Female dog wearing fabric period diapers.

How to Use Dog Diapers

While diapers aren’t a ubiquitous part of pet parenthood, many dog lovers keep them handy. Whether you’ve just brought home a new puppy or you’re caring for a senior dog, there are a number of reasons you might give dog diapers a try.

Why Use Dog Diapers?

Diapers for Dog Training

A puppy can be tough on your house. Many new pet parents count on dog diapers as a housetraining resource. The American Kennel Club (AKC) notes, however, that diapers are not a substitute for traditional housetraining. “Even if you choose this method,” they write, your dog should still learn “where he’s really supposed to go” with regular, diaper-free trips outdoors.

Diapers for Incontinence

Accidents aren’t always a behavioral issue. Even well-trained dogs can become incontinent as they age. After age 11, some dogs begin to suffer from an Alzheimer’s-like disease called cognitive dysfunction syndrome. These dogs may go inside because they literally don’t know any better. While aging dogs still need regular walks, diapers can help avoid accidents between trips outside.

Diapers for Dogs in Heat

If your female dog is in heat, a diaper can keep urine and bloody secretions from making a mess around the house. Keep in mind that the AKC advises dog owners that they should not consider diapers contraceptive devices.

Types of Dog Diapers

Belly Band Diapers

If your male dog is experiencing urinary incontinence, a belly band diaper could help save your floors and furniture. These diapers strap across the waist rather than covering your dog’s entire hindquarters.

Full Coverage Diapers

Except for the tail hole, these diapers look just like their human counterparts. They fit snugly around your dog’s back-half and are useful for male and female dogs alike.

Disposable vs. Washable Diapers

Washable diapers might appeal to pet parents who are especially environmentally conscious. They’re also a smart, wallet-friendly choice if your dog is suffering from long-term incontinence. Disposable diapers, on the other hand, might make more sense for housetraining a new puppy.

Using Dog Diapers Correctly

Don’t let the convenience of diapers make you overlook your dog’s health and comfort. The AKC offers a number of guidelines for purchasing, changing, and handling dog diapers.

If your dog unexpectedly becomes incontinent, be sure to visit your veterinarian. The issue could be a symptom of a urinary tract infection or a more serious bladder problem. Dog diapers are great and sometimes they’re absolutely necessary, but they should never be your first response to incontinence.