Do you have a dog who leaks urine while she’s sleeping? Do you have a male dog who lifts his leg to urine mark indoors? Has your un-spayed female dog come into heat? If you answered yes to any of these questions, a dog diaper could be a helpful management tool. Even without these specific needs, you may find dog diapers are especially useful when you’re traveling—with all those new scents to excite your dog—to prevent accidents in a hotel room or an AirBnB (we don’t want to lose our ability to find dog-friendly accommodations by letting your dog pee on the furniture!).
First, though, let’s be clear: Diapers for dogs are not a suitable replacement for house training. It is best for your dog not to be in diapers all the time, so teaching your new canine family member to toilet outside, on a pee pad, or in a doggie litter box is one of the first priorities after adopting a dog. However, as discussed above, there can be some special situations or medical conditions that make a diaper useful.
Dog diapers come in disposable and washable forms, and the styles vary depending on the sex of the dog and particular medical condition. Female dogs require a diaper that looks like a panty, and there is usually a hole that the tail can go through so that it stays out of the mess.
Male dogs, who have different anatomy, can use a belly band, which is wrapped around the abdomen and secured over the lower back. The washable panty or belly band can be lined with a human incontinence or menstrual pad and can be found in a variety of plain or fun styles to suit your individual dog’s personality.
The best way to make a dog diaper stay on is to get the right fit. You may have to try several better-quality brands to find the one that best fits your dog, but it’s worth the trial. We recommend you target quality dog diapers, like the one from PeeKeeper that was a 2019 Whole Dog Journal Best Gear of the Year finalist. You can also purchase things like dog suspenders to help hold belly bands in place and choose panty diapers with tail holes whenever possible for added stability and comfort.
A word of caution regarding diapers: Make sure you check the inside of the diaper frequently to be certain that the dog’s skin is not in contact with poop or pee for a prolonged time. Dogs, like babies, can get diaper rash, and if this occurs, it will often require veterinary medical attention. Also, remember to remove the diaper prior to letting your dog out into the yard to toilet! Failure to do so will provide a test of the fluid-holding capacity of the diaper you chose to use, which is not really something you want to experience.