Dog Diapers: The Different Types, Pros & Cons

Last Updated Apr 23, 2021
Pooch wearing dog diapers next to pet owner
Dog diapers, also known as dog nappies, are instrumental in assisting our furry friends not to soil themselves and their surroundings. There are various reasons why a dog might require a diaper, and there are different canine diaper sizes and gender specifications to accommodate. Learn more about canine diaper offerings and how they can be chosen to best suit select lifestyles and budgets.

What Are the Main Reasons a Dog Would Need a Diaper?

Like humans, canines require dog diapers mainly for incontinence symptoms, managing a dog going into heat, or for dogs demonstrating behavioral issues. To help deal with these issues, pet owners can choose between a variety of diaper options to ensure canine comfortability.


A dog might lose control of its bladder or bowels due to illness, fright, excitability, or merely of old age. Incontinence may result from illness, where a dog contracts a urinary tract infection, or post-surgery as a dog is recovering. While a dog can be trained out of some of these instances, most are uncontrollable and may require dog diapers.

Going Into Heat

While it is encouraged and highly recommended that a pet dog be spayed or neutered, there are a variety of reasons why they may be intact or not yet fixed. Perhaps the dog is too young, intended for breeding purposes, or has just been purchased or adopted and has not yet visited the vet. Whatever the reason may be, female dogs will continue to go into estrus (heat) and menstruate until they are spayed. For this reason, they will require female dog diapers.

Behavioral Issues

When house training puppies, they will inevitably pee on the floor as they have not yet learned to control their bladders to relieve themselves outside. Furthermore, even grown intact male dogs have a natural tendency to pee on their surroundings to mark things with their scent. Male dog diapers are instrumental for handling marking behavior.

Can You Use Human Diapers on Your Dog?

The short answer is no. Due to how their bodies are built, human diapers rarely fit right, which can cause leaks. Dog diapers are specially made for dogs’ bodies (and tails) and different dog sizes to hold firm and prevent leaks.

How to Determine Your Dog's Diaper Size

Canine diapers are typically sold in a size range of XXS-XL, accommodating dogs of all breeds and sizes. To ensure the proper size selection, it is recommended that pet owners measure the dog’s waist and cross-reference their measurements and weight with the sizing chart indicated by differing canine diaper brands.

Disposable or Reusable Diapers? Pros and Cons

Both disposable and reusable diapers have benefits and disadvantages. The best choice for a dog or handler may depend on factors like lifestyle and budget, and perhaps a handler will choose to rely on both disposable and reusable diapers. We have prepared a comprehensive list of pros and cons to assist pet owners in selecting the best fit for their canine.

Disposable Diaper Pros

  • Convenient, easy to use: One-time-use products tend to be more convenient and easy to use. Disposable dog nappies are no different.
  • Highly absorbent: Disposable dog diapers are highly absorbent, often proving to be effective against unwanted leaks.

Disposable Diaper Cons

  • Can be costly: As disposable diapers need to be repeatedly purchased, they can incur high costs.
  • Produce waste: Disposable diapers are highly wasteful, as they are disposed of after every single use. This requires additional waste removal maintenance, and disposed of diapers can emit a strong unwanted odor.

Reusable Diaper Pros

  • Environmentally friendly: As reusable diapers are cleaned after each use and continuously reused, they produce little waste and are consequently safe for the environment.
  • Can be made DIY: pet owners can easily create their dog diapers, allowing for the dog diapers to be considerably more affordable than alternative options.

Reusable Diaper Cons

  • Higher maintenance: While reusable diapers are more affordable because they can be reused, they need to be washed.
  • Luckily, today’s modern diapers make the process perfectly straightforward.

How Are Male and Female Dog Diapers Different?

Because dogs have tails, human diapers cannot be repurposed for dog use. To ensure canine diaper functions correctly and for dog comfortability, a pet owner must provide the appropriate diaper for the dog’s gender.

Female Dog Diapers

Similar to human diapers, female dog diapers fit around the hindquarters and waist like underwear. Where they differ is that they include a tail hole to accommodate the dog’s tail.

Male Dog Diapers

Male dog diapers are slightly different, as they fit around a dog’s waist and stomach like a tube. More commonly referred to as male wraps or belly bands, male canine diapers cover the dog’s male parts and fasten at the back.

How to Ensure Dog Diapers Stay On

When it comes to ensuring that canine diapers stay put, it is simply a matter of selecting the correct size to fit your dog and adequately placing and fastening the diaper on the dog. Securing the dog diaper merely requires the handler to open the wings, slip the hole through the top of the dog’s tail, place the shorter end of the fabric on the hind end of the dog, wrap the velcro wings around the dog to stick to the velcro strip on the dog’s back, and readjust the diaper according to its fit once it is placed.

How Often Should a Dog Diaper Be Changed?

Unless the dog cannot control its bowels, it’s improbable that the dog will defecate in its diaper. For this reason, dogs must be allowed to roam around outside and do their business outside of the diaper. When changing the diaper, the rule of thumb would be immediately upon noticing that the dog has soiled the diaper. It is recommended that pet owners check their dogs’ comfortability routinely to know if it is time to change a diaper. As disposable diapers are so absorbent, they may not be required to change as quickly as reusable diapers.

Do Dog Diapers Prevent Mating?

While dog diapers may help prevent mating between dogs, it is certainly not a guarantee. If a dog is motivated enough, it would be very easy for them to damage or remove the diaper, resulting in unwanted mating. Dog diapers should not be used as a sole mating prevention tool.

How to Wash Dog Diapers

When washing reusable dog diapers, any velcro should be fastened before proceeding with washing. pet owners can use regular laundry detergent, and depending on the delicacy of the fabric, can either hand wash or machine wash in warm water. Avoid supplementary cleaning products like bleach or fabric softener, as the waterproof coating can be damaged. However, diapers can be pre-soaked with water and vinegar, approximately ½ cup - 1 cup. Finally, canine diapers should be hung to dry and never placed in a dryer as dryers can shrink the diaper or damage the coating.

In Summary

Dog diapers come in all shapes and sizes, are optimized for different genders, and can assist with a variety of needs, including incontinence, a dog in heat, or a dog experiencing behavioral issues. Disposable diapers may be more convenient but are more costly and less environmentally friendly than their reusable counterpart. Reusable diapers are more affordable and sustainable, making them a clearly preferable option. As there are a variety of diaper options to choose from, diapers can be selected based on the handler and dog’s needs, lifestyle, and budget.



Glenn Parkes

Glenn, our General Manager at K9 Carts, brings over two decades of experience in mobility solutions for pets. With his expertise and passion for improving the lives of our furry companions, Glenn ensures that every product meets the highest standards of quality and functionality.