and, generally, will not seriously harm your puppy if they eat a small part of one. However, that’s not to say that puppy pads are safe for consumption by puppies. 

The thing is, most puppy training pads contain compounds called super absorbent polymers (SAPs) that are highly absorbent. This super absorbency can negatively affect your puppy’s GI tract and other organs. Indeed, some veterinarians believe that SAPs are even worse for a puppy than actual toxins.

Now that you know that puppy training pads aren’t toxic, I’m sure you have other questions about this concerning subject. What are puppy training pads made of, for example, and what to do if your puppy eats a puppy training pad. For the answer to those questions and several more, I urge you to read on. I’ve got the answers to them and several others below, helpful info that will come in handy if your pup ever decides to make a snack of their training pad.

What are Dog Training Pads Made Of?

Depending on the manufacturer of the particular brand of puppy pee pad that you purchase, you’ll find different materials used. The vast majority feature gauze or another highly absorbent material fused with a thin, blue plastic layer. The material partially determines the amount of absorbability the pee pad will have, much like a baby diaper.

Another essential material used in puppy training pads is super absorbent polymer (SAP) beads. These beads act like a sponge when a puppy goes potty, locking in urine and other liquids. Also, chemicals in the polymer beads neutralize the urine pH, inhibiting bacterial growth and reducing nasty odors.

Some puppy training pads also have an attractant like ammonia or pheromones that manufacturers claim attract a puppy and make it easier for them to learn that their pee pad is meant for peeing. Some even feature different scents like “fresh grass” and so forth.

Is the Gel in Puppy Pads Toxic?

Here’s the thing; most puppies don’t intend to eat any part of their pee pad. Usually, they chew on it out of boredom or curiosity and accidentally swallow some. That’s good news because the gel in puppy pads, while not toxic, can cause problems for your puppy.

As I mentioned earlier, the absorbent material inside a puppy pee pad is a super absorbent polymer (SAP), much like what you find in a baby diaper. SAPs are great if you’re trying to keep urine from getting all over the place but, if ingested, can be problematic. A few pellets of super absorbent polymer typically won’t cause any problems for your puppy. However, if they accidentally swallow a lot of SAP beads, their absorbing nature can harm your puppy’s GI tract and some of the other organs in their little body.

Are Puppy Pads Harmful if Chewed?

Typically, no, a puppy pad is not harmful to your puppy if they chew on it. Of course, if the puppy pad is dry, it could pose a choking hazard, but your puppy would have to ingest an awful lot of it at once for that to happen.

If a puppy chews on their puppy pad, the biggest concern is that they will swallow the SAPs we talked about earlier. A small number of SAP pellets usually won’t cause any problems for your precious puppy, but if they eat a lot of them, they might.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats a Pee Pad?

As with most new and concerning situations concerning your precious puppy, don’t freak out if they eat part of their pee pad. First, try to determine how much of their pee pad they actually ate. If it’s only a small or even tiny amount, chances are you won’t have to do anything. Remember, none of the parts of a puppy pee pad are toxic.

Your next task is to determine what type of absorbent material is used in their pee pad.  Usually, this will be the superabsorbent polymer gels that I’ve been talking about, although some environmentally friendly puppy pee pads might use different materials.

Lastly, if your puppy has eaten a large amount of their pee pad, we suggest taking them to your veterinarian just to be sure. They can determine the best course of action and, if necessary, treatment.

Is there a Home Remedy for a Puppy that’s Eaten a Pee Pad?

If your puppy has only eaten a tiny amount of their pee pad, the best remedy is to simply wait and check their poop when they go to the bathroom. If you see that your pup has successfully passed whatever they ate, you’re all set.

Some dog experts recommend giving your puppy a spoonful of cooking oil or mineral oil to lubricate their bowels. Oils like these can help them pass (poop out) the pee pad parts more easily. To help this process along, you can also put on a rubber glove, lubricate it with some KY Jelly, and gently insert it into their anus. This will start a process called peristalsis that will help push the parts of the pee pad out of their intestines more quickly.

Final Thoughts 

Are puppy training pads toxic? As we’ve seen, the answer to this question is that, no, the typical puppy pee pad does not contain any toxic parts. However, the superabsorbent polymer gel (SAP) used in most puppy pads can, in high amounts, cause your puppy some discomfort. Also, if they eat a lot, SAPs can cause several serious health problems. 

I hope that you enjoyed today’s blog and that it answered all of your questions about puppies and what to do if they swallow some or part of their puppy training pad. 

If you have more questions or would like to learn more about being the best puppy parent you can be, please see my other blogs on the subject. All are filled with actionable information you can use to raise a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted dog.