I thought only lazy dog owners used pee mats — I was so wrong

Oct 26, 2016 at 11:15 a.m. ET

I have a confession — I’ve been wrongly judging people for years. If you told me a few months ago that I would be the proud owner of a doggy pee mat, I would have rolled my eyes at you and walked away. I thought pee mats were for owners too lazy to take their dogs outside or for people who had to leave their dogs home for long periods of time or — worst of all in my (biased) opinion — for tiny, yappy dogs too spoiled to go outside or walk on their own legs.

I’m changing my tune now that I have a pee mat in the corner.

In case you have no idea what I am talking about, I’ll fill you in. Pee mats are basically indoor potty places for your dog to pee or poop. Manufacturers have all sorts of names for them, but everyone I know calls it a pee mat. Some people use them to housebreak their dogs. Others, like me, use them as an indoor alternative to accidents.

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I put my “pet potty” judgments on hold when my senior dog started having accidents. On top of getting up there in years, she also has Cushing’s disease, which causes her to urinate more frequently (approximately every hour). She went from being a perfectly housebroken dog to having accidents on a daily basis. To save our floors, we got a pee mat.

The plan was to phase the pee mat out if we could get her medication up to a point where she stopped having accidents. By the time that happened, however, we were hooked.

To top off old age and Cushing's, she also has terrible hip dysplasia and our apartment is on the second floor. Asking her to go up and down the stairs in her condition eight times a day (or more) just didn’t seem fair, even though I work from home and would be happy to accommodate her. The pee mat makes her life much more comfortable, from offering her instant relief from bladder pressure to sparing her hips a flight of stairs.

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Here’s the thing — pee mats are not actually that convenient. Outside, urine is soaked up by the grass, and all owners have to do is pick up their dog's poop. With a pee mat, you need to dump it and clean it at least once a day unless you like the smell of dog pee. Now that I know this, I’ve realized that personal convenience is not the reason people put pee mats in their homes. Their pet's comfort is.

Our pee mat is my senior dog’s best friend. It allows her to relieve herself whenever she needs to and saves her the pain of going upstairs and downstairs, which means she gets to take fewer pain pills. I am not being dramatic when I say it has radically improved her quality of life. Hands down, the pee mat was the best money I’ve spent on my dog — ever.

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