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Diapers: they’re not just for humans. In fact, dog diapers can be necessary (and a relief for pet parents) to help manage incontinence, a dog going into heat, or behavior issues. Fortunately, there is a world of disposable, reusable, and DIY dog diaper options out there. All of them will help contain messes—though some are easier to use than others.
Keep reading to find out why dogs might need diapers, how to use them comfortably, and our picks for some of the best doggy diaper options out there.
Reasons for Dog Diapers
An older dog is more likely to lose control of his or her bowels, but incontinence can also be due to illness or even excitability (it happens!) Any dog can have an occasional accident, in which case, a diaper is likely unnecessary. However, if your dog’s incontinence is out of the ordinary and persistent, a visit to the vet is necessary to check for infection or conditions like diabetes. If it turns out your dog does have an ongoing potty issue that he or she can’t control, whether it’s temporary or longer-term, then dog diapers might be a good solution.
Urinary tract infections in dogs are a common reason for temporary incontinence. Dog diapers may also be used on a pet with disabilities or temporarily after a veterinary surgery.
Going into Heat
While spaying and neutering are always recommended by veterinary professionals, some pet parents choose to keep their dogs intact or may adopt a dog that hasn’t yet been fixed. Dogs in heat have periods, which means female dog diapers to the rescue!
Diapers can protect your home’s furnishings during house training, but it’s important not to use diapers as a crutch in this scenario—your dog should still learn to do their business outside via good old-fashioned potty training methods. Trainer Jess Rollins explains that using diapers can be part of a complete house training program but should really be a last resort and only used towards the end of house training, when the dog is nearly 100% trained.
Male dogs, in particular, can demonstrate marking behavior, when they pee on, well, everything. Marking behavior can be frustrating indoors when it involves your shoes instead of a tree or a fire hydrant. This is why many pet parents turn to belly bands, which is typically what a male dog diaper is called.
Dog Diapers for Male and Female Dogs
Your dog’s sex may influence the type of diaper you buy.
Female dog diapers fit like underwear that includes a tail hole. Diapers for male dogs are known as male wraps or belly bands. These wrap around the belly and fasten at the back and function like a leakproof tube top that covers the dog’s male parts.
Most dogs will not poop while wearing a diaper unless they’re experiencing a medical condition that leads to fecal incontinence. If that is the case, you’ll want to go with a style that offers full coverage for your male dog. You’ll also want to use a disposable version!
Types of Dog Diapers
What kind of dog diaper should you get? There are a lot of options, from disposable to DIY. Any dog diaper should have a waterproof outer layer and absorbent liner. Some brands have a “wetness indicator” to help you know when it needs to be changed.
These are the main types of dog diapers:
- Disposable dog diapers
- Reusable/washable dog diapers
- Suspender diapers: whether sold separately or included in the design, suspenders can help keep a dog’s diaper in place.
- DIY or homemade dog diapers
Disposable Diapers vs. Washable Diapers
Pet parents often like the simple solution disposable diaper brands offer. After all, they make cleanup very easy! They’re generally super absorbent and leakproof, thanks to synthetic materials that absorb better than cloth.
However, cloth diapers for dogs are very economical as well as environmentally friendly. Also, dogs really shouldn’t be hanging around long in a dirty diaper (much like humans), so changing a washable diaper more frequently is a good incentive. Reusable dog diapers are also ideal if you’re going to be using them long term, such as for an older dog with urinary incontinence, and don’t want to have to constantly buy disposables.
Choosing the Right Fit
When you’re selecting a diaper for male or female dogs, size is the first and most important consideration. For the best comfort, it’s important the diaper fit securely but not too tightly. Male dog wraps and female diapers typically range from extra small to extra large, though the exact size chart can vary according to the brand.
You’ll need to know your dog’s weight and waist size in order to get the diaper your dog needs.
How to Put a Diaper on Your Dog
As when changing a baby’s diaper, make sure you clean your dog’s behind thoroughly with a dog-friendly wipe first. Be sure your dog is calm, and go slowly, making sure you’re responding to your dog’s cues.
Just as with any kind of dog training, keep plenty of treats on hand to help make the experience a more pleasant one for your pet. Most male wraps and female dog diapers are secured with velcro or another hook-and-loop type of material, though some cloth versions have snaps.
Top-Rated Dog Diapers and Belly Bands
Here are our picks for some of the best dog diaper choices, including disposable, reusable, and do-it-yourself varieties.
Super-affordable and praised in customer reviews for their absorption powers, these male wraps come in two sizes. The adjustable fit is fur-friendly and baking soda helps reduce odor.Shop on Chewy
This widely available brand of disposable female diapers also offers a male version and comes in four sizes. It sports a wetness indicator, and larger sizes have a microfiber pad. Some users note it works better with a washable cover to keep it in place.Shop on Chewy
This washable male belly band option comes in a pack of three and boasts a secure Velcro fastener in a range of colors for, you know, style.Shop on Chewy
Female dog diapers aren’t usually rated as highly as this brand, which gets top marks for adjustable fit and effectiveness. The brand’s Dryspeed Technology turns liquid to gel, keeping your pup comfy. Available in four sizes,Shop on Chewy
These reusable diapers come in packs of three, in a range of colors or in all black. Made with a waterproof exterior, these diapers are well-reviewed for their leakproof qualities and absorbency.Shop on Chewy
Available in a whopping 14 sizes in six hues, this clever product is made for use with any disposable dog diaper or pad. It was designed by a veterinarian as an alternative to surgical recovery cones. It fits snugly to combat anxiety and boasts a breathable, comfortable fabric. It’s also pretty affordable as compared to other full-body dog wraps or covers.Find on Amazon
DIY Dog Diapers
If it’s just a temporary situation, you might also consider adapting infant diapers for your dog. See the video below for tips on making a dog diaper at home.
Note: If you adapt a human diaper for a dog by cutting a tail hole into the material, make sure you try a couple of diaper sizes to find the right fit. Some big dogs may need adult human diapers.
With some experimenting, you and your dog can both feel comfortable with a diaper arrangement. Just be sure to check with your vet if a potty problem persists.
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