Considering whether or not to have your dog wear a diaper is never ideal. It can feel cruel, especially since few dogs love wearing them. Often, however, diapering your dog can increase their freedom and decrease the stress of your pet making messes they can’t control.
There are many medical reasons for why you might need to use diapers on your dog, whether temporarily or longer term. One you won’t find mentioned is a convenient way to leave your dog for extended periods of time without worry. If your dog is able to hold their bladder, you should always rely on regular house training and bathroom breaks rather than putting them in a diaper.
Whatever your reasons for choosing doggy diapers, though, be sure to discuss any plans you have with your vet before committing to the new routine.
Potential reasons for doggy diapering
Dogs with medical issues that affect their bladder, digestive tract and reproductive systems might have a need for a diaper at some point in their life. Using soft, clean diapers on your pup can help them avoid household messes and remain comfortable. The following situations may call for doggy diapers at one point or another.
Some dogs that urinate in the house are not doing so because of poor training. Instead, they might be experiencing urinary incontinence due to a urinary tract infection, diabetes, a weakened urinary sphincter muscle, certain kinds of bacterial infections or other bladder problems.
If you have a well-trained dog that never used to have accidents, visit your vet to check for urinary incontinence problems. The resulting diagnosis might lead you to use dog diapers to prevent urinary leakage. Dog diapers may become a part of your regular life, but there might also be medications or surgeries that can help treat your dog’s urinary incontinence.
Dog diapers are a great solution for dogs that are suffering from spinal issues or any kind of injury that hampers their mobility. They are most often used on dogs that are recovering from surgery. If your dog is on bed rest because they are recovering, a diaper can help when they need to go more often than they should be up and walking around.
Dog diapers can also be a merciful option for dogs that suffer from severe arthritis. Dogs with arthritis may find it painful to crouch, which means they will sometimes put off urination or defecation while outside, leading to accidents inside.
As dogs age, they might have less bladder control than they used to have as younger dogs. This can be because they have lost some physical functions or because they are experiencing canine cognitive dysfunction. Canine cognitive dysfunction is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans and can cause your dog to forget their house training.
If you are worried your elderly dog might be having accidents because they are suffering from dementia, visit your vet before deciding on a course of action. You may end up using dog diapers either way, but there are some medications or supplements that can help dogs that suffer from canine cognitive dysfunction feel more comfortable.
Female dogs in heat
If you have not spayed your female dog, chances are you’re familiar with dog diapers already. Diapers are essential for keeping your floors, furniture and home clean if you have a female dog in heat as they produce discharge. They can also prevent your dog from constantly licking herself while she’s in heat.
Tips for humanely diapering your dog
If you’re going to put a diaper on your dog for a medical reason, it’s crucial that you pay attention to your pup’s comfort and hygiene.
Dog diapers are a lot like human diapers with the addition of a tail hole. Be sure that you get the correct size of diaper for your dog and change your dog’s diaper frequently. Like babies, dogs can develop diaper rash and other issues like bacterial infections and inflammation—all of which can be painful—if they are left in soiled diapers too long. When changing your dog’s diaper, wear gloves and use baby wipes to clean up your pup.
Diapers can be scary to dogs in the same way wearing a cone might be. If you are introducing dog diapers to your canine for the first time, be sure to be gentle and go slowly. Start by putting the dog diaper on the floor, so your dog can examine it without feeling threatened. When your dog comes over to check out the diaper, give them a treat when they seem calm.
Go in stages, picking up the diaper, holding it near your dog, letting it touch your dog’s back, letting it rest on your dog, giving treats at every step of the process until you are able to actually put the diaper on your dog without fear or stress. This process may take a while, but it’s worth it to make sure your dog is comfortable and will keep their diaper on when you need them to.