Potty training is an essential part of every dog’s life. Bringing a pup home comes with a flurry of excitement, especially for first-time dog owners. The sound of tiny paws scurrying across the floor will melt your heart, and the regular routine in your house will go straight out the window.
It’s not until everything settles and the excitement subsides that you realise the changes you need to make to accommodate your new fur baby. For starters, you need to adjust your schedule to align with your pooch’s activities and purchase a few items to make your home pooch-friendly.
One of the essential things your dog needs is a pet loo. The question is: how do you choose the best pet loo for your pooch? Here are essential points for consideration:
Do you live in an apartment complex or a house with a backyard? Wherever you live, your residence plays a role when it comes to choosing the right pet loo. Ideally, dogs like relieving themselves on grass, so people living in homes with backyards have the option of taking their dogs outside to relieve themselves. However, what do you do if you live in the city in an apartment complex, it’s raining hard outside, or you don’t want to take your pooch out in the middle of the night? You can get your dog a pet loo to use as his toilet.
The size of your dog
Your dog’s size matters when selecting a pet loo. Some breeds such as the Great Dane can grow up to 30 inches tall, while smaller breeds like the Chihuahua grow up to 10 inches tall. Just like dogs differ in sizes, they also differ in feeding habits, the frequency of their toilet breaks, and their toilet size requirement.
Large dog breeds require a larger pet loo. Luckily, most grass patch loos come in different sizes, so it shouldn’t be difficult finding a suitable one for your dog. Meanwhile, dog owners with smaller dogs have a variety of pet loo choices. A small dog breed like the Chihuahua can use a slightly large litter box or a puppy patch. However, not all dogs will enjoy using a litter box. Unlike cats, dogs do not have the instinct to dig and cover their poop.
Your dog’s potty training
The kind of pet loo you choose partly depends on your furry friend’s previous potty training. Some puppies are trained to use a litter box, so they are used to it. If that’s the case with your pooch, then you will need to get a litter box since any other kind of loo might confuse him.
If your dog was potty trained using a puppy patch, then a grass patch would be the perfect choice for a pet loo. A grass patch also works for dogs trained to potty in the backyard. The dog may, however, need a little bit of training and adjustment to go potty in the patch.
Types of pet loo
Now that you’ve considered getting a pet loo for your dog, it’s time to discover your options.
Safe and reusable, portable pet toilets are perfect for indoor and outdoor patio use.
PetSafe’s Pet Loo comes with a patch of green grass that’s made of synthetic materials, but is said to feel similar to the real thing. Your dog can pee directly on the pad, which drains into a container that stores the liquid until you can collect and dispose of it. Choose from three sizes—small (53 x 45cm), medium (63 x 63cm), and large (83 x 83cm)—depending on your pet’s size or where you’ll be placing the tray. Though more on the costly side (starting at AUD 189.99), the easy-to-rinse artificial grass (you’ll only need to replace it every six month, but there’s a tendency for the material to stink), effective slanted drainage system, and removable container (holds as much as 1.75L) make it a viable option for pet parents.
KMart presents the most basic and affordable option (AUD 20) in the form of the Pet Potty Mat. This easy-to-use indoor pet toilet (43 x 68cm) consists of three layers of synthetic grass, plastic grate, and plastic tray (which may be prone to spillage due to its shallow depth). However, it is only recommended for small dogs up to 7kg.
If your dog prefers the feel of all-natural grass under his paws, you can try signing up for brands that offer subscription plans. The plan is usually dependent on your dog’s size and his frequency of use, but it comes out pricier compared with artificial pet toilets.
Fresh Patch uses hydroponically grown, dirt-free grass, so your dog might have a faster time learning how to use it. Practically odourless and disposable as a unit, it comes in a box and is available in three sizes: for pets less than 5kg, for pet 5kg to 12kg, and for pets over 12kg. The largest option, however, doesn’t come with a disposable cardboard tray so you’ll have to purchase it separately.
Potty Plant is another option for pet parents searching for fresh grass that won’t stink or need to be cleaned daily. Each starter kit costs AUD 230 and comes with an 83 x 62cm Potty Plant reusable frame that locks to hold the 100% natural and biodegradable “park” grass in place. You’ll need a subscription to replace the grass regularly, but the kit comes with a liner to help keep the tray clean in between replacements. However, you’ll need to manually change the grass every time your new order arrives.
Pet loo training tips
Whichever type of portable pet toilet you choose, you’ll need to train your dog to use it. A dog’s potty training is not cast in stone, so you can still change his potty habits. It just takes some time and effort, so patience is essential.
When introducing your dog to a new pet loo, keep these tips in mind:
- Place the pet loo in the same place, preferably away from his feeding area. Some dogs do not want to pee or poo close to where he eats.
- Observe your dog the first few times he uses it. When he goes uses it correctly, praise him and give him a treat to reinforce his positive behaviour.
- Lead him to the area at regular intervals such as after he wakes up, after eating, and after playtime. Try to keep him at that spot until he relieves himself.
- Say your usual catchphrase like “go” or “time to pee” to inform him that he can use the toilet.
- Transition your dog from peeing on a pee pad or newspaper by placing it over the pet loo or patch and reducing its size until your dog is used to the new surface.
- You can also try transferring a few drops of his pee to mark the area.
- Do not allow your dog to sleep on the pet loo or puppy patch or he may not associate it as a place to do his business.
Aside from these tips, remember that you’ll also have to deal with potty accidents when they happen. Avoid shouting or forcing your dog to sniff his poop when he does it outside the designated area. Instead, clean up the mess as soon as you can. Removing all the traces of the mess sends your pooch the message that it is not okay to potty there.
Getting your dog a pet loo is part of being a conscientious dog owner. Depending on where you stay, what kind of dog you have, and your dog’s potty training background, you can find the right kind of pet toilet option that will suit your dog’s needs. Whether he’s a growing puppy or a senior dog, a pet loo ensures that your pet will be able to relieve himself at any time of the day without your active involvement.