Incontinent Dogs – Diaper Options

Living with incontinent dogs is NOT easy. I find myself surprised how frustrating, time-consuming, and icky having a totally incontinent dog (for months on end, with no resolution in sight) can be. I wish I could only focus on Lilly’s strength and recovery, but I cannot. Here is a recap of the diaper options we’ve tried, including links to specific products.

Keep in mind that when Lilly is asleep at night or in her crate during the day if / when we are gone, she does NOT wear a diaper. Instead, we use old bath mats and washable pee pads (like what they use in nursing homes) underneath her. Otherwise, we risk her EATING parts of the diapers … which has happened even when we are home.

Washable Dog Diapers for Incontinent Dogs

Many thanks to our friend Hilda for buying Lilly 2 denim, washable dog diapers. The denim ones we used aren’t available anymore, but you can find similar ones.

Pro: These seem to work BEST for us.

Pro: They fit really well, with no leaks for both kinds of accidents.

Con: They are kind of pricey ($22-$35 for 2 pair).

Con: They stretch out and get looser after washing, so it would be nicer if the velcro options were bigger.

Con: The built-in in diaper element would probably be OK for leaky dog, but not for a truly incontinent dog … So, we add 1/2 of a women’s incontinence pad to them.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie wearing a diaper

incontinent dogs diaper options

best dog blog, champion of my heart, washable dog diaper

Disposable Dog Diapers for Incontinent Dogs

If disposable dog diapers make more sense for your dog or your situation, you can find options for both female and male dogs.

Small, Maximum Absorbency Adult Diapers for Women

Pro: They can absorb even the biggest wet accident.

Pro: The waist band works well when cinched with a binder clip.

Con: They are expensive. $14-$20 for 18 of them at the grocery store. $42 for 38 of them at Costco.

Con: The big leg holes often let leaks out, when the dog lies down.

Con: Poop often falls out the leg holes.

incontinent dogs diaper options

Homemade / DIY Dog Diapers Using Boy’s Underwear and Women’s Incontinence Pads 

Pro: They fit pretty well when cinched, also with a binder clip.

Pro: Much less expensive than official dog diapers. I spent about $5 on 3 pair of boy’s underwear, and I can get 40 of the store-brand pads at Wal-Mart for about $9.

Bonus Pro: The pads are HUGE, so we cut them in half and get twice the number of accident protection moments out of one package.

Con: They seem to rub Lilly’s bony but a fair bit, and she has developed a little sore / diaper rash.

Con: Putting the underwear on backwards and using the fly hole works OK as a tail hole, but it’s hard to get them on/off and to keep her tail somewhat straight.

incontinent dogs diaper options

best dog blog, champion of my heart, homemade dog diaper supplies

best dog blog, champion of my heart, homemade dog diaper supplies

This was before we realized we could use 1/2 a pad per diaper wearing.

If you’d rather NOT use human incontinence pads for your dog because let’s face it they are pretty embarrassing to purchase in person, you can buy some specifically made for other washable dog diapers.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Yoyo - April 6, 2013

Hi there,

I have a cross breed …he is 15th having arthritis
It have been very difficult for him to walk and therefore getting tough for his daily routine …but yet he refuse to wear diaper….he get aggressive when I tried wear diaper on him.

Any suggestion

    Roxanne Hawn - April 6, 2013

    Oh, boy. That’s a tough situation. My only suggestion is to work with your veterinarian on pain control for your dog. The pain is probably why he is acting aggressive when you try the diaper. Maybe if he didn’t hurt so much, he would be better about having a diaper put on.

      Yoyo - April 6, 2013

      In my opinion ,
      It is not abt pain…
      He is already on pain killer
      I guess is his pride… Which refuse to let me put on the diaper….
      Would this be possible?
      Or any other way….

      I am in singapore, where my place do not have a huge space for him…there is it also adding on to the stress.

        Brianne - May 16, 2013

        I have a similar situation. My dog is 16, and is very frustrating to diaper. She growls and throws a big fit. I found she also has the start of dementia, so that is causing more issues with confusion in doing stuff like diapering. It’s a tough situation either way. Her main issue is she just leaks all the time. She never completely urinates (or only once in the last few months). She sleeps in my bed, so must wear a diaper. She has the option to stay on her bed without one on the floor next to me. She has decided that it’s worth enduring the diaper to come onto the bed. She still growls, but luckily is small enough I can control her and do it quickly. There are treatments and medications for dementia. If your dog is older, it might be something to look into and see if that is causing part or the freaking out. (it’s called cognitive dysfunction something or another in dogs, but is equivalent to dementia).

          Roxanne Hawn - May 16, 2013

          Both situations do sound frustrating (even more than having a dog who NEEDS diapers). I guess I’m VERY lucky that Lilly has taken really well to wearing diapers. :o/

4 The Dogs - September 27, 2012

I bought a male belly band and also full ruffles & bows dog diaper. Then I got inexpensive material and also fleece remnants and make my own. It’s great to have many to use while others are being washed!

Jen - September 26, 2012

It’s always interesting to me when a human-clothing option works out best for a dog. The backwards little boy’s underwear would be cute in a different situation!

Not as dire, but I got a GAP fleece vest for Elka last winter at Salvation Army for $3. I just zip it on her backwards, and it works just fine.

aTXtumbleweed - September 26, 2012

What size washable doggie diapers does Lilly wear?

    Roxanne Hawn - September 26, 2012

    Even though the sizing chart said border collies need a LARGE, we went with MEDIUM because Lilly is so tiny.

Living Large - September 25, 2012

I wish there were a magical solution. We have had elderly dogs and have found the options for dog diapers lacking. Good luck.

Peggy Frezon - September 24, 2012

It sounds like trial and error still. I’m wondering about kids Pull Ups or overnight training pants. They might be the right size?

RACHEL HOPPLE - September 24, 2012

We used the denim doggy diapers for our Peanut (for the last 5 years of her life)…she had nighttime incontinence. They worked well with a woman’s pad inside.

Sam - September 24, 2012

We’ve used the denim ones for dogs in heat before, with a pad, and they seem to work fairly well. I’m not sure I can think of other options.


Donna - February 2, 2013

We have a paralyzed male dachshund for 6 years now! Our trick is to buy the cheap size 4 diapers. Cut a small tail hole in one of the diapers and place it on the regular way you would a child pulling the tail through the tai hole!! We then take the second diaper and wrap it around the waste like a belly band! ! This keeps him very dry!! We then of course have to put size 8 mo baby clothes on him!! because he drags his legs! This diaper trick has been the most effective and cheapest we have done so far!

Roxanne Hawn - February 3, 2013

Thanks for those ideas, Donna. I’m so sorry to hear about your boy. SO many of the other neurology patients we see at the hospital are dachshunds with back trouble.

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