Whether you call them puppy training pads or pee pads, many people find that they need a pee pad at some point of their dog’s life. Some people use them as the first step towards housetraining, while other people find that their senior dog needs a pee pad as he ages. Pee pads for dogs are also a good option for a dog that refuses to urinate outside when it rains or for dogs that have to spend long hours inside while their owners are at work. Other dog owners have found them useful to line the inside of crates or use them on car seats. Even the occasional cat owner uses pee pads underneath a cat’s litterbox for various reasons.
To learn more about pee pads, we talked to Petix Company General Manager, Krister Holm. Petix makes WizSmart pee pads—a product that is made from disposable diaper fill that cannot be sold. We talked to Krister to find out his perspective on what makes a good pee pad, and why he’s not trying to grow the pee pad market.
MB: What should you consider when you buy a pee pad for your dog?
KH: Absorbency is the biggest consideration when we talk about pee pads. The average, thin pee pad has an absorbency rate of between two to three cups. Other pee pads have absorbency that’s two to three times the absorbency rate, so they perform better.
When we discuss absorbency, we also want to consider how quickly something absorbs. You want to know that when your dog pees on the pad, that he doesn’t get wet paws as he walks away.
How much the liquid spreads throughout the pad is also a useful consideration. Are a few drops of liquid going to make enormous spots on the pad or are they quickly going to absorb without much spread?
Related to absorbency is the rewet test. That’s when you place another fabric over the pee pad and see how much liquid can be absorbed out of the pee pad.
An ideal pee pad is going to perform better than average in these four essential categories. You want one that’s going to absorb plenty of liquid, rather quickly without a lot of spread and stay fairly dry on top.
How can you spot a pee pad that will perform well before you start to use it?
KH: A lot of times, you can tell by the thickness and the materials used. Thinner pee pads often absorb less. You can spot thicker pee pads when you compare the number of pee pads in a package versus the volume that each package takes up. I’ve seen thirty pee pads take up the same room as a hundred pee pads. The materials used to absorb the liquid will also determine the overall performance but that can be harder to identify without opening the package.
And the performance can be tied to cost—thicker pee pads with better materials won’t cost the same per pad as thinner pee pads. But we’ve found that many people who use pee pads use several thinner pee pads to provide the coverage that you’d get from one higher quality pee pad.
MB: The WizSmart pee pads are unique in the pee pad market because of your manufacturing process. Can you explain how it works?
KH: WizSmart pee pads are made from baby diapers that are rejected for technical defects. Essentially, we repurpose these diapers by contracting with diaper manufacturers and repurpose 120 million unused baby diapers every year.
Every pee pad has three major components: the plastic polyethylene at the bottom, the middle fluff part that’s made from wood pulp that sometimes also contains a super absorbent polymer (SAP) to absorb more liquid, and then a woven top layer.
We take the baby diapers and separate out the SAP and pulp in the diapers. The SAP is a material that absorbs liquid and turns it into a gel. Then we use that as our own middle layer in our pee pads.
To do this properly, we have two factories, one that separates the components of the diapers in giant centrifuges and one that makes the pee pads. Because the diaper manufacturing plants are in Brazil, we have our own factory in San Paulo. We have 130 employees, and we only manufacture pee pads.
MB: What do you say to people who are still concerned about the environmental implications of using pee pads?
KH: Mostly, I agree with them! I’m not trying to grow the pee pad market because disposable items aren’t ideal from an environmental perspective. But for people training puppies or who have older dogs, pee pads are an important tool. I also know people who like put a pee pad inside the house for their dog because they work and can’t come home and let the dog out.
When buying pee pads, I encourage people to think about using as few pads as possible for environmental reasons. Higher performing pee pads can last up to twenty-four hours at a time. And by using a high-performance pee pad, you reduce the amount of plastic being used and can reduce the amount of trash you throw away.
Krister Holm is the general manager of Petix, which makes WizSmart Dog Pads. Over the past 11 years, WizSmart has made over 350 million pee pads, while preventing an estimated 120 million diapers annually from entering landfills.