Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Lake Gaston, N.C.
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Sounds like you are using too much litter. It only needs to be a couple of inches thick. Sterilite boxes from Lowes, Home Depot, or Walmart work fine. The pellets are usually made not far from where they are sold. Brand gives little to go on. Most sawmills are producing heater wood pellets now since they can get a couple of hundred dollars a ton for what otherwise is worth a few bucks at most. The sawdust is dried by steaming out the moisture just before it's extruded. That process sterilizes it, but I wouldn't want one consuming much of it. We don't like pellets that have oak in them, for the smell, tanins, and also it crumbles up too easily. We like pellets best made from smooth hardwoods like maple, aspen, poplar, and such. They have almost no smell. Sometimes if it's a brand we haven't seen before, we will spend the 5 or 6 bucks a bag to buy one and open it. If it's not something we like, we will use pine pellets sold in feed stores, and Tractor Supply, to be used in horse stalls. I think a lot of the pellets sold in the Pacific Northwest are made from conifers that are different from those here on the east coast. Just buy one bag at the time and see if it doesn't have much of a smell.
I really don't know how to train one to it that wasn't raised on it from the start. We start ours at three weeks, and they grow up never expecting anything different of it than something to potty on. They use it for a couple of weeks before they even have teeth, so they never think of it as something to eat.
The urine will turn any of the pellets that absorb it back into sawdust. It will be obvious what needs to be scooped out. Pam uses a little dust pan from Dollar General (they come with a little cleaning brush that snaps in-to make it easier for you to find in the store-haven't found anything that works as well anywhere else) to scoop the sawdust out. A cat litter scoop with the slots doesn't work, because some of the sawdust will fall through the openings.
We just put the sawdust that we take out in an empty pellet bag, and it gets dumped on our compost pile that is mostly composed of tons of horse manure. Some of our puppy owners just save plastic grocery bags to put the sawdust in, tie the bag shut, and it goes in their trash. The process of turning the pellets into sawdust dries it out enough that it doesn't develop ammonia to smell bad by the time the trash is taken away.
You have to put your face fairly close to it to see when it all needs tossing out, it's usually well over a week. I usually toss it even though there is no smell when it starts to get crumbled up to the point that some of the pieces are smaller and get tracked more easily.
It would have to be neglected for a LONG time before it smells anything like as bad as any of the other systems, including the Purina litter.
Last edited by Tom King; 01-28-2011 at 02:56 PM.