Guide to choosing a dog diaper for your senior dog
14th March, 2023
Are toileting accidents becoming more common with your senior hound? Dog diapers could be the answer! Learn how to find the right product for your pooch in this Petwise guide.
When you hear the word ‘diapers’, babies and toddlers usually spring to mind. But our canine companions sometimes need them, too, especially as they start turning grey.
If your old dog is struggling to control their toileting habits, doggy diapers can help protect your home from little accidents. But which ones do you need? We’ll take a look at some of the most popular brands below and discover how senior dog insurance in the UK could also help with their pee problem.
Why does your old dog need a diaper?
Just like babies who wear nappies, senior dogs may need diapers because they can’t control where and when they go to the toilet.
Incontinence can happen for various reasons, some mild and some more serious. Your older dog might just be getting overexcited in its golden years (a little leak now and again is nothing to worry about), but they could also be suffering from an underlying health condition that needs treatment.
If peeing on the floor is becoming a big issue, make use of your senior dog insurance in the UK and get your pooch to the vet. We’ve also got some helpful tips in our article on coping with incontinence in older dogs.
So what are the most common reasons a dog needs a diaper?
As we age, we’re more likely to develop medical issues, and the same goes for our four-legged friends. Many of these conditions cause an increased thirst and urgency to pee, often meaning your pooch simply goes on the spot.
What might your pet’s incontinence be a sign of?
- Uroliths (urinary bladder stones)
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Weak bladder sphincter
- Diabetes (Learn what this means for your pet in our article by Dr Peter Higgins)
- Cushing’s disease
- Canine cognitive dysfunction
- Kidney disease
Some of these conditions are manageable while others pose a serious threat to your pet, so you’ll need to see your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
It’s important you cover your ageing pet with specialist senior dog insurance in the UK. This way, you can get your canine companion the healthcare they truly deserve without worrying about a hefty vet . It should be noted that any pre-existing conditions will not be covered.
Going into heat
Although dogs go into heat less often as they age, females can get pregnant at almost any stage of their life. Pets in heat have periods, so diapers come in very handy to keep your furniture clean!
It’s important to note that getting your female spayed (if she isn’t already) comes with a host of benefits. Neutering isn’t included on senior dog insurance in the UK (learn what is included in your cover elsewhere on our site), but it’s important to:
- Prevent unwanted litters and pregnancies.
- Reduce your dog’s risk of certain health concerns.
- Stop roaming and straying in search of a mate.
- Lower their risk of developing negative behaviours, like aggression.
It’s no secret that male dogs like to mark their territory by peeing just about anywhere – yes, this could mean in your favourite slippers! Even if your four-legged family member was always well house trained, senior dogs can develop new (and sometimes unwanted) behaviours, so it might be time to turn to diapers for help.
Blue Cross recommends contacting a behavioural specialist if you need help with your senior. You can find a qualified professional by contacting your vet or through The Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC).
Most older dogs will be used to going to the toilet outside by now, but if you adopt a senior pet, they might need time to adjust to their new home, which could mean the odd accident now and then.
Of course, you don’t want to rely on diapers for the rest of your ageing canine’s life, but you can use them once your dog is almost properly trained and to prevent puddles overnight.
When to see the vet about incontinence in senior dogs
It’s not unusual for dogs to have a little accident at some point in their life. Occasionally, the excitement gets too much, or they simply had too much to drink and can’t hold it in any longer.
When you notice it happening more often in an ageing dog, though, it’s important you call for a check-up straight away. There are so many reasons for incontinence in senior pets that it’s best to get a proper diagnosis as soon as possible.
It might just be a sign that they’re getting old, but it could also signal a more serious health issue that needs urgent treatment.
Don’t forget to cover your elderly pooch before they fall ill. Senior dog insurance in the UK doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, so if your pet’s already sick, you’ll still have to pay for treatment.
What types of dog diapers are there?
So, you think your dog could do with a diaper from time to time, but where do you even begin finding the right product for yours?
You’ve probably never shopped for doggy diapers before and might be surprised to know there’s a wide variety of options available.
Take your pick from:
- Throw-away/disposable dog diapers
- Washable/reusable dog diapers
- Homemade dog diapers (yes, you can try this!)
And that’s not all – there are different diapers for male and female dogs, too:
- Female dog diapers: This kind of nappy fits like regular underwear but with a tail hole.
- Male dog diapers: Often called belly bands, male diapers wrap around your pet’s tummy and cover their genitals to prevent leaks.
It’s highly unlikely that your pet will poop while wearing a diaper, but if they have a health concern that might cause this, you’ll want to opt for one with full coverage and that you can throw away after it’s been used.
Should you choose disposable diapers or reusable diapers?
Whether you make your own or buy them, you’ll need to choose between throwaway and washable diapers. Not sure which is right for you? Here’s a quick look at the benefits of each:
Disposable diaper benefits
- No mess, just throw them away
- Generally very absorbent if your pet toilets a lot
- Leakproof to keep your home pee-free
Reusable diaper benefits
- More economical as you don’t need to keep buying them (ideal for those looking to cut pet ownership costs)
- Better for the environment
- Encourage you to change your dog’s diaper more often as they can’t hold so much (this is a good thing as canines shouldn’t be sitting in their own pee too long)
Finding the right fit for your dog diaper
As you might imagine, wearing a diaper is going to take a bit of getting used to for your elderly dog, so you’ll need to find the right fit for ultimate comfort. Too tight and it could really hurt your pet, but too loose and they’ll be leaking everywhere!
Most belly bands and regular diapers come in sizes XS to XL, and you’ll need to know your dog’s weight and waist measurements before you shop. Here’s a handy size guide:
|XS||1.5 - 3.5 kg||10" - 13"|
|S||3.5 - 7 kg||13" - 19"|
|M||7 - 16 kg||18" - 25"|
|L||16 - 25 kg||20" - 27"|
|XL||25 - 40 kg||25" - 34"|
Remember, this is only a rough guide and you’ll need to check each specific brand for their measurements.
How to put on a dog diaper
Buying the diaper is the easy part – now you’ve got to get it on your pet! Don’t worry, as long as you set the tone, use a reassuring voice, and do things gently, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
Follow these 5 steps for success:
- Create a calm environment and wait for your dog to fully relax. Keep some treats close by if you normally use them for training.
- Wipe your pet’s hindquarters, groin and top of legs with a damp cloth or dog wipe. Leaving the area dirty can lead to skin irritation and infection, which could see you claiming on your senior dog insurance in the UK.
- If using a traditional-style diaper, pull your furry friend’s tail through the hole and push the diaper down to the base of the tail. Your dog might resist having its tail touched at first but keep calm and you’ll get there.
- If you’ve got a belly band type diaper, make sure it’s covering your male dogs’ genitals to prevent accidents.
- Wrap the straps around your dog and secure them. The sticky tabs will usually come together on your dog’s back. Make sure the fit isn’t too tight or too loose – you should be able to put two fingers comfortably under the strap.
And there you have it! It wasn’t so difficult, was it? Remember to change the diaper every time it’s been used by checking it every hour or two. Leaving your beloved Rover in a soiled nappy for too long can lead to skin problems and even a UTI.
Clean the area and pop on a new diaper whenever necessary to help your pet feel clean and fresh. If you’re at all worried about putting a diaper on your dog or think they might have developed a rash, call our 24-hour vet video service for advice at no extra cost if you have senior dog insurance in the UK with Petwise.
5 of the best dog diapers, belly bands and pee pads for senior dogs
You know which kind of diaper you want, have worked out your dog’s size and are ready to get shopping. But with such an array of options, it can be a little overwhelming for first-time nappy buyers!
We’ve got your back and have done the hard work for you. Here are our dog diaper top picks based on customer reviews and ratings:
- Pet Soft Dog Nappies (From £13.99)
- Best for: Female dogs with incontinence or periods
- Size: XS, S, M, L, XL
- Type: Reusable
If you’re looking for a comfortable, washable nappy for your furry friend, these diapers are an excellent choice. They’re easy to secure in place and can withstand plenty of washes – keep water temperature low to extend their life.
The inner pads are super absorbent to prevent leaking and keep your furniture dry and clean. Choose your favourite flower designs and get 3 pairs so you’re never caught without a fresh diaper again!
- Simple Solution True Fit Dog Diapers (From £9.60)
- Best for: Female dogs with incontinence or periods
- Size: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, 2XL
- Type: Disposable
Looking for something convenient, mess-free and comfortable for your pet? These throwaway nappies will do the trick!
Hair getting caught in folds and straps is no issue with these fur-friendly diapers. They stay true to their name, too, fitting snugly on even the wiggliest of dogs in town and preventing leaks. You won’t find many options more absorbent than these! But don’t forget to change them often.
- MICOOYO Dog Nappies (From £11.99)
- Best for: Male dogs with incontinence
- Size: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
- Type: Reusable
Take your pick from a range of fun designs to suit your male dog with these comfortable belly bands. With a sewn-in pad and waterproof exterior, your carpets and sofa will be free from accidents.
The belly bands are machine and hand washable and can easily be adjusted to fit your dog’s exact size and shape, meaning less chance of them being shaken off.
- Trixie Twelve Diapers (From £8.42)
- Best for: Male dogs with incontinence
- Size: S-M, M-L, L-XL
- Type: Disposable
No time to wash reusable diapers? These disposable belly bands are highly absorbent for canines who struggle to hold it in and fit well thanks to the elasticated waistband.
They’re a great hygienic option for seniors with incontinence and are easy to change when you’re in a rush.
- PET IMPACT Washable Dog Incontinence Pads (£26.99)
- Best for: Preventing accidents in the home
- Size: 90 x 80 x 1 cm
- Type: Pee pad
Last but not least on our list isn’t a diaper, but it comes in handy if you’re ever without one or your senior still has accidents during the night. Keep it by the back door for emergencies or on your pet’s favourite sofa spot to keep it dry.
The pads are washable and come with a high absorption rate for elderly canines who need the toilet often. The non-slip backing is an added bonus to stop old dogs from slipping and getting injured (which could also save you a claim on your senior dog insurance in the UK).
Can I make my own dog diapers?
Yes! If you fancy trying your hand at making your own diaper, all you need is a pair of scissors and an old item of clothing – t-shirt, sock or even your toddler’s onesie! You name it, you can probably make a diaper out of it.
Use a baby’s nappy as a guide if you plan to cut clothing into the right shape and insert a sanitary pad for better absorption.
Can I use human diapers for dogs?
Pet products can be costly if you’re constantly buying diapers for your old dog, and baby nappies might seem like a much more economical option in the long run.
Well, you’ll be pleased to know that you can use human diapers on dogs. Just make sure you cut a hole for their tail to poke through!
How can I keep my dog’s diaper on?
Don’t be surprised if your canine companion doesn’t take to wearing a diaper at first! They might gnaw at it and pull it off, so how can you help secure it in place?
- Special diaper pins (don’t use safety pins as these could injure your pet).
- Suspender straps with a clip that criss-cross over your dog’s back and chest, like these ones from FunnyDogClothes.
- Masking tape to secure straps (keep it away from fur).
How often should my dog wear a diaper?
This depends entirely on your dog and what they need a nappy for. Some owners only need to use them at night as their pet has plenty of peeing opportunities throughout the day. Others use them whenever they're at home and some need a diaper when they’re out and about, too.
You’ll need to speak to your vet to decide what’s best for your loyal friend.
Which dog diapers are best for poop?
If your dog is potentially going to be peeing and pooping in their diaper, you’ll need one that completely covers their behind, so no belly bands for boys.
It’s also a good idea to use disposable diapers. Why? Not only is cleaning a dirty nappy by hand a bit messy, but you also don’t want it in the washing machine where those poo particles could mix with your clothes.
Pet poop can be harmful to humans, says the NHS, harbouring bacteria and sometimes parasites that could make you very ill. This is why it’s also preferable to use disposable gloves when cleaning and changing a diaper.
Do dogs get diaper rash?
Just like a human baby, your beloved dog can develop a diaper rash if you’re not careful. Extended exposure to pee and poop on their fur and skin can cause irritation and even lead to urinary tract infections.
The last thing you want is to cause your canine companion to feel pain and discomfort, so frequent diaper changes are a must.
Don’t forget to cover them with senior dog insurance in the UK to get them emergency care if they do develop a rash or infection, however if it is deemed as a pre-existing condition, it would not be covered.
Your vet will likely prescribe a cream or ointment to treat skin irritation and antibiotics to help an infection.
Protect your pooch with pet insurance
Diaper rash and incontinence aren’t the only health issues your pet might have to contend with as they enter their golden years. Older canines are much more susceptible to a host of medical problems that could seriously impact their quality of life.
After years of unconditional love and companionship, the greatest way for you to give back to your beloved pet is by taking out senior dog insurance in the UK.
Here at Petwise, we believe the senior citizens of the canine world deserve just as much protection as their younger counterparts.
With no upper age limit for joining, benefits of the cover include:
- Dental cover as standard
- A food contribution
- Access to our unlimited 24-hour vet video service at no additional cost
Our support doesn’t end when you have to say goodbye, either. We’re here to help you and your family with farewell cover and a bereavement helpline.
Want senior dog insurance in the UK that’s packed with benefits? Talk to the team at Petwise today.