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Dog diapers; the whole story. Does your dog need them?

dog diapers

What are dog diapers?

Dog diapers are just that; diapers for dogs.  Many people don’t really know or understand them.  But if you have a girl dog in heat or you have an incontinent dog, they can be a lifesaver!

Also called dog britches or dog panties, they are intended to help keep things clean by putting a barrier between the mess and the rest of the world.  This can be done in several ways, but they aren’t all equal in terms of comfort, cost and effectiveness.

Why would my dog need dog diapers?

Your dog might need a product like this for a couple of reasons.  First, if you have an unaltered (intact) female, she is going to have heat cycles.  Heat cycles vary by dog as far as amount of flow, length of cycle, etc., but they involve at least some blood, which can lead to a smelly mess.  If your dog is in your house or car, you’re going to want to contain that mess.

The other reason you dog might need a diaper is if they’re incontinent. This can be from old age, injury or other reason.  Both boys and girls can be incontinent. Either way, dog pee or poop where it doesn’t belong is not pleasant. Depending on your dog, you’ll have to keep the anatomical difference in mind when choosing a method.

What are my choices?

There are several ways of placing a barrier so that you don’t have as much mess from heat cycles or incontinence.

  • You can buy disposable diapers for your dog at most pet stores.  This makes them easy to find but can get pricey and adds up to a lot of trash.
  • You can buy dog diapers that are made to be reused, out of cloth usually.  These are a little harder to find and a little more expensive at first, but they’re washable and can be reused over and over.  Your investment will pay for itself pretty quickly and you won’t be adding to the trash heap. Plus, you can find people that make them specifically for your dog so the fit is more correct.
  • You can rig something up with human baby diapers or men’s undershorts.  This can work in a pinch, but they aren’t designed for dogs so they may not fit very well and may not contain the mess you’re hoping to contain.

What should I look for in a dog diaper?

Of course, it needs to actually catch the mess.  In the case of incontinence, the diaper needs to absorb without leaking or it isn’t much good.  If your dog is in heat, it needs to catch the blood but may not need to be as bulky, depending on your dog.

A diaper needs to be easy to use.  Whether it’s for a couple of weeks or ongoing, you’re going to have to deal with it several times a day, so you want a product that doesn’t cause extra work. It needs to be easy to put on and take off as well. And washing it or disposing of it should be simple.

You (and your dog) also want a product that doesn’t cause sore spots.  If it doesn’t fit right, it will rub at the groin, between the legs, etc., making your dog not want to wear it.  The downside of this is that they might chew it off or otherwise seek relief.  You might not like the results.

Another downside might be that the diaper comes off.  This definitely is counterproductive.  You end up with a mess in spite of your efforts. Any diaper you use on your dog needs to stay in place or it does no good.

One note about diapers.  They are NOT designed to prevent pregnancy.  I’ve seen devices that are supposed to help prevent pregnancy, but even those aren’t 100%.  Simple diapers definitely aren’t going to decrease risk.

What’s the best choice?

The best choice is the one that works for you and your dog.  When you have a situation that calls for a diaper, it helps to know the options so you can make the best decision available.  Keeping a diaper on your dog when it’s needed will help your fur kid be more a part of the family instead of being banned to the crate, outside, etc. You’ll feel better and so will they.

Made by De, my online business, makes custom dog diapers.  Take a look for more information.

For more about helping your relationship with your dog, read my post Do dogs talk?

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