The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Dog Diaper for Your Senior Dog
As dogs get older, incontinence can become an issue. Sadly, it’s a common reason people put their pets down, which is heartbreaking because it’s actually easily managed with the right assistance products like washable dog diapers and dog belly bands.
Handling dog incontinence with my first French bulldog, Churchill, during his senior years, was one of the reasons I started Dog Quality. After years of training him to take potty breaks outdoors, I hated that he felt like he did something wrong when he had an accident.
When we introduced Washable Wonders, Churchill had already passed but my dogs Paige and Milo spent the remainder of their golden years comfortable and accident-free, sporting their Washable Wonders in style. Now, Lily, my older pug, relies on our female dog diapers. Doggie diapers are a way to help your senior dog age gracefully and give you peace of mind. Here’s what you’ll want to consider when choosing the best dog diaper for your senior dog.
Disposable Dog Diapers vs. Washable Dog Diapers
Though we’re focusing on dog diapers for incontinence in older dogs, they’re also helpful for training puppies, male dogs who mark their territory and for female dogs in heat. In a pinch, when in the process of housebreaking a pup, the disposable variety might be an option because of the convenience and the fact you’re not using them on a daily basis.
However, when it comes to dog menstruation diapers or protection for senior dogs who are having urinary or fecal incontinence, I’ve found washable, cloth dog diapers to be the superior option. They’re more cost-effective over the long term, environmentally friendly, comfortable and fit better. Plus, the crinkling noise of the disposable diaper material is bothersome to many dogs.
Male Dog Diapers VS Female Dog Diapers
Male and female dogs have different diaper needs. Male dogs who are marking or experiencing urinary incontinence will do well with a belly band for dogs. Dog Quality has belly bands for small dogs, medium dogs and large dogs all featuring a soft, microfiber, absorbent lining and an outer shell made from waterproof PUL, so furniture and carpets stay dry.
They’re reusable dog wraps, meaning they wrap around the waist instead of going on like a full diaper. This gives your dog a little more freedom.Female dogs and older dogs who are experiencing both urinary and fecal incontinence will need a full diaper.
For male washable dog diapers, look for a wider base with a longer waist, so the front of the diaper is over the urethra and differences in anatomy are accounted for. Female washable dog diapers don’t require as much length. Finding one that’s specially made for females will prevent having uncomfortable, excess material.
Dog Diaper Sizes: Measuring Your Dog
Depending on the brand of doggie diaper, sizing may be based on the dog’s weight or their waist size. At Dog Quality, our sizes are based on the waist measurement. We find this ensures a much more precise fit than weight. To measure your dog, simply measure around his or her waist, which is approximately two inches in front their hind legs.
Do this while they’re standing and use a flexible tape or a piece of string and then measure the string with a ruler afterward. If your dog is at the very end of the range or in between ranges, we’d recommend going a size up. It’s also important to pay attention to the width of the belly bands in relation to the distance between your dog’s front and back legs to ensure it will give them enough coverage without compromising comfort.
Our dog diapers for senior dogs can be adjusted using the Velcro straps to make the waist tighter and the white plastic snaps to cinch up the diaper, so there’s room to tweak the fit. Diapers that are easily adjustable are a must for long-term comfort and use.
Consider the Breed
Now that you know your dog’s waist measurement and you have a good idea of what size dog diapers they’ll need, you’ll also want to think about their breed because diapers are typically available with or without a tail hole. Breeds like Boston terriers, French bulldogs, English bulldogs, corgis and others who don’t have much a tail, can benefit from a dog diaper with no tail hole.
Otherwise, the hole can leak. However, for dog breeds with tails, a dog diaper with a tail hole is preferable to get a snug but comfortable fit and to keep their tail clean. Similarly, dogs who have had a rear leg amputated, may have an issue fitting in regular dog diapers. That’s why both our washable female dog diapers and male dog diapers are available specially made for amputees.
These amputee dog diapers feature a covered leg hole to prevent leaks. The covered area has a little extra space to accommodate the hip bone that’s usually left behind. If your pooch had both legs amputated, let us know and we can also make the amputee diaper without any leg openings for no extra charge.
Trouble Keeping the Doggie Diaper On
A challenge, regardless of the type of dog diaper you use, is dogs move…a lot! Tightening a diaper can work to some extent but a diaper that’s too snug will cause discomfort and, sometimes, pet parents need assurance that their doggie diaper will offer overnight protection.
That’s where suspenders or straps come in. We created straps for dog diapers and belly bands that hook on to the dog’s harness and hold the diaper or band in place. The straps are much more comfortable than suspenders. They’re designed to fit our Washable Wonders line but they’ll work with other brands as well.
For Pooches Who Need Extra Protection
If you’re gone at work all day, traveling or for overnight, dog diaper pads are a nice addition to doggie diapers and belly bands. They’ll wick away more moisture to keep your dog dry. Or, throw down a larger dog incontinence pad over furniture, your dog’s bed or whatever surface you’d like to protect. Dog Quality blanket pads are soft, cozy and ultra absorbent, so you get the best of both worlds.
The reason I have so many styles and put so much thought into our Washable Wonders line of products is because I was designing with the challenges I face as a senior pet owner in mind.
I’ve seen videos of DIY dog diapers using pampers but these diapers were created to fit a baby’s body, which is a lot different than that of a canine and makes for a poor fit, messes, leaks and a squirmy, uncomfortable dog. Choosing a dog diaper that’s right for your four-legged family member makes life easier and when you don’t have to worry about accidents, you can spend time snuggling up with your senior dog and making the most of your time with them.
Browse our Washable Wonders line to start managing your older dog’s incontinence and if you have questions or aren’t sure if your measurements are correct, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.