Just like human babies, some dogs will need to wear diapers in their life. There are multiple reasons why a dog may need to wear one, and different types of doggy diapers altogether. Although diapers can be helpful for some dogs, diapers also come with downfalls and risks. Dr. Jess explains why someone would put a dog in a diaper and points for you to consider before slipping Fido into one.
Why Do Dogs Need Diapers?
Unlike humans, dogs need diapers for many different reasons including:
1. Diapers For Dog In Heat:
Some female dogs will not get spayed (removal of the sex organs so that the female dog can no longer reproduce) in their lifetime, or will get spayed later on in life so that they experience menstrual cycles, bleeding included.
When an intact female dog bleeds from their menstrual cycle, the blood will seep or drip from the vulvar area on her back end.
You can imagine that this tends to make a mess of your floors, your furniture, and possibly her back end and back legs of she does not clean them herself.
Therefore, many intact female dog owners choose to have their females wear a diaper to keep their dog and their surroundings, blood-free.
2. Urinary Incontinence:
One very common reason for dogs to wear diapers is due to urinary incontinence. This is a big fancy term to describe that they can not control their bladder or the urine excreted out of the body.
This is fairly common in older dogs, but can be an issue in younger dogs, or a dog at any life stage that has had trauma occur in that region.
Whether it is just a slow dribble, or if your dog lays down and fully relives themselves, a diaper can definitely help you control the urine being expelled from your dog.
3. Fecal Incontinence:
Similarly to urinary incontinence, some dogs lose control of their bowels, allowing fecal material to escape their anus without them noticing it or being in control of when it happens.
This can get messy and stinky very quickly.
Therefore, dog owners with pups with fecal incontinence issues may elect to place a diaper on their dog to control or catch the stool.
4. Wound Protection:
If your dog has a wound on their body that could be cleaned, dressed, and then protected by a diaper, then a diaper may be a good option for your dog.
Some dogs are just better at leaving their wounds and boo boos alone than others.
A diaper in place, covering the wound, may distract your dog from licking or chewing their wound. This only works if the diaper properly covers the wound.
5. House Training:
That’s right, some people may choose to use doggy diapers as a training aid when teaching their dog how to become house-broken and go to the bathroom outdoors.
What Types of Dog Diapers Are There?
Dog diapers look very similar to human diapers, except that there is an extra hole in the diaper for the dog to pass their tail through. We do not want to trap their tail inside the diaper because it could get soiled.
Doggy diapers come in many types – from different materials, to different colors and design patterns, to different straps and ways to close them up around the pet.
The material that the diaper is made out of will depend somewhat on your personal preferences and what the intended use is for the diaper itself.
Diapers are going to be made out of different materials depending on what their intended use is going to be.
For instance, if they are going to be a disposable, one-time use diaper, it will be made of something entirely different than a reusable cloth diaper that you can wash a reuse time and time again.
Most disposable dog diapers are known for their high absorbency, which is good for large, wet messes, such as urinary incontinence.
Many times, these disposable diapers also have wetness indicators on them, just like baby diapers do, so that is easily recognizable when your dog has a soiled diaper and needs to be changed.
Many disposable diapers also claim to be leak resistant too – a great feature for dogs who are both indoors and on furniture!
Then there are cloth diapers, intended to be reused multiple times, after proper cleaning.
Many pet parents choose cloth diapers because they are the more affordable over time option once you consider how many uses that you can get out of one reusable cloth diaper.
Cloth diapers are also more green or eco-friendly, as less diaper waste is put into our landfills.
Diaper Structural Design:
The design of a doggy diaper depends on the intended use of the diaper, and the size and shape of the dog.
For instance, there are different size diapers available, from fitting to the tiniest of toy breeds, to the largest of the giant dog breeds, and size in between.
There are diapers that are made to fit the structure and anatomy of the female dog, while others a specifically made to fit the male canine figure.
Diaper Trends & Patterns:
This is the choice most important to humans versus their dogs. These days, doggy diapers come in many different colors and patterns, almost like a outfit or wardrobe choice.
Some doggy diapers even look like pants, skirts, or tutus!
Can Diapers Be Dangerous For My Dog?
Diapers can be dangerous for your pup.
Because of the risks involved with wearing a diaper, I highly recommend having a watchful eye on your dog while they have the diaper on. Here’s why:
An ill-fitted diaper can lead to unnecessary rubbing, which can lead to hair loss, skin irritation, and even open wounds, which can lead to infections.
Also, if a diaper is not changed in a timely manner and your dog is left with a soiled diaper, they can get the dog version of diaper rash, or skin burns from urine touching their skin.
They can also succumb to skin infections from fecal material being left in dirty diapers that are wore for too long.
Another worry is a dog that gets sick and tired of having a diaper on and puts it in their mouth or tearing it to shreds.
Bits of diaper in the mouth is a choking hazard. Ingestion of diapers is not good for your dog’s digestive system.
If your dog swallows or chews apart their diaper, contact your veterinarian to see what to do next. They will be able to guide you to whether it is an emergency and should be seen at the clinic, or if it is likely okay, and you can stay home and monitor your pet for signs of an issue.
What Type of Doggy Diaper Does My Dog Need?
Your veterinarian can help you decide which type and shape and material of diaper that you should put your dog in.
For most dogs, the middle of the road, average dog diaper will suffice. However, sometimes your dog will need a specific type of diaper, or will need to go through a few different diapers before finding the one that fits best and stays put.
For instance, if your dog has a docked tail, the shorter tail may not fit through the tail hole of the diaper. Therefore, you may have issues with seepage of bodily fluids through this opening. To fix this, many dog owners in this position plug the hole up, using tape or other means.
Another reason to get your veterinarian involved in this diaper process is that they can help fit the diaper properly to your dog’s size and confirmation, and also show you how to properly apply the diaper.
Why Put A Dog In A Diaper?
There are reasons why a pet parent would stick a diaper on their pup.
Urinary or fecal incontinence, intact female vulvar bleeding, and wound protection are just a few of the more widely used ways doggy diapers are utilized.
It is best to have your vet involved in this diaper process as they can help you choose which diaper is best for your dog and how to properly fit the diaper to your dog.
Always be mindful that diapers can be dangerous in certain circumstances, so always monitor your dog when they are wearing diapers to prevent unnecessary risks.