Recently a pet parent wrote to ask me questions about caring for her paralyzed dog. The woman said her dog was incontinent and that she was cutting and reconfiguring human diapers to keep her dog dry. The email was a double-edged sword for me. On one side, I was happy the pet parent of a newly diagnosed disabled dog found her way to Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog for answers. But on the other side, I was disappointed she wasn’t able to find the information she needed on the website. I hadn’t properly addressed the options about doggie diapers and the other products available for incontinent pups.
With that said, I decided to share everything I know about doggie diapers in this post. And if I leave anything out, please feel free to add your favorite way to keep an incontinent pet dry in the comment section.
Disposable Doggie Diapers
It’s important to use a doggie diaper rather than cutting and pasting a human diaper to make it fit. Dog diapers are specifically made to contour to the shape of your dog’s body, including a hole for the tail. Because they are manufactured for a dog, they are less likely to leak or come undone.
Lucky for pet parents there is a wide variety of disposable dog diapers that can easily be found at your local pet supply store or Internet store like Amazon, HandicappedPets.com, Chewy.com or your favorite pet supply website. You can even find disposable dog diapers in big box stores.
Doggie diapers come in extra small which is sized for dogs 5lbs or less and go all the way up to XXLarge for dogs that weigh 75lbs. You can buy them in a pack of 10 or purchase the large quantity pack of 120 diapers.
The nice thing about disposable dog diapers is their reasonable cost. Brands range in price from less than $10 for a pack of 10, $20-$25 for a pack of 30 and $100 – $150 for the large quantity carton. The price varies depending on the size you need. And most of the time you can find a brand that’s on sale!
Diaper Tip: Make sure you find a diaper that has elastic gathers to protect against leakage and a brand that has non-sticky, adjustable fasteners that won’t pull out hair. Ouch! Doggie diapers are available for cats too.
Washable Dog Diapers/ Covers
Some pet parents prefer to use a washable dog diaper or washable diaper cover up instead of the disposable kind. This type of diaper looks more like an under garment than a diaper and it comes in lots of cute colors and patterns. A disposable garment pad is placed on the inside of the diaper and needs to be thrown away after each use. Garment pads are placed at strategically different angles for male and female dogs. Washable diapers range in price from $15 – $30.
Diaper Tip: Be sure to purchase washable diapers that have a mesh liner for addition protection from leakage and ones that have adjustable straps. Some diapers have elastic waistbands so sizing has to be more exact than the adjustable type.
Male Wraps/ Belly Bands
Depending on the level of incontinence your dog has and if you are supplementing with manually expressing your dog’s bladder, some male dogs prefer a belly band over a diaper. They are less confining. Male wraps or belly bands are made of a washable, waterproof fabric that fits around the lower belly of your boy dog. A disposable liner is placed inside the band and the wrap stays in place with a Velcro fastener.
Belly bands come in sizes for dogs 3-7lbs and go up to XXLarge for dogs up to 95lbs. They range in price from $15 – $35.
Diaper Tip: Belly bands are great because they are easy to put on and take off, but they have been known to shift out of place, especially if your dog is active. In my opinion, wraps are good for dogs that dribble urine rather than those who are completely incontinent.
Doggie diapers help an estimated 600,000 incontinent dogs and cats every year. They are a wonderful invention, but like male wraps, diapers sometimes shift out of place. Clever pet manufacturers came up with diaper suspenders to solve the problem. Some suspenders wrap around your dog in a similar fashion as a dog walking harness. Our friends at Doggie Essentials came up with a really comfortable suspender that looks like a complete outfit. They’re cute and made from a stretchy material that moves with your dog.
Suspenders and suspender outfits come in lots of sizes and run between $15 to $30.
Diaper Tip: Personally, the harness versions of these suspenders don’t look very fun to wear, but none of my dogs have used them. I think the suspender outfits are practical, adorable and are available for cats as well.
Drag Bags/ Scoot Sacks
I love this product and I see a lot of pet parents using them for their paralyzed dogs, especially when their dog is hanging around the house. These soft bags cover the entire lower half of a dog’s body, including their legs and feet. They not only protect a dog from having an accident in the house, they also protect the legs of an active paralyzed dog who loves to scoot everywhere. Some people put a drag bag over a diaper for complete protection.
Some pet parents use training or pee pads as added protection for their incontinent dog. I expressed Sophie’s bladder (my paralyzed dog) on a regular schedule so I felt pretty confident she didn’t need a diaper at night. We used pee pads on Sophie’s bed to catch any leakage she would have. You can more about expressing bladders and preventing UTI’s.
Diaper Tip: Pee pads come in small and large packs and cost less than $20 for a big carton. They are a truly inexpensive source of added protection.
I hope this very long list of diaper tips was helpful. One last point I want to make is that every paralyzed dog has different needs. Some are totally incontinent while others have a problem with leaking. Because of this, choosing a diaper product might be a game of trial and error. But please don’t give up. There are lots of great products on the market to help you and make life better for your specially-abled dog. Nearly all of these products are also available for paralyzed cats.