What Are Dog Diapers and Does Your Dog Need Them?

Updated: May 29, 2024

I'm a pet expert—here's how to know whether your furry friend needs dog diapers, and which ones to choose.

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Loving a dog means dealing with pet waste. We expect pets to eliminate in the right place and on our human schedule, but pets don’t always act the way we expect.

Thankfully, today we have many options for keeping messy pooches comfortable, and our homes clean. Dog diapers—just like those designed for human infants or adults with incontinence issues—contain the pet’s waste for easy disposal. They offer a sanitary management solution for pet lovers. If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly and economical alternative, these washable dog pee pads and these reusable puppy pads are just what you need.

Most dogs are part of the family and spend time indoors with their beloved humans. They not only share our hearts, but many also share our beds and pillows. So dogs who mess in their bed (or YOUR bed, yuck!) create additional unsanitary issues. That disrupts the loving bond you share with your pet.

Sure, you can choose washable dog beds, and probably should. (Check out 20 more dog bed options here.) But dog diapers offer an easy, economical way to save relationships, reduce nasty bedding accidents, and prevent other stains around the house.

The Best Dog Diapers

Pet Parents Belly Band Male Dog Wrapvia chewy.com via chewy.com

Best reusable male wrap for boy dog diapers

Pet Parents Belly Band Male Dog Wrap


  • Variety of size and color options
  • Easy to take on and off
  • Reusable and easy to clean
  • Extender included


  • Runs small

I like the Pet Parents Belly Band Male Dog Wrap because it comes in a pack of three, with a wide range of sizes and colors. The sewn-in absorbent material wicks away moisture, with a waterproof exterior shell that keeps everything tidy. They’ll stand up to multiple washings, so they’re a great bang for your buck.

As it says in the name, these are more of a wrap than a full diaper. This means it will likely be easier to fit since you won’t have to take the size of your dog’s thighs into account. It will likely also be easier to take on and off, which is great if your dog is easily annoyed.

So Phresh Washable Diaper For Dogsvia petco.com via petco.com

Best reusable dog diapers

So Phresh Washable Diaper for Dogs


  • Eco-friendly and reusable
  • Wide size range
  • Moisture-wicking, leak-proof and quick-drying


  • Secures with velcro, which isn't very durable

The So Phresh Washable Diaper for Dogs offers two diapers in one package. Its five sizes can fit breeds from Chihuahuas to Goldens. The moisture-wicking liner, leak-proof barrier and quick-drying outer layer offer an eco-friendly alternative to disposable options.

These fabric, washable diapers are likely to be more lightweight and breathable for your pup than disposable options, which is especially helpful for dogs trying to stay cool in the summer. Plus, the material conforms to their body better for a more secure fit, and there’s likely to be less swishing sounds as they walk.

Hartz Disposable Dog Diapersvia walmart.com via walmart.com

Best disposable small dog diapers

Hartz Disposable Dog Diapers


  • Affordable
  • Leakproof for up to 6 hours
  • True to size and fit securely
  • Very absorbent


  • Slightly better fit for female dogs

Hartz Disposable Dog Diapers offer a good value, especially for puppies and little breeds like Chihuahuas. They come in sizes fitting dogs from 7.5 pounds to 26 pounds. The brand’s innovative FlashDry technology turns liquid to gel, which makes leaks less likely, especially during the first six hours of wear.

In addition to the wide size range, you can reposition the velcro tabs to ensure a secure fit for in-between-sized dogs or puppies with a tendency to wiggle out of diapers. And the tail hole is even adjustable if your dog’s tail needs more room.

Simple Solution Disposable Dog Diapersvia amazon.com via amazon.com

Best disposable female dog diapers

Simple Solution Disposable Dog Diapers


  • Specifically designed for female dogs
  • Budget-friendly
  • Wide size range
  • Stretchy, absorbent and leak-proof
  • Have a convenient wetness indicator
  • Over 21,900 reviews and 4.2 stars on Amazon


  • Tabs could be bigger and stronger

The thirty-count Simple Solution Disposable Dog Diapers offer a great value. They feature “fur-friendly” fasteners and ingenious wetness indicator lines that turn blue when the diaper is ready to be changed, which will keep your girl happy and dry. Five sizes—extra-small to extra-large—and stretchable fabric mean they’ll fit any size female dog.

Being specially designed for female dogs, these diapers will give you and her a lot of relief, whether she’s in heat, potty training or struggling with other issues.

Top Paw Disposable Male Wrap Dog Diapersvia petsmart.com via petsmart.com

Best disposable male wrap for boy dog diapers

Top Paw Disposable Male Wrap Dog Diapers


  • Wetness indicator
  • Offers 5 size options
  • Comes in a smaller pack, which is convenient for short-term needs


  • Only available at PetSmart
  • Larger sizes are on the pricier side

The Top Paw Disposable Male Wrap Dog Diapers contain twelve wraps, which is a smaller amount than the typical diaper pack, making them a great option for short-term needs, like recovery from surgery.

The adjustable tabs make them easy to take on and off without having to worry about leaks, even while your dog is sleeping. With five different sizes, they get my vote for convenience and their color-changing wetness indicator.

Reasons why your dog may need a diaper

Here are some ways you and your dog can benefit from dog diapers.

  • Potty training: A clueless puppy without proper training may “whoops” in unexpected places. Diapers help protect your house from the mess until the pup learns potty etiquette.
  • Unspayed females: An intact girl dog’s bloody discharge stains carpets and furniture when they go into season. That can last two weeks or longer. Dog diapers contain the discharge and help thwart boy dog Romeos until your flirty girl dog gets spayed.
  • Recent adoption: Say you rescue a needy adult dog. He or she may not know proper potty behavior, or the stress of a new home could cause a lapse in his house training. A “hoser” dog leg-lifts to mark with urine all over your house, while a submissive pup “cries uncle” by peeing to say he’s sorry. Don’t blame the dog. The urine smell calms him down, so the more stress he feels from nail trimming, confrontations with the cat, or your frustration when he dumps his food bowl, the more he’ll baptize your home.
  • Physical injuries: Modern dogs live longer, fuller lives than ever before. Thank dog, we don’t give up on a pet with a physical challenge, either. Instead, we make accommodations for them. Dogs in wheelchairs live wonderful, fulfilling lives, but may lose bladder or bowel control. Dog diapers make it possible for disabled pets to stay with their people.
  • Old age: Just as women of a certain age have a bit of trouble with (ahem) spillage because of a loss of estrogen, the same thing happens with aging spayed girl dogs. They don’t mean to leak, it just happens.
  • Medications: Certain veterinary-prescribed medications increase urination and can cause potty accidents.
  • Cognitive issues: Finally, some senior citizen canines develop age-related cognitive issues, sort of a doggy version of senility. They may remember house training—or not—but forget how to tell you when they need to go outside. Or they simply can’t “hold it” long enough to reach the door.

What to look for when buying dog diapers

To use dog diapers most effectively, figure out the category of behavior they address. Do you need temporary help with a female in season or a dog that needs remedial potty etiquette training? These pets may only need to wear a disposable dog diaper when in the house and at night. If your dog requires help for the rest of his or her life, the cost increases. Washable dog diapers are available and are a good option.

Find the right diaper size for your dog

Choose products based on your dog’s waist, thigh and torso length. Girl dogs won’t need as much length as boy dogs, who need the material to cover the penis. Boy dogs may get by with wraps (sometimes called male wraps or belly bands) when you only need to contain urine.

Measure your dog’s waist with a tape measure around the tummy at the spot where the waist of the dog diaper falls, about two inches in front of the hips. For the length, place your tape measure at the waist location under the tummy, and measure backward between the legs and up over the tail to the top waist location. Some products also want thigh measurements. Dog diaper products provide size charts and measuring tips for the best fit.

How to train dogs to wear dog diapers

Be prepared to introduce your “leaky” dog to the idea step by step. First, set the diaper on the ground, let him sniff it and become familiar with the product. Next, slip it on your dog for only one minute while offering tasty smelly treats he adores, then take off the diaper. Give him a five-minute break, and repeat, leaving it on for two or three minutes, and so on.

If he doesn’t object, you’re doing well. It can take some time to teach your pet to understand he should accept the indignity for treats. Sometimes lots of treats.

Why you should trust us

I worked as a veterinary technician more than 20 years ago, and pet lovers then had the same complaints that they do now: puppies making potty messes and “leaky” old pets needing dog diapers. Today, I’m a certified animal behavior consultant for dogs and cats and the award-winning author of over 35 health care pet books. Many of my books and articles offer practical solutions for dealing with dog and cat challenges.

Woman changing diaper of her dog - estrus cycle conceptandriano_cz/Getty Images

How we found the best dog diapers

To find the best dog diapers on the market, I started with the basics, looking to popular products, positive customer reviews and expert recommendations. I also pulled from my extensive background as a pet expert to prioritize factors I know make a good dog diaper based on my experience, like a wide range of size options, affordability, absorbency and ease of adjustments. We can’t talk to the little guys (or at least hear them talk back), but we can do our best to make them comfortable.


How long can a dog wear a diaper?

You’ll probably need to change the diaper every three to four hours to prevent irritation (think of “diaper rash” with fur, yuck!). Check regularly for signs of elimination. Baby wipes keep your pooch clean with each change and soothe the skin.

You’ll learn your dog’s body rhythms quickly and know how long between changes she needs. Some products offer color-coded alerts when the diaper becomes soiled. Give your dog a break from wearing the diaper during romps outside where he or she can do what comes naturally.

How tight should a dog diaper be?

Your dog’s diaper should be secure enough not to fall off but not too tight that it chafes or is uncomfortable for your pup. Taking proper measurements of your dog’s thighs, waist and torso will help you find the right fit.

How do you put a diaper on a dog with no tail hole?

Most dog diapers feature a hole cut for the tail. The diaper may leak if your pooch has no tail (or a docked tail). Cover up the tail hole with tape, or look for a dog diaper without a hole. To contain everything, you could also use a disposable dog diaper underneath, covered with a washable diaper on the outside.

Are disposable or washable diapers better for dogs?

Disposable dog diapers get thrown away after one use. They’re made from paper material, with leak-proof outer coverings. These plastic covers can make crinkly sounds when the dog moves and some dogs dislike the sound.

Reusable dog diapers are cloth and machine-washable. They’re softer for dogs’ comfort and may be accepted more readily. Reusable dog diapers come in fun colors and patterns or match fur colors for a more discrete look. Some contain pockets to hold disposable pads. These often come in packages of two or more, so that you can rotate washing and drying others while your dog wears one. Depending on the product recommendations, they’re machine washable and can either be placed in the dryer or hung up to air dry.