How to pee pad
March 19, 2019 8:30 AM   Subscribe

My old dog is still peeing on the carpet, and she's now on barbiturates which is making it worse. It's only on carpet/rugs and only when I'm gone. Given that she clearly knows this is not allowed, how can I train her to use a pee pad instead of the carpet when I'm gone, while not conveying that peeing inside is okay?

When I put towels or old sheets on her frequently-used carpet areas, she starts using a new area of carpet, so I'm a little worried she won't even try the pee pads.

I bought washable pee pads online. Right now I'm thinking about taking the pee pad outside when I walk her and putting them under her when she pees, then setting them up in the bathroom after a few tries with that. She has a command for peeing, so I could tell her to pee on the pad and she'd probably do it. But I'm a little worried that will convey that peeing inside/in the bathroom is generally okay, rather than peeing on the pad specifically is okay. I really don't want her to start peeing in the bathroom even when the pee pad isn't there, for example.

Any suggestions?
posted by quiet coyote to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have no idea if it would work for your dog, or if it's even recommended by the sort of people who would know these things, but what I'd be tempted to try in your case is to cover all the carpet temporarily with sheet plastic in hopes that it would seem to her more like hard floor, and no longer "qualify" for peeing in the same way that uncovered carpet does. Flattened cardboard boxes might be another material that I'd try. And then I'd hopefully have the pee pad then as the only soft, friendly surface, if that makes sense?
posted by stormyteal at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would start with the disposable pads, which are treated with an enzyme that makes it more compelling to pee on them.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:07 AM on March 19, 2019

Older animals are harder to train and if she has cognitive issues, learning may be quite difficult, so I'd work on managing the situation. I would rent a carpet cleaner and clean the carpets twice with an enzyme cleaner. Last time I got it was at WalMart. I'd get an old, large, piece of carpet from Craigslist or freecycle and put it somewhere that you can tolerate her peeing. Once she learns, put a pee pad on top of part of it, maybe she'll learn. Synthetic rugs are easy to hose off and dry on a railing. And I'd put up gates so she can't use the carpeted area. Add a comfy dog bed and toys and being gated in the kitchen is not so bad.

I had a dog who had occasional spells of bowel and bladder incontinence that turned out to be epileptic seizures.
posted by theora55 at 9:09 AM on March 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Might it be worthwhile to consider diapers? For some dogs, they remind them not to pee in the house.
posted by answergrape at 9:33 AM on March 19, 2019 [6 favorites]

If you haven't already, consider discussing the possibility of meds like Prion with your vet, which can help older female dogs with incontinence issues. It gave my pug an extra few years of bladder control.
posted by answergrape at 9:53 AM on March 19, 2019

If there's a possibility this might be an organic problem (cognitive issues, a bladder issue) then I'd look into diapers. I had to do that with one of my dogs when he got ill and it wasn't glamorous but it was fine. I had a bunch of cloth diapers leftover from when my son wore them and just repurposed, but they make special dog diapers as well. Putting him in diapers allowed me to enjoy the time I had left with him rather than stressing about the pee.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:03 AM on March 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

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