What can I say – dog incontinence is not a nice, warm & fuzzy topic to talk about. I didn’t realize just how many dogs and their owners are trying to deal with it on a daily basis. Like some people, we spent a lot of time trying very home made contraptions, with varying degrees of success, but the main problem always seemed to be getting anything to stay put long enough to be effective. There are heaps of dog incontinence diapers on the market now, and if you are buying, my best advice is to purchase some trial quantities to start with – every dog is different and what works for one family may not for another. Before talking about a few of the options out there, I wanted to share our own experience with you.
Rocky – our late male, German Shepherd dog
Rocky was a typical German Shepherd throughout most of his life – big boned, bouncy, friendly, and very hairy – he was a mid-coated Shepherd. However, right from a young age, it became apparent he was going to have joint problems.
When only 6 months old, he was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia. He subsequently had an operation to remove a floating piece of bone, and after a recovery period life got pretty much back to normal. After another few years, we noticed a stiffness in his two back hips, and sure enough he also had hip dyplasia. At this point Rocky was 5, and the medical team suggested if his quality of life deteriorated too much we might like to think about a hip replacement in a couple of years. So with regular joint supplements and pain killers when needed, he soldiered on.
Needless to say, at 10 he was still going strong – pulled on by the strength in a very broad chest and strong front legs. But half way through his 11th year, his bowel started to malfunction and he really alternated between constipation and incontinence.
After further visits to the vet, it was determined he had a double perineal hernia – which seemed pretty unfair, given everything else he had been through. After a lot of agonizing we decided (rightly or wrongly) to put him through another operation. The intention was to perform a double repair, but due to his hip dysplasia the surgeon couldn’t manipulate his right side easily and after some time the operation was halted due to length of time under anesthesia. Only one hernia had been repaired, and the surgeon felt we could return him at a later date to have the second one repaired.
So, it was home to recover (again!) with another “lampshade head” scenario. The incontinence came back with a vengeance, and it really was a case of “leaky bottom” all the time. At night, we kept Rocky in the kitchen as the floor was easily cleaned, but we would come down almost every morning to doggy poop from wall to wall. We went on like this for several months. We even used men’s boxers on backwards with a hole cut for his tail, with heavy duty ladies’ pads inside. These worked for short periods, but never lasted all night – he was just too big and moved around too much.
So the upshot is, we have experienced dog incontinence and now I am going to talk about what you can use to help mitigate the situation.
What is the main issue?
Getting a diaper that actually fits your dog. Just like people, dogs come in all shapes and sizes – some tails are bushier than others and being a male or female canine comes with their own set of problems. Obviously for male dogs, urine incontinence puts moisture pressure into a completely different area! So, size and fastenings are going to be the key things to think about here. It may be you need to try a few out before deciding on what works best for your partciular dog.
Disposable or non-disposable?
Well, different strokes for different folks – I personally like a compromise between the two. At home, a diaper that can be washed and re-used is not a problem, but if out and about, or on holidays, disposable diapers are a lot more convenient. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, it’s entirely on how you feel yourselves about environmental issues versus making life a little simpler – and I’m not here to judge anyone.
My top 3 to try are:
Average customer rating: 4.4 out of 5
Note: small size is best for small dogs or puppies, with a waist size of 7-13″
- The colours! So much more exciting than ordinary white!
- They can be machine washed
- Highly absorbent and they come with a waterproof layer
- Softer than some other diapers to help your dog accept them – some others have a “noisier” texture that can put dogs off
- They have velcro fasteners which won’t stick to your dog’s fur
What’s not so good?
- I really had to look hard to find any negatives about these, and the only gripe anyone seems to have is that the fit isn’t quite right and in some cases the tail hole is too small. I do think manufacturers give their best estimates in terms of sizing, after all they wouldn’t want to annoy people on purpose. I just think that there are some dogs out there who may vary from a standardised size. This is one of the reasons I suggest trying out some before deciding what is going to work best.
Average customer rating: 3.9 out of 5
- They fit male and female dogs,m and the medium size fits a weight range 15 lbs – 35 lbs
- Designed to fit comfortably around the leg
- Has fasteners that are designed to be kind on fur
- A tail hole – your dog can still wag it’s tail!
- Have a breathable layer and protection against pesky leaks
- Can fit Simple Solution Disposable Liners for even greater protection
What’s not so good?
- If you are needing these for bowel incontinence, take care the tail hole is not so large that matter can escape through
- Some people have found their sneaky dogs can get them off during the night
N.B. Just like there are dogs that can chew every single toy, so too will there be dogs that can remove any kind of diaper!
Average customer rating: 3.6 out of 5
Note: small/medium size is designed to fit dogs with a 15-23″ waist
- Designed specifically for male dogs
- The fasteners (a hook and eye belt) allow a custom fit to your dog – greater freedom of movement, but still good leak prevention
- Has a liner that sucks moisture away for added hygiene
- A leak proof barrier too
What’s not so good?
- The customisable belt part, that allows a good fit also means that it takes a bit longer to get on and off – so not good if you have a dog that won’t stand still
- There is only one diaper in each pack – a two-or three pack might be good to allow time for washing and drying in between use
I hope this has helped you learn a bit more about a few of the options available. I think these ones are all good, but I would love your feedback on any other you think are better or even ones you don’t like. Please do comment below with any feedback, or if you want to ask a question.