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Diapers: they’re not just for humans. In fact, dog diapers can be necessary (and a relief for pet parents) due to a variety of factors, typically related to health. When it comes to diapers for your dog, there is a world of options from disposable to washable and DIY/ All of them will help contain messes—though some are easier to use than others. Get a box of wipes ready and scroll down to find out why dogs need diapers, how to use dog diapers for best comfort, as well as some of the best doggie diaper options out there.
Reasons dogs need diapers
Dogs can require diapers for different reasons:
An older dog is more likely to lose control of his or her bowels, but incontinence can also be due to illness or even excitable urination (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, 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 who hasn’t yet been spayed. Dogs in heat have their periods, and that means blood, 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 that scenario—your dog should still learn to do his 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.
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.
Diapers for girl dogs, diapers for boy dogs
Your dog’s gender may influence the type of diaper you buy.
Female dog diapers fit like underwear that includes a tail hole. Diapers for incontinent male dogs, known as male wraps or belly bands, wrap around the belly and fasten at the back. These dog diapers function like a leakproof tube top that covers the doggie’s male parts.
Most dogs will not poop while wearing a diaper unless they’re experiencing a medical condition to 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!
HappyPaw belly bands are well-loved. Image via Amazon.
Types of dog diapers
What kind of dog diaper should you get? There are a lot of options, from washable to disposable and 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.
- Disposable dog diapers
- Reusable dog diapers / 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
A note about going DIY: if you adapt a human diaper for a dog by cutting a “tail hole” into the material, make sure you try a couple sizes to find the right fit. Some big dogs may need adult human diapers. See the video below for tips on making a dog diaper at home.
6 top-rated dog diapers and belly bands
In addition to your local pet store, doggie diapers are commonly sold on Amazon, Chewy, and even on Etsy. In fact, Etsy has an entire universe of dog diapers in hip prints. Here are five of our favorites across a variety of diaper and wrap types.
This widely available brand of disposable female diapers also offers a male version and comes in sizes from extra small to X-large. 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. The large size is on sale for just $11.99 at the moment.
This washable option boasts a secure Velcro fastener and a range of colors for, you know, style.
Female dog diapers aren’t usually rated as highly as this brand, which gets top marks for fit and effectiveness.
Not only are they highly rated for absorption ability, but these reusable diapers also come in a fun range of bright colors.
This clever product is actually designed for use with any disposable dog diaper or pad. It fits snugly to combat anxiety but boasts a breathable design for comfort. Pet parents rave about it. At around $25, it’s also pretty affordable as compared to other full-body dog wraps or covers.
Choosing the right fit
When you’re selecting a diaper for male and female dogs, size is the first and most important consideration. For best comfort, it’s important the diaper fit securely but not too tightly. Male dog wraps along with 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.
Disposable diapers vs. washable diapers
Pet parents 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 in dirty diaper (much like humans), so the incentive to change a washable diaper more frequently is often better for the dog. Reusable dog diapers are also ideal if you’re going to be using them on an ongoing basis, such as for an older dog with urinary incontinence, and don’t want to have to buy disposable diapers all the time.
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.
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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