Although many dogs have the occasional accident, most learn to go to the bathroom outdoors and avoid doing so inside or in other inappropriate places.
Some may take considerably longer than others to accept these rules, and a few may present lifelong problems in this regard, but most will eventually stop pooping and peeing in the house. Especially large breeds – small breeds usually have more trouble learning to “hold it.”
However, that doesn’t mean large breeds are completely immune to these struggles, and even the best trained dogs can have issues. Fortunately, most such issues are temporary, and there is an easy way to address the problem. You just have to use diapers specifically designed for dogs.
We’ll talk about dog diapers below and explain everything you need to know about them. We’ll even recommend five of the best dog diapers for large breeds currently on the market.
There are a variety of reasons a dog may need diapers, but some of the most common are explained below. It bears mentioning that some dogs may need diapers for more than one reason, but thankfully, this is somewhat rare.
Some dogs may simply have trouble grasping the concept of housetraining. They may be perfectly physically capable of controlling their bladder and bowels, but they still poop or pee on inside anyway. Fortunately, this is typically not a problem with large breeds.
Owners who fail to train their dog properly may find themselves cleaning up the floor more often than they’d like. This is actually a pretty common reason for the housetraining process to fail. Just check out our housetraining guide if you think you made a few mistakes while training your puppy.
Dogs are famous for marking their territory and communicating with other dogs by urinating on things, and sometimes, these things can include your home and belongings. This is generally only a problem with male dogs, although females may mark their territory during their heat cycles.
A variety of health problems, ranging from acute or chronic diseases to traumas and injuries, can make it difficult for dogs to wait until they go outside to go to the bathroom. In some cases, these health problems will only temporarily affect a dog’s ability to control his body, but it can also end up being a lifelong problem for some serious medical conditions.
Many (if not most) dogs will eventually experience age-related incontinence. Old age is rarely the actual, proximate cause of the problem, but the types of health problems that do cause incontinence will generally become more likely with age. Unfortunately, dogs who end up requiring diapers for age-related problems will usually need them for the rest of their lives.
Female dogs don’t usually experience any housetraining difficulties when going through their heat cycle (although some may need to urinate more frequently than normal). However, they will produce a bloody discharge during this time, which can quickly cause a huge mess.
Male and female dogs are obviously built differently, but the actual anatomical differences between the two are quite important as far as diapers are concerned.
There’s no real difference in rectum location between male and female dogs, but the urethral openings are in drastically different places. For females, the urethral opening is tucked between their legs and tail, next to the vaginal opening and the rectum.
The urethral opening for males, on the other hand, is located quite some distance away from the “crotch” area. A male dog’s penis resides in a sheath of skin on the lower portion of his belly, meaning that the urethral opening is positioned a fair distance in front of the rear legs.
Accordingly, dog diapers are usually sold in male and female varieties.
Female diapers look like a typical diaper, except that they feature a hole through which your dog’s tail can protrude. These cover the urethral opening, vaginal opening and rectum of female dogs.
Male diapers, on the other hand, are usually designed like a band, and they wrap around a dog’s lower belly region. These diapers only cover the urethral opening of boys.
In a nutshell, this means that females always need female diapers, but males can use either style to suit their needs. Just be sure that if you use female diapers for your male dog, the belly portion comes up far enough to cover the tip of his penis. If it doesn’t, you may need to use a male and female diaper at the same time to ensure sufficient coverage.
New parents often have plenty of questions about human diapers and the diapering process, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that dog owners have similar questions relating to diapers. We’ll answer some of the most common dog diaper questions below.
Female dog diapers will usually work for poop, although they’ll create a pretty big mess in the process. Your dog’s fur will likely become soiled, and he’ll essentially need a bath after each diaper change. Additionally, some diapers allow poop to escape via the tail hole.
Disposable diapers are designed like human diapers are, and they’ll use adhesive strips to stay put. Reusable or washable diapers, however, usually rely on Velcro straps to stay in place, although a few models rely on snaps or buttons.
Ideally, you should change your dog’s diaper any time it becomes soiled or saturated. However, it can be difficult to determine exactly when this occurs, so you should just try to change it as frequently as circumstances and your budget allow. You can figure that most dogs will need at least three diaper changes each day.
In a word, no. Unlike human babies, your dog has a tail (even it if its docked), and he needs a diaper that provides a hole through which his tail can pass. Some owners try to cut tail holes in human diapers, but this will rarely work. In fact, it’ll usually cause the diaper to leak.
Most dogs will learn to accept diapers, but few will be excited to wear them at first. Some dogs will resist your efforts to put the diaper on the first few times, but if you remain firm in your commitment, most dogs will relent and allow you to put it on. Be sure to provide plenty of praise and positive reinforcement once they do.
There are a number of things to think about when picking out good diapers for your large-breed dog. Some of the most important include:
The first thing you have to decide when shopping for dog diapers is whether you want disposable diapers or reusable (washable) diapers. Disposable diapers are convenient to use, but reusable diapers are cheaper over the long run, and they’re probably better for the planet too.
Sizing challenges are common among owners trying to fit their dogs with diapers, no matter what size pet they have. Generally speaking, the problem large dog owners usually have is finding diapers that are big enough to fit their pet (this usually isn’t a problem with puppies).
This problem is most pronounced when it comes to disposable dog diapers – very few companies make diapers for dogs who have a waist larger than 31 inches or so. Dogs larger than this will generally be forced to use washable diapers.
Although your dog won’t care what his diapers look like, most owners will prefer to use those that match their own aesthetic tastes. There are a number of options on the market, including bold or subdued colors and various prints. Most disposable diapers, however, are simply white or covered in a relatively generic print.
There are dozens of different dog diapers on the market, but only a handful are high-quality products that will provide the kind of coverage your dog needs. The following six – including four that are washable and two that are disposable -- fit the bill perfectly and represent some of the best options available on the market.
User Reviews: Most owners who tried Weegreeco Washable Male Dog Diapers found that they worked extremely well. Several reported that, unlike some other belly bands, Weegreeco Diapers seemed to stay in place, no matter how their dog moved or twisted while raising his leg. However, they are not restrictive, and they still allow dogs to run, jump and play as they normally would.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for high-quality dog bands for your big male dog, Weegreeco Washable Male Diapers should receive serious consideration. They’re not only some of the largest reusable male diapers bands on the market (thereby making them the perfect choice for giant dogs), they’re also well-made, and they don’t appear to leak.
User Reviews: Pet Parents Premium Washable Male Diapers received very good reviews from most owner who tried them (a high percentage of owners rated them as a 4- or 5-star product). They appear to fit dogs comfortably, and a few owners remarked that they are capable of storing a significant amount of liquid. A few owners complained that the Velcro strips eventually stopped working, but this is likely an isolated issue.
Bottom Line: Pet Parents Premium Washable Dog Diapers are very effective diapers that appear to work exactly as advertised. Additionally, Pet Parents donates belly bands to non-profit dog shelters, so you can help out other dogs by buying from the brand. They may not fit the very largest dogs around, but they should be big enough to fit most.
These diapers will fit dogs with waists between 27- and 35-inches.
User Reviews: Most owners were very pleased with the Weegreeco Washable Female Dog Diapers. They appear to work splendidly for containing urine and heat-cycle-related discharges, although some owners complained that they would not contain poop very well. Some owners did report that the tail hole was a bit small, so these are probably not the best choice for dogs with really fluffy or fat tails.
Bottom Line: The Wegreeco Washable Female Dog Diapers are high-quality, well-made diapers, that should help contain most messes that female dogs can make. They look great, don’t make a lot of noise and they’re priced reasonably. They are, however, better for large, rather than giant, thanks to the tail-hole size issues.
User Reviews: Pet Parents Premium Washable Dog Diapers received pretty good reviews from most owners who tried them. Most owners reported that they fit well and were adequately leak-proof and absorbent. However, these diapers do not appear to work very well for male dogs, as they don’t provide total penis coverage.
Bottom Line: Pet Parents Washable Female Diapers are a great choice for female dogs, but they may not be the best choice for males. The tail hole seems to be a bit larger than the ones included with some other dog diapers, so they may also be a good choice for female dogs with thick or fluffy tails.
Veterinarian’s Best Disposable Male Diapers are well-made, high-quality disposable belly-band-style diapers that will help prevent your dog from urinating inside. Among the biggest disposable male dog diapers on the market, Veterinarian’s Best Diapers will fit dogs with a waist size of up to 31.5 inches.
User Reviews: Although these disposable diapers did not work for all dogs and their owners, the majority of those who tried them were pleased with their performance. Many who tried the Veterinarian’s Best Disposable Diapers rated them as a 4- or 5-star product. Several owners praised the repositionable fasteners and explained that they made it easy to achieve a snug fit.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a disposable, belly-band-style diaper for your male dog, Veterinarian’s Best Male Diapers are a great choice. They aren’t large enough for giant dogs, but they should fit most large breeds well. Additionally, the wetness indicator is a very helpful feature, that should help you ensure your dog’s comfort, while preventing unnecessary diaper changes.
User Reviews: Most owners liked Veterinarian’s Best Female Dog Diapers, although several had difficulties with the product. For example, some owner found that the tail hole did not seem to be positioned correctly for their dog. Nevertheless, these are some of the best-reviewed female dog diapers available, and they worked very well for many owners.
Bottom Line: Although these won’t work for the biggest dogs, they are likely big enough for the majority of large female dogs. The wetness indicator is a very nice feature, and it will help ensure that your dog doesn’t walk around with a wet diaper all day. Additionally, despite being made from high-quality materials, these disposable diapers are pretty affordable too.
Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in need of dog diapers, but if you do, be sure to choose good ones, which are suitable for your pet. Poorly made, poorly chosen, or poorly sized diapers won’t work well, and they’ll likely lead to a huge mess.
But if you choose one of the five products detailed above and choose the proper size, you’ll likely find that they’re immensely helpful during difficult times.
Let us know about your experiences with large dog diapers in the comments below.
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