For pet parents of incontinent dogs, it’s a challenge dealing with the stain and mess left behind. They’re frustrated because they don’t know what to do to help their dogs, but also by the constant peeing on the couch, in their bed, on floors and carpets.
Dog diapers are a great solution and perfect for both male and female dogs. I know a lot of people who are much happier since they started using them, and life is better and more relaxed in their households.
*There are affiliate links in this article, so if you buy something I may receive a commission. This has no effect on the price you pay.*
Reasons Why a Dog Pees a Lot
- Excitement urination
- Submissive urination
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney issues
- Urine marking (not the same as peeing)
Has Your Dog Seen the Vet?
You’ve just read the possible reasons for a dog peeing a lot, that’s why it’s so important for you to see your vet. While diapers may still be a good solution, without a proper diagnosis you’ll only be putting a band aid on the problem. Please make an appointment as soon as possible, because the longer it takes to diagnose the harder it may be to treat or manage.
To make the time with your vet more productive, write down the following and bring it with you:
- Is your dog actually peeing or just dribbling urine? (there is a difference!)
- When it happens – certain time of day, when he’s playing, after he drinks…
- Where it happens – in one particular spot, anywhere he happens to be
- How long it’s been going on
- Were there any changes at home around the time it started – new human or animal member in your household, moved, difference schedule…
- Any other behavior changes you noticed
Are Dog Diapers a Good Idea?
They are a great idea for a number of situations:
º Urinary incontinence
º Fecal incontinence
º Dementia – dogs with dementia often forget their house training
º Disabled/paralyzed dogs
º Dogs with diabetes, Cushing’s and/or kidney disease which causes increased drinking and urination
º Spinal issues/injuries
º Dogs recovering from injury or surgery – your dog may be confined to crate rest and only be allowed out for a quick pee and poop 5 minutes at a time. If your dog is like mine, he can pee more times than I can count on a walk, so those 5 minutes may not be enough. That’s when a diaper can help
º Dogs with weak bladders
º Dogs on medication – certain medications such as steroids and diuretics can cause frequent urination. Your dog may have to pee so often, it would be impossible to take him out enough times to prevent an accident
º Arthritis – it’s too painful to crouch so she’s not always “finished” outside
º Neurologic disorders affecting the nerve supply to the bladder
Pros and Cons of Dog Diapers
- Until now your dog may have been confined to a small area to avoid peeing all over the house. Wearing a diaper can give him back his freedom to roam wherever he likes
- The humans will be much happier not having to clean up pee/poop stains several times a day
- So many styles, types and prices to choose from
- Some dogs are able to escape from them
- Can be quite costly
- Need to be changed frequently or your dog will develop a rash or infection
- Your dog may refuse to wear it
Can You Potty Train a Senior Dog Using Diapers?
You may have recently adopted a senior dog (congratulations by the way!), who’s having accidents in the house. Are diapers a good solution? It’s a personal choice whether you want to try them or not, but they should not be used to avoid house training.
When you first bring your dog home, I recommend taking him or her out very often, maybe every hour or two. It’s possible your dog is housetrained, but time spent in a shelter may have forced him to pee in his cage. Once he realises he’s going out regularly, he may stop.
Do Doggy Diapers Work for Old Dogs?
Members of my FB group Senior Dog Care Club often ask about doggy diapers, and if they are worth trying. The resounding answer from everyone is yes. As wonderful for the soul as caring for a senior dog is, there may be challenging and stressful times for many. Anything that makes life easier and better for everyone is worth looking into, and doggy diapers have certainly made a world of difference to the lives of many senior dog parents.
Does that mean every dog is happy wearing them? Of course not. There are plenty of stories of dogs pulling them off, but the consensus remains…they’re worth trying!
Getting Your Dog Used to Wearing Diapers
Even if your dog is easy going about everything, I still wouldn’t recommend you approach her with this strange thing in your hand, velcro it on to her body and job done. Introducing it slowly will increase the likelihood of her wearing it, and so will all the treats you’ll be giving her in the process.
Since I don’t know how scared or receptive your dog will be, I’m going to assume she’s very scared and list the steps to take in the “worst case” scenario. You’ll be the best judge of how quickly you can move through the steps, but don’t rush. It won’t help her like it any more, and may in fact set this training back. Only move on to the next step if she was fine during the previous one.
If at any stage during this training she seems super nervous or keeps backing away, you may have moved too quickly. Leave it and try again later.
Grab some treats she loves and have them easy to access.
Put the diaper on the floor, chances are she’ll come over to investigate. When she does give her a treat but only if she’s calm, not if she’s trying to back away. Giving her a treat then will only reinforce that nervous/unsure behavior.
Pick the diaper up, and see what she does. If she sniffs and doesn’t seem afraid, give her a treat.
Hold it near her body, quickly take it away and treat.
Let the diaper rest for a second on her back/lower back, take it away and treat.
Open the diaper fully, put it on without closing it, take it off and treat.
Put the diaper on, close it, take it off and treat.
Put the diaper on, leave it for a few seconds or a minute if she’s okay with it then treat.
You may have to keep going with this training, meaning leaving it on for 2 minutes, 3, 4 and so on if she’s still not comfortable. Remember, it takes as long as it takes.
NOTE: Having another person helping may speed things up. One person gets her used to the diaper, the other provides the treats and distractions such as playing with a toy.
How to Keep a Dog’s Diaper On
If your dog keeps escaping from his diaper, the size or style may not be right for his shape or size. It can be a case of trial and error, but to help I’ve included some “senior dog parent” recommended brands below.
Just like suspenders clip onto pants to keep them up, doggy suspenders do the same thing for diapers. They’re a good option for active dogs because it will keep the diaper in place when they’re running around.
Suspenders come in different colors and patterns, and some even come with doggy underwear attached.
Buy a small pair of boy’s underwear, one size smaller than your dog’s waist size. That should hold the diaper in place, but be sure to cut out a spot for your dog’s tail. You could also try just putting in a sanitary pad instead of a diaper, but it may not offer the full coverage you want. You’ll have to test it and see how well it works.
Baby onesie over the diaper
A baby onesie is a great way to keep your dog’s diaper in place, and taking measurements of your dog around the area where the diaper will be can help you find the right size. Since you may go through a few before you find the perfect fit, save money and buy cheap. Better yet, maybe someone you know has a baby who has outgrown their onesies!
Remember to cut a hole for your dog’s tail.
Some senior dog parents I know attached fitted sheet clips or mitten clips to the diaper for a better fit.
How to Convert a Baby Diaper for a Dog
Since baby diapers are sold by weight, buy the one within your dog’s range. To figure out where to cut the hole for his tail put the diaper on your dog, mark the spot with your finger or a marker then cut with scissors. Simple!
How to Make Your Own Doggy Diaper
Rather than me trying to explain, it’s a lot easier to show you.
How Long Can a Dog Wear a Diaper Without Changing It?
After a few days, you’ll get a better sense of how often the diaper gets wet. Until then, check it every couple of hours and change it as soon as it’s soiled. Leaving a wet or dirty diaper against your dog’s skin is not only uncomfortable, it will make the whole diaper wearing experience more unpleasant, and can cause skin irritation from urine burns and even infection.
It’s nice to give your dog a break from wearing a diaper or belly band. Obviously when he goes for a walk you take it off but what about in the house? Block off a nice size area where your dog can hang out, or buy a large play pen and cover the floor with pee pads.
Safe Diaper Rash Creams for Dogs
The best way to prevent a rash is to use absorbent diapers, change them frequently, use unscented wipes to clean the area and wait until it dries before putting on another diaper or belly band.
Senior dog parents I’ve spoken with use:
A hypoallergenic baby wipe after each wet pad is removed, usually 6-7 times a day
Nature’s Miracle Deodorizing Bath Wipes
Even with the best of intentions, things happen and your dog may develop a skin irritation.
º Avoid using Desitin and other baby rash creams that contain zinc oxide, because it is toxic if ingested
º Ask your vet what he recommends
º Colloidal silver can be used topically to soothe burns
º Make a solution of equal parts warm water and apple cider vinegar, and dab the area with a soft cloth
º Vet’s Best Dog Hot Spot Itch Relief Spray
º Animal Essentials Fidoderm Herbal Skin Spray
If you’ll be leaving the diaper or belly band off for a while after applying the cream, be sure it’s safe in case she licks it. Even if it’s not harmful, keep an eye on her or use a cone until the product dries and the diaper goes back on. The cream can’t help if it’s not on long enough.
Types of Dog Diapers
Male diapers are called belly bands and fit around their midsection covering their “boy parts.” I saw it written like that somewhere! A diaper for a female provides full coverage and has a hole for the tail. Both styles are available as washable or disposable.
- Very convenient and easy
- Expensive if long term use is needed
- Not environmentally friendly if this is a concern
- Lower impact on the environment
- More economical than disposable
How to Wash Reusable Dog Diapers and Belly Bands
These are the washing instructions for the Dog Quality brand:
- Secure velcro before washing
- Hand or machine wash in warm water using regular laundry detergent
- For best results pre-soak soiled items prior to washing and when machine washing add 1/2 cup – 1 cup of white vinegar
- Hang to dry
- Do not use dryer
- Do not use bleach or fabric softener as they can damage the waterproof coating
Washing instructions for Pet Parent brand:
- Strap the Velcro
- Turn inside out
- Add detergent
- Wash on permanent press (warm water)
- Dry on delicates (low heat) or air dry
- Do not use bleach or fabric softener as it can affect absorbency
Best Dog Diapers and Belly Bands
Rather than simply listing the mostly highly rated products on sites like Amazon, I asked senior dog parents to tell me which brands they found the best for their dogs.
Bodhi Male Doggie Wraps
Bodhi Female Doggie Diapers
Simple Solution disposable dog diapers for female dogs
JoyDaog Reusable Belly Bands for male dogs
Pull up baby pants, cut a hole for the tail
Out! Disposable Male Dog Wraps
wegreeco Washable Female Dog Diapers
Pet Parents Washable Male Dog Belly Bands
Pet Parents Washable Female Dog Diapers
Walmart or Target brand baby diapers, cut a hole for tail
Vet’s Best Comfort Fit Disposable Male Dog Diapers (has a color changing stripe so you know when it’s wet)
CuteBone Female Reusable Dog Diapers
Preemie baby diapers for really small dogs
Mkono Male Dog Belly Band Wraps Washable Diapers
Costco Kirkland Signature Diapers
Huggies Little Swimmers
Paw Inspired Disposable Dog Diapers
What Size Diaper Does Your Dog Need?
Measure your dog’s waist at roughly 2″ in front of his back legs. Each size diaper or belly band has a range so don’t worry if your measuring isn’t perfect.
Sizing varies by brand, so here are 3 examples.
Table 1: Simple Solutions Disposable Diapers for Females
Table 2: Pet Magasin Reusable Belly Bands for Males
Table 3: wegreeco Washable Diapers for Females
More “Senior Dog Parent Recommended” Products and Tips to Help You Care for an Incontinent Dog
Feminine pads like Poise and Tena are the best to line diapers and bands for extra protection. Cutting a baby diaper into two strips and using an insert can also help. Sometimes you’re able to re-use the diaper and just change the pad.
Disposable or washable hospital or regular bed pads on top of a washable dog bed cover
Waterproof baby sheets
Waterproof mattress pad
Simple Solution Extreme Stain & Odor Remover
Nature’s Miracle Dog Enzymatic Stain Urine Destroyer
Medication for Incontinent Dogs
Phenylpropanolamine (brand name Proin) – A lot of members of my FB group have seen massive improvement once their dog started taking Proin. Did everyone see such great results? No, but I would say the majority have. To learn more – “Phenylpropanolamine (Proin)”
DES – “Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a nonsteroidal estrogen derivative that closely resembles the natural estrogen, estradiol. Because it is inexpensive and infrequently administered, it is the first choice to treat urinary incontinence in female dogs.” To learn more – “Urinary Incontinence”
Propalin – “Recommended for the long-term management of urinary incontinence associated with urethral sphincter incompetence in spayed dogs.” To learn more – “Propalin”
Incurin – “Indicated for the control of estrogen-responsive urinary incontinence in ovariohysterectomized dogs.” According to Dr Kate Pittman, a guest on one of my podcasts, Incurin is a form of estrogen which doesn’t cause bone marrow problems that some estrogens do. To learn more – “Incurin Tablets”
Collagen injections – To learn more – “Submucosal Collagen Injection of the Urethra for Incontinence”
Read this too! “Urinary Incontinence in the Dog”
LEAKS NO MORE (homeopathic remedy) – ” Helps promote temporary relief from urinary incontinence or leaking that can occur in older pets, spayed females and neutered male animals.” Click here to learn more
How Quickly Do Dogs Adapt to Wearing Diapers or Belly Bands
I wondered how quickly dogs got used to wearing diapers or belly bands, so I went straight to the source for answers!!
• “My male, who was afraid of everything, had no problem. I think he liked them. When he first started having accidents in the house, he thought he was going to get in trouble. When I put him in diapers, the first few times he peed, he smelt the floor. I think he made the connection and was fine.”
• “My male dog marks everything and we got Mkono Belly Bands (after trying everything else) and it’s great-he even knows when he comes inside he waits to get it back on.”
• “One dog always hated it…I kept putting back on, after awhile gave up. The other dog could care less about it being on.”
• “No problem with mine. I have both male and females in diapers.”
• “He would slide his side against whatever he could to slide it off lol. Nothing helped really.”
• “All of our pups have had to wear one at some point…boys and girls. All seem to not mind. I just make sure nothing pinches or pulls or hair gets caught. Lots of praise to make them feel special or pretty. They love the attention.”
• “I never did get mine used to one when it was most needed.”
• “When mine comes in from the yard, he waits at the back door until I put it on him again before going further into the house.”
• “Never had a problem, used them on 3 different dogs.”
• “It was harder for me to see her having to wear one.”
• “Last night was our first night trying and she took it off twice.”
• “My boy acted like he was paralyzed from the waist on back. He wouldn’t walk with it on.”
I’m a dog trainer specialising in working with senior dogs. Whether you have health & wellness concerns, or you’ve just rescued an older dog and need training tips, I can help! Sessions are conducted via Zoom and I offer a FREE 15 minute no obligation chat. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website