Many of us see our dogs as sort of like our furry children. Like babies, canines may likewise need to put on a pair of dog diapers for various reasons.
Maybe you’ve never dealt with diapers before or are looking for some answers on the topic. The Furry Companion is here to provide you with a beginner’s guide to diapers for your canine friends.
When To Use Dog Diapers
There are several reasons dog owners might want to or have to use diapers for their fur babies:
Some dogs may experience an involuntary leaking of urine. This condition is called incontinence and may be due to a urinary tract infection, hormonal imbalance, or weakened sphincter muscles. Diabetes, viral infections, or bladder problems may also cause this. While your dog will be unable to control this problem, dog diapers can help catch the urine.
“Most cases of urinary incontinence (especially non-neurogenic causes) are associated with a small to normal-sized bladder at presentation,” says Dennis J. Chew, DVM, DACVIM.
When dealing with incontinence, it’s best to consult with your vet before putting your pup in diapers. They may be able to treat the condition, meaning you can avoid purchasing diapers altogether.
Recovery From Surgery Or Illness
When canines are recovering from an operation, they may not be able to stand or walk going out to pee. Illness may also prevent them from quickly going outside to do their business as usual. You can thus use dog diapers temporarily to avoid having to bring them out.
Aside from incontinence that may begin due to old age, our furry friends can also forget their potty training. Similar to how humans can develop Alzheimer’s disease, they can develop canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). With CCD, dogs can exhibit changes in their behavior, including peeing inside the house.
Female Dogs In Heat
During a female dog’s heat cycle, the dog releases a bloody discharge somewhat similar to menstruation in humans. During this time, you’ll notice her licking and grooming more than usual. Dog diapers can prevent any bloody messes. However, these diapers will not be able to function as contraception. Male dogs may be able to find their way around the covering.
According to Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM, and co-author, “The most obvious recognizable sign of heat in dogs is vaginal bleeding. This may not become apparent until a few days after the female has come into estrus. Some female dogs experience heavy vaginal bleeding during estrus, while other dogs have minimal bleeding.”
Ideally, we all want our dogs to be potty-trained. It keeps our furniture and home clean and free of urine. However, it can take a while to train our pups. Until then, you can use dog diapers to avoid a mess inside the house.
Tiffany Tupler, DVM shares some tips on how to effectively potty train your dog, “Always watch for signs that your dog needs to go out, and take them right away. Signs include barking at or scratching at the door, sniffing the ground and circling, and acting restless.”
However, it’s best not to let it be a replacement for potty training. Experts recommend using it only towards the end when you’re almost sure that your dog won’t make any accidents.
Another reason you might need to get dog diapers for your canine is that some places require such. Some malls and amusement parks, for instance, require owners to have their pets wear diapers to avoid accidents and messes. These guidelines may be due to some pet owners not cleaning up after their furry companions.
Types Of Dog Diapers
Once you start looking for dog diapers, you’ll see an array of available choices. It can be overwhelming, but once you have enough information, you can decide which to try out.
Washable vs. Disposable
Similar to those for babies, there are cloth and single-use options for dogs. Disposable ones may be more widely available as most pet supply stores often have them. They’re also hassle-free since you can toss them out and change them when necessary.
However, washable ones may be more economical in the long run, not to mention they’re more environmentally-friendly and sustainable. If you find that your dog will need diapers for a long time or permanently, cloth diapers may be a better option.
Belly Band Diapers
A belly band is an option you have for male dogs. From the name itself, these diapers look like a band that wraps around your canine friend’s belly. They look more like a thick belt than shorts or underwear. Because of their shape, these diapers are only useful for male dogs as they cannot entirely cover the anatomy of a female.
Belly bands can help with incontinence, accidents, and even when your furry companion marks their territory. However, they won’t work for catching poop. These diapers can come in disposable or cloth form. Some may be washable but have a space for a liner that you can switch out when it’s wet.
Full dog diapers are similar to those people use, except they have a hole for your dog’s tail. They may also be slightly different in shape as well as size. Unlike belly bands, you can use this option for both male and female dogs.
For male dogs, you may want to look for diapers longer in length and a broad base. This measurement is to ensure that the diapers fully cover your dog’s urethra. Female dogs will not need as much in length due to differences in anatomy. Look for diapers for females to avoid having them wear something too bulky or unnecessary long. The additional width may be uncomfortable for them.
Suspender Or Harness Diapers
Some full diapers may come with suspenders or a harness to keep them on your dog better. You’ll see that some pets may be able to shimmy out of their diapers, and having this additional support can help them stay on. The bands may wrap around your dog, similar to a harness you use when walking them.
The suspenders may be reusable, wherein you can attach them to disposable or cloth dog diapers more than once.
Some dog owners choose to purchase human diapers and cut a hole in it to make room for the tail. While this is an option for some, we don’t recommend it unless it’s an emergency or you’re in a pinch. Baby diapers or even those for adults may not comfortably fit your canine friend. Likewise, many of those who have tried it reported that the straps tend to come loose as their dog moves.
How To Find The Right Size
Now that you know what options there are, it’s time to learn about finding the right size.
Similar to clothes and human diapers, brands will have different sizing guides. Some may base their sizes on waist measurement or weight. It’s best to know both so that when you look for dog diapers, you have all the information you need.
To get the former, take a flexible tape measure and wrap it around your dog’s waist. This area is about two inches from the hind legs. Alternatively, you can also use a string and measure that using a regular ruler.
Make sure that you check the labels or company website to see their sizing chart. These tables will guide you in choosing the right size. We recommend that if you’re trying diapers or out for the first time, purchase only one pack. This way, you can make adjustments during your next purchase if you find that the size is wrong.
If you think that your dog is in between sizes, it’s best to opt for the larger size. It will be easier to adjust or secure a bigger diaper than to stretch out a smaller one. Likewise, it may be better to get bigger diapers for male dogs.
Additional Tips When Using Dog Diapers
Here are some other tips for owners dealing with diapers for the first time:
- Take into consideration the breed and anatomy of the dog. Some canines may not need the tail hole if their tail is small enough. Having a gap in the back when they don’t need it may lead to leakages in the diaper. You can patch the hole with tape or find a brand that offers options without a gap.
Likewise, if your dog has lost a leg, the urine may leak through the leg hole. You can also cover this with tape. Additionally, some brands that make washable ones can customize your dog’s diapers.
- If, for whatever reason, you have to use a human diaper, put it on backward. Place the backside of the diaper on the underbelly of your dog. This placement will provide more coverage, and it’ll be less likely for the straps to come undone accidentally.
- Make sure you change dog diapers once every three to four hours. Or, if possible, change them as soon as your dog soils them. By doing so, you ensure that you keep your dog comfortable and clean. Nobody wants to sit in their filth all day. Irritation may occur, or a rash may develop if you leave them on for too long.
Dog diapers are useful for numerous reasons. They deal with incontinence, provide relief for those recovering from illness, and avoid messes by those who have forgotten training. They may also be necessary when in public places, as well as for female dogs in heat.
When buying diapers, you’ll find that you have several choices. You’ll see washable and disposable options, belly bands for boys, or full diapers. Some may come with a harness or suspenders to help keep them on your dog.
When choosing a size, make sure to measure your dog’s waist as well as take note of their weight and breed. Check the packaging or brand’s website for their sizing chart, as each will have their unique way of sizing.
Trying out dog diapers for the first time may be a confusing or overwhelming experience. However, equipping yourself with the knowledge you learned from this article will prepare you and help you start. Always make sure to keep your dog’s comfort in mind. By staying in tune with your furry companion, you’ll be sure to find the best fit for you and your dog.
Believing the Ancient Egyptians were right, Agatha plays human to a loving but feisty tortie. Outside of HR work, she enjoys dancing, taking photos, binging on Netflix, and chasing after stray cats.