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Winter is here again! It’s the time of year when pet owners and their dogs dread going outside in the frigid air for a potty break. To manage the cold temperatures, we’ve pulled together the best dog indoor bathroom solutions. You’ll be amazed at the number of products available and the creative ways pet owners have convinced their dogs it’s okay to pee indoors.
If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a better way than bundling up in a heavy jacket, wool cap, gloves and boots every time nature calls to your pooch, this story will be a big help.
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The importance of keeping your dog warm
Freezing weather is tough for dogs. Their bodies feel the drop in temperatures as much as we do. Even dogs with thick coats are susceptible to hypothermia. The cold slows their metabolism and heart rate. It causes cracked and bleeding paws and can affect their respiratory system and joints.
In fact, the ASPCA recommends you keep a special eye on your pup during the winter. They advise pet owners to keep your home humidified and to towel-dry your dog’s body, legs and paws after they come in from outdoors.
In addition, the group suggests that when your dog must go outside, be sure to massage a small amount of petroleum jelly (make sure they don’t eat it) or paw balm into their pads, or cover their paws with protective dog boots.
Be sure to protect against frostbite
Dogs are susceptible to frostbite. It’s most often seen in the tips of their ears, tail and toes. It’s especially important to keep a watchful eye in paralyzed dogs. They can’t feel the icy temperatures on their legs and feet. Disabled dogs won’t feel the painful early warning signs of frostbite and they won’t be able to lift a paw out of the snow to get some warmth.
Watch to see if their skin turns pale or has a bluish color and it’s very cold to the touch. These are signs that the flow of blood is being affected.
If your dog has the warning signs of frostbite. Here are steps to take:
Wrap your dog in a warm towel.
Don’t rub the injured area.
Warm the body with water that’s no more than 100 degrees (32 C) max. Water higher than 108 degrees can cause damage.
Contact your veterinarian for further instructions.
Winter weather makes for rough doggy-bathroom trips
The cold weather can cause a multitude of bathroom challenges. Dogs with hind end weakness are more likely to slip and fall while walking to their favorite spot when there’s ice or snow. And the challenge is even greater for dogs in wheelchairs or paralyzed dogs who need to be carried or walked with help from a harness.
I have good friends who live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where even Lake Superior freezes over. Their tip for taking their two Shih tzu’s for a bathroom break was, “do it as fast as you can or everyone will freeze.”
It’s not an easy way to live.
Nick and his little dog, Berta, live in a cold climate too. He found out that some dogs won’t “go” when it’s freezing.
Rainy days used to be Nick’s favorite kind of day, but now that Berta’s in a dog wheelchair they’re frustrating. Berta becomes agitated in the rain and refuses to go for a walk in her cart. That means she doesn’t pee or poop the way she should.
On one snowy day, Berta didn’t seem to be able pee at all. As the temperature dipped, even her healthy legs were unable to move. It caused her to tremble and cry. Thankfully after a few attempts, Nick was able to express her bladder manually. It calmed both of them so they could settle in for the night.
These two examples reflect why I want to share the top dog indoor potty options to get through the winter months.
Four categories of dog indoor bathroom solutions
All of the answers we found to keep your pup dry indoors fell into four main categories:
Teach your dog new tricks
Interior grass and artificial turf
Coverings that protect
Hi-tech bathroom options
Here are samples from each of the categories
Teach your dog that it’s okay to pee inside
If your dog responds to the idea, set up space for them in an extra shower or bathtub. Then walk them to the area when it’s time to eliminate. It might take a few attempts, but most dogs understand what you want them to do in a short amount of time. Be sure to sweeten the idea with plenty of treats as a reward.
This method works especially well for senior dogs and incontinent pups. You can also help your dog eliminate over the toilet, if they’re small enough to hold.
Once they’re done, wash and sanitize the area thoroughly.
Using a shower, tub or toilet might sound off-putting, but it’s a common technique used for incontinent dogs.
Click to read: How do I take care of my paralyzed dog while I’m at work?
Build an indoor portable pool
If you’re not on board with sharing your bathroom, you can do what this pet mom of three German Shepherds did in her home. Paula set up three large plastic swimming pools in her basement.
“I couldn’t let anyone out the door because the snow was so high,” said Paula. “So I pulled 3 plastic 5′ poly pools from the garage. I brought them to the basement and lined them with huge plastic contractor bags, split and flattened. Then I filled the pools with sand and topped it with kitty litter. And I put a lined trash can near them for clean ups.
Now we have potty pools in the basement. I use a small rake to clean up messes and put them in the trash. And none of my dogs have to go outside in a storm or in the snow.”
Interior grass for an easy transition
If your pup is comfortable “doing their business” on the lawn outside, indoor real or artificial turf could be your best solution. The look and feel is similar to the natural way they pee and poop and once your dog adds their scent, the transition of eliminating inside goes smoothly.
Real interior grass and artificial turf are available for dogs of all sizes, and sometimes comes with additional features like a drawer for easy cleanup.
Mats, floor coverings and more
Stylish reusable indoor dog mats make it simple for your dog to use the facilities. Most come in a two-pack, so you’ll always have an extra mat ready to use. There are even extra-large options available for giant breeds. Dog mats are machine washable and have an anti-slip backing.
Vinyl floor cover
If your dog is too big for a grass pad and you want a product that’s easy to clean – premium, heavy vinyl floor runners are a great choice. They come in a large roll that can be cut to fit a whole room or a small area. Spread pee pads over the vinyl runners and you’ve created a protected, indoor bathroom.
Get a grid
Pet dad, Keith, shared that he uses a sturdy indoor grid to keep his paralyzed dog dry. Grids come in lots of sizes. Some have a tray that catches urine.
Future dog indoor bathroom solutions
DoggyBathroom is latest company to offer an indoor potty. Their dog litter box allows small pups to walk in, turn around and lift a leg or squat to eliminate without making a mess.
Stay warm everyone. Spring will be here eventually!