The Best Dog Diapers and How to Use Them, According to a Vet
Cleaning up your dog's messes isn't fun. But pet parents know that potty accidents happen from time to time, and managing your female dog's heat cycles can be challenging. Dog diapers can be a valuable solution.
If you've never diapered your dog, it's important to understand what kind of dog diapers will work best for your pet, how they should fit, and how to use them. Stephanie Sheen, DVM, a veterinarian with pet health company Fuzzy, urges pet parents to talk to their vet before using dog diapers. In some instances, medication or other treatments may be needed.
Why Do Dogs Need Diapers?
Urinary or fecal incontinence is the most common reason dogs might need diapers, Sheen says. Even if they're house trained, some dogs can lose control and accidentally pee or poop if they have another issue going on, like a urinary tract infection, bladder condition, diabetes, spinal injury, or other neurological problem.
Older dogs and pets with disabilities are more at risk for incontinence. Senior dogs sometimes lose control over some of their bodily functions, and incontinence can be a symptom of canine cognitive dysfunction, which resembles dementia in dogs. Female dogs are more prone to leaking urine as they get older, Sheen says.
Sheen doesn't recommend using dog diapers for potty training puppies. "They can cause skin infections and discomfort if not managed appropriately and could become an ingestion hazard," she says. "They will also slow the process of appropriate potty training."
RELATED: How to Teach a Dog to Potty Outside
What Kind of Dog Diapers Does My Pet Need?
Choosing the best dog diaper for your pet depends on a few factors, including whether your dog is male or female and why they need a diaper.
"Female dog diapers cover the back end entirely, both the anus and the vulva, similar to what you might think of a traditional diaper, albeit with a hole for the tail," Sheen says.
Male dogs with fecal incontinence need this kind of diaper, too, she says. But, if they have urinary incontinence, your best bet is a belly band, which wraps around the dog's stomach and covers the foreskin.
Dog diapers also come in disposable and reusable varieties. Disposable diapers offer convenience since you can just toss them in the trash, but they're less eco-friendly, Sheen says. Reusable diapers might save you money in the long run, if your dog needs diapers for the long term.
Most dogs don't like wearing diapers, so keeping it on your pet can be a challenge. One solution is suspenders that attach to the diaper and wrap around your pet's chest. "There are also fashionable covers available to go over the diapers that can make them less unsightly and even a little fun," Sheen says.
How to Use Dog Diapers
- Make sure it fits well. Use a soft measuring tape or piece of string to measure your dog according to a product's instructions.
- Change the diaper as soon as possible once it's soiled. Not doing so could lead to an infection or diaper rash, causing itching, burning, or inflammation.
- Clean your pet before putting on a new diaper. Use baby wipes or rinse them off in the tub. Sheen says clipping the fur where the diaper sits can help prevent irritation.
- Let your pet have air time in between diapers. Your dog's skin needs time to breathe, so let them go diaper-free for part of the day to avoid moisture getting trapped against the skin.
- Avoid overnight diaper-wearing, if possible. This ensures your pup isn't sitting in a soiled diaper for long periods.
8 Best Dog Diapers to Prevent the Mess
Best Overall: Hartz Disposable Male & Female Dog Diapers
These diapers are suited for all dogs, whether they're recovering from surgery, experiencing incontinence, or going through heat cycles. They feature quick-drying elements that turn urine into gel, keeping your pet dry for hours. The diapers are also stretchy, breathable, and adjustable to fit dogs of all sizes and allow them to move around freely.
Shop Now: Hartz Disposable Male & Female Dog Diapers, $17; chewy.com
Best Disposable Male Dog Diapers: All-Absorb Disposable Male Dog Wraps
These disposable diapers wrap around your male pup's private parts and over his back, allowing your dog to move around easily. They're extra absorbent, contain leak-proof barriers, and feature a "wetness indicator" that changes color when it's time to change the diaper. They come in sizes to fit pets with waists from 6–32 inches.
Shop Now: All-Absorb Disposable Male Dog Wraps, $18; chewy.com
Best Disposable Female Dog Diapers: OUT! Disposable Female Dog Diapers
This diaper for dogs in heat, those who have urinary incontinence, or pee when they're excited offers leak protection. They're made from a stretchable fabric and feature adjustable, fur-safe fasteners and a flexible tail hole. So, the diaper stays in place when your pet runs, jumps, and wags her tail.
Shop Now: OUT! Disposable Female Dog Diapers, $20; walmart.com
Best Reusable Female Dog Diapers: CuteBone Dog Diapers Female Reusable 3 Pack
These machine-washable diapers are absorbent, waterproof, and designed for female dogs. Plus, they're a money-saving, eco-friendly option if your pet needs diapers long term. They feature a sewn-in diaper pad and adjustable velcro fasteners that won't stick to fur. They come in sizes from XS to L and have fun prints, including unicorns, adorable little duckies, and floral patterns.
Shop Now: CuteBone Dog Diapers Female Reusable 3 Pack, $23; amazon.com
Best Reusable Male Dog Diapers: Wegreeco Washable Male Dog Diapers
These belly wrap washable diapers are designed for male dogs. They're made from soft breathable fabric and contain an absorbent pad that's sewn in to prevent leaks. The three-pack comes in lots of different colors and prints and sizes XXS to XXL. After a couple of months of washing and reusing, these diapers are big money savers and eco-friendly to boot.
Shop Now: Wegreeco Washable Male Dog Diapers, $13; amazon.com
Best Diapers for Large Dogs: Four Paws Wee-Wee Disposable Dog Diapers
These large/extra-large diapers for male and female dogs fit waist sizes over 19 inches. They feature 12 hours of wetness protection, fasteners that are adjustable and leak-proof, and a stretchy tail hole that keeps the diaper in place. The diapers are decorated in a paw print design that fades when it's time to change your pet.
Shop Now: Four Paws Wee-Wee Disposable Dog Diapers, $13; target.com
Best Diapers for Small Dogs: Martha Stewart Female Dog Disposable Diapers
These diapers come in a variety of sizes but the extra-small fits waist sizes from 12–15 inches, so they're great for small dogs. They feature an adjustable waistband and a comfortable design to prevent leaks no matter how active your pet is. There's also a wetness indicator signaling when it's time to change the diaper.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Female Dog Disposable Diapers, $8; chewy.com
Best Dog Diaper Suspenders: Paw Inspired Dog Diaper Suspender
For dogs who struggle to keep their diapers or wraps on, these suspenders help prevent leaks and messes. They connect to disposable or washable diapers and wrap around your pet's chest, holding the diaper in place as your pet jumps and plays. The suspenders come in two sizes and feature hook-and-loop attachments and adjustable straps.
Shop Now: Paw Inspired Dog Diaper Suspenders, $20; chewy.com