Things to Consider When Buying Dog Diapers
Dog Diapers at a Glance
Topics that will be covered:
- The three main reasons why pet owners need to buy doggy diapers.
- Whether to choose doggy or human diapers and how to adapt human diapers for your dog.
- How to choose the right type for your dog.
- How to choose the right size diaper for the perfect fit.
- Whether to choose a washable (cloth) type or a disposable type.
- How to ensure your pet's comfort.
- How to choose diapers for puppies, females in heat, and incontinent elderly dogs.
Three Main Reasons for Buying Dog Diapers
If you are considering buying dog diapers, this is probably going to be for one of three main reasons.
- Firstly, you could be considering short term use for a younger dog during house training or for a dog recuperating from an operation or illness who cannot go outside to urinate. Other short-term use situations might include vacations (perhaps including a hotel stay).
- Secondly, you could be considering using one for an older dog who is becoming incontinent or for a younger dog that suffers from urinary incontinence when excited or who scent marks inside the house.
- Thirdly, you could be considering using dog diapers for a female dog during her "heat" to protect your furnishings and carpets from staining with blood.
For all three of these scenarios, there are important things to consider, not only to ensure that the diapers you choose are correctly fitting and do not cause your dog distress, but also whether or not there could be another solution to the problem.
Doggy Diapers or Human Diapers?
If you choose human diapers for your dog, you can make considerable savings over the cost of disposable doggy diapers. However, you will probably find that in order to make them comfortable for your dog, you will need to cut a hole for the tail. Owners have also reported that human diapers fit their dog much better if they are put on backwards - in other words with the adhesive strip fastenings designed for the front of baby's tummy being fastened at the dog's back.
How to make a Dog Diaper from a Human One
How to Fit a Human Diaper on a Dog
To fit a human diaper, choose a brand that doesn't pinch your dog's tummy, such as Huggies Snuggies which have a really 'elastic' waist band.
- Put the back of the diaper with the tabs under your dog's tummy. Then pass the front of the diaper between your dog's back legs and up over his back, passing the tail through the hole made for the purpose.
- Then bring up the tabs from underneath and fasten over the dog's back, securing in place with masking tape.
- Make sure you can get a couple of fingers comfortably under the waistband around your dog's tummy - you want it to stay in place but not make your pet uncomfortable.
It is easier to find the right size if you have a small dog. For large and giant breeds, look for adult incontinence diapers which are of the same type as baby diapers, not the ones with a disposable pad that fits inside.
Choosing the Right Type of Doggie Diaper
There are different types of doggie diaper so you need to be sure which sort you want.
For male dogs there are belly band diapers which are basically a band that wraps round the middle of your dog to catch urine. This type is also useful if you have a male dog who scent marks his territory inside your home.
Full diapers are like baby diapers which go right over the bottom of your dog and fasten at the sides - except that they come with a hole for the tail.
The third kind are the harness type which fasten by means of suspenders or attachments to a harness which will keep them snugly in place.
There is a Huge Doggy Diaper Range at Amazon
These Simple Solutions dog diapers are the type that we used for our elderly terrier, Murdoch, who had a little trouble at the end of his life in not getting to the back door quickly enough. We also used them for our female Jack Russell, Ellie - for whom they worked really well during her first season. These are available on Amazon in the UK as well - although this link goes to the US site.
I liked the fact that there is a range of sizes from extra small to extra large and, for Murdoch in particular, the fact that the comfort leg fit and breathable outer layer ensured he remained comfortable, with no leaks. For Ellie, the best feature was the hole for her tail as she never stops wagging it! There are liners available for these diapers but I can't comment on how good they are as we did not use them for either dog.
Choosing a Correctly Fitting Doggie Diaper
As with human diapers, doggie ones come in different sizes so firstly, you need to weigh your dog. Next take the waist measurement whilst the dog is standing.
For male dogs, you need to be sure to measure far enough forward to so that the front of the diaper will cover the urethra, otherwise when he pees the diaper will be useless.
For full size disposable diapers, you might find this size guide helpful which I have collated from information on Wee-Wee® brand Disposable Diapers - please bear in mind though that each brand differs slightly and you may have to experiment to find the perfect fit, especially for deep chested, small waisted dogs as some brands will fit better than others.
Size Guide For Diapering Your Dog
Toy breeds and young puppies
Maltese, Jack Russell, Pekingese
Beagle, Cocker Spaniel, Miniature Poodle, Pug, Sheltie
Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Collie, Dalmation, Springer Spaniel
Boxer, Doberman, German Shepherd, Retriever, Rottweiller
When Accidents Happen ...
With the best will in the world, there are always going to be little accidents even with well-fitting diapers. If your pet has had an accident on your carpet, you will want to read my article How to Remove the Odor of Dog Urine from Carpets in which I explain simple ways to get your carpet looking clean and smelling fresh - and a tip for detecting urine that has dried into the carpet.
Disposable or Washable Dog Diapers?
For occasional or very short term use disposable diapers are convenient and relatively inexpensive. Because you just dispose of them after use, they are more pleasant to use, particularly for bitches in heat. You can just buy a pack as and when required.
If your requirement for a doggie diaper for your pet is more than occasional, you might want to consider cloth, washable diapers.
These are not only washable themselves, but have liners which can be re-usable cloth ones which you can launder or, disposable pads which work out less expensive than full doggie diapers in the long term.
These come in many styles, designs and colors and are easy to fasten with velcro closures or suspenders to keep them firmly in place.
They also tend to be more adjustable for the long term comfort of your pet.
You will probably need at least two sets for your pet to start with so that you have a spare set whilst one is being laundered.
For our very elderly terrier, Bandit, we ended up using cloth diapers with liners as we found this a better, long-term solution. We chose were of the belly band type and found that the which come in a pack of three, washed well, were adjustable to fit and were an economical solution when used with disposable liners. Weegreeco Dog Diapers
Avoid Diaper Rash and Discomfort
Just like human babies, your dog's skin can become red, chafed and sore from contact with the diaper and get diaper rash from urine-soaked diapers.
Make sure that the lining of whichever type you use is soft and absorbent. Make sure that the elasticated areas are comfortable, not too tight that they will chafe the skin.
Change the diaper every time the dog pees. Do not leave him wet and in discomfort.
Doggy diapers are mainly designed for the collection of urine. If your dog is incontinent of feces, ask your vet for advice as cleanup can be messy, smelly and unpleasant. Your dog's skin can also become broken and sore if left in contact with feces.
Many owners find that clipping the hair round the anus makes cleanup easier and that applying napkin ointment to clean skin helps to keep feces off the skin too.
Unscented baby wipes are also good for cleanup and soiled diapers can be disposed of into baby nappy sacks which are inexpensive and effective at masking smells.
Should I be Using Puppy Diapers?
Puppy diapers can be helpful when house training your puppy and in the early days when you need to take him somewhere and don't want an accident. However they are not a substitute for teaching your pet when and where it is appropriate to pee and poo and although a few accidents at the beginning might be a problem, in the long term, it is far better to persevere as your pup will soon get the idea, saving you a lot of hassle and money spent on diapers!
Should I be Using Female Dog Diapers?
For an un-spayed female, menstrual blood is a fact of life and if she lives indoors with you, allowing her to wear a diaper that will collect her menses will avoid the potential for her being scolded for something that isn't her fault - like getting blood on the carpet or the furniture.
Diapers for dogs in heat can also prevent some potential problems when you are walking her with unwanted attention from male dogs.
However, you need to be vigilant and ensure that she is kept clean and comfortable and that her skin does not become sore and a soft, washable diaper like the one demonstrated (right) might be your best option.
Diapering a Female Dog in Heat
The video above demonstrates the harness and suspender type of diaper which you might find most convenient for a female in heat as the diapers are washable and quick and easy to remove and replace once the harness has been put on.
Should I be Using Diapers for an Incontinent Dog?
You should always establish the cause of the incontinence before putting any dog in diapers. Your vet will be able to advise you. Potentially, you could be attributing the cause to loss of bladder control when in fact, your dog has a urinary infection that should not be left untreated.
However, for older dogs that are becoming incontinent of urine, diapers can make all the difference and allow your dog to go on living in your home, laying in all his favorite places and enjoying his old age, rather than being banished or a becoming a source of family upset due to those little accidents that would otherwise happen with increasing frequency.