Ready-to-Wear: Dog Diapers

Dog diapers are one solution to long trips, incontinence and other situations where dogs are indoors for a long time.

Dog diapers are often used with incontinent dogs or those in heat. By: istolethetv

Not long ago, I attended a  party in a beautiful apartment right on the Hudson River in New York City.

Children ran everywhere, laughing and screaming; the grinning adults delightedly filled their cups with subtly spiked eggnog.

A relative of the host had brought along the family dog, a snowy little maltese rather inappropriately named Slash.

The dog had a shy, defensive disposition (he harmlessly nipped at me and a few others during the party), and I wondered if it wasn’t because his behind was swaddled in an eye-catching white and red polka-dotted diaper.

Although I have seen dogs here in New York clad in all manners of fashion, it was, admittedly, the first time I’d seen a dog dressed in such a way, and I asked the owner if she had appropriated a baby diaper for her dog. She replied that “doggy diapers” are sold everywhere (for years now), and she always has Slash wear one when spending time at others’ houses, “just in case.”

It makes sense to use dog diapers, especially when you’re living in New York, where time is short and backyards are more often a dream than a reality. But for general housetraining, diapers should be used as only part of an overall housetraining program. If you have an older dog that suffers from incontinence, dog diapers could provide a helpful solution, as well as for dogs that travel.

Here are some useful hints that will make wearing diapers a safe and comfortable experience for your dog.

Cloth or Disposable?

Dog diapers come in several styles, including cloth and disposable. Disposables are the preferred choice for the sheer convenience of throwing away the soiled undergarment. The downside is that disposable dog diapers are costly, especially if you’re looking at buying them for years to come. Also, they don’t do much for the environment, if you’re seeking a green solution.

Cloth diapers certainly aren’t winning any popularity contests, but they are more cost-effective and possibly more eco-friendly for pet owners, and some can last between 200 and 300 washings.

You can also find that cloth diapers use a very absorbent and disposable pad, marrying the ease and cost-effectiveness of the two options above.


More often than not, dog diapers are created to absorb urine but not feces. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty diaper that will catch both, consider having your dog wear a disposable diaper underneath a cloth one.

If the diaper is being used to absorb feces, take care to change it often to prevent infection and general smelliness. Your dog, and everyone else, will be much happier for it.

Dog diapers come in several sizes — be sure to find ones that fit perfectly. By: Michael Senchuk


An ill-fitting diaper could make for a very messy mistake, not to mention a world of discomfort for your poor dog. Thankfully, most manufacturers include sizing charts that take into consideration height, weight and breed — be sure to take advantage of these when finding the diaper that works for your dog.

If you switch brands, make sure to again check the new manufacturer’s size guidelines, as they vary between brands. Something too small or too large could greatly distress your dog and make the diaper experience unpleasant.

Taking the time to find the correct size will create a comfortable, pain-free experience for your beloved pet.


Over the years, manufacturers have recognized the need to create various styles of dog diapers to ensure comfort and satisfaction for the wearer. These include:

  • Harness or suspender diapers. This type is useful when a dog’s girth isn’t quite enough to keep the diapers on his body, or he often tries to pull the diapers off.
  • Belly band diapers. These are made to fit the physiology of male dogs and provide lightweight comfort and effectiveness.
  • Full-coverage diapers. These are more akin to baby diapers in that they cover the dog’s behind, closing tight at the hips.

Watch this video to see how one owner attaches a disposable diaper to her dog’s harness via suspender straps:

Measures You Can Take to Avoid Infection

If you decide to use diapers on your dog, please take care to change them thoroughly and frequently. Common ailments stemming from wearing the same diaper for too long include nasty skin irritations, rashes and painful urinary tract infections. Make sure you’re up to the task of changing your pet’s diapers often and are willing to wash your pet’s genital area to prevent infection.

Dog diapers can be an easy, safe and effective way to conveniently take care of your dog’s business. Finding the right diaper style, size and material for your dog is crucial to the success and happiness of your household.

Jenna Rohrbacher

View posts by Jenna Rohrbacher
Jenna Rohrbacher is a freelance writer and copy editor in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Portland State University in 2009 with a master's degree in writing and publishing. In her spare time, Jenna dances and teaches Argentine tango in New York.

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