How Long Can a Dog Wear a Diaper? [Answered]

When your dog can’t control their potty breaks, it’s heartbreaking. You want to do something to help, and you know those messes aren’t your dog’s fault… they can’t help it. Diapers can be an excellent solution for this, but there are a few things that you’ll need to know if you want to implement this solution.

So, how long can a dog wear a diaper?

The length of time will vary from dog to dog, so you’ll need to get them used to the diapers first, and then frequent changing will give you a realistic idea about how often you will need to change them. 

Today we’re going to address the most common questions about dogs and diapers so that you can have a better idea about exactly what you’ll need to do and what you should watch for. Let’s start off with how to get your dog used to diapers, and then we’ll get to common questions and then broach the subject of post-diaper care.

Note: Check with your vet for the best diapers if you are going to diaper your dog. A re-washable cloth solution is ideal, and you should avoid diapers for humans as the ‘super absorbency’ materials in most diapers can hurt or even kill your dog if they try to chew them!

How to get your dog used to wearing diapers

Introducing your dog to diapers is best done as a slow process. This will make things less stressful for your dog, and they’ll be more likely to leave the diaper alone, so let’s introduce them to it slowly and if they react badly, be sure to stop, wait, and try again.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Stash some treats in your pocket and put the diaper on the floor where your dog may investigate it. After they give it a few sniffs, give them a treat, unless they back away from it. Right now, we’re simply rewarding them for not being scared of it.
  • Pick up the diaper and show it to them again, giving your dog a treat if they still don’t back away. Try pressing the diaper against your dog’s lower back, and if they still don’t panic, yet another treat is called for.
  • Open the diaper and put it gently on your dog for a few moments before removing it again. Reward your dog and repeat the process.
  • Start small, with just a few minutes, and then try for longer periods throughout the day, rewarding your dog each time. Once your dog gets to a point where they are comfortable wearing the diaper for an hour, they are pretty much used to it, and you should be good!

We should note, if your dog keeps tugging and wiggling out of its diaper, you may want to try different sizes or even some dog suspenders. The dog suspenders are a good idea in general if your dog is fairly active, as they will keep the diaper in place quite nicely while your dog is enjoying a little running and playtime.

Can a dog wear a diaper overnight?

Wearing a diaper overnight is not ideal, as your dog can certainly get diaper rash if you aren’t careful. If necessity requires it, then you can leave the diaper overnight, but you’ll want to be sure to review our section on ‘avoiding diaper rash.

You might also consider a little crate training, as a crated spot for your dog with some pee-pads or faux grass might be a better option to avoid diaper rash altogether.

Can dogs wear diapers all the time?

If your dog is suffering from a health condition, such as incontinence, then diapers are an ideal solution. They will allow your dog to spend more time with you and your family, but you should know that diapers are only going to be part of the solution. Check with your vet in regards to your dog’s diet.

With a few dietary adjustments, you can help to ensure that your dog is passing more solid stools, and likely, your vet can recommend some medications to help to keep your dog more regular and thus more predictable so that you can implement a regularly changing schedule.

If your dog doesn’t have health issues, a diaper isn’t really the best idea. While it might look cute and prevent the occasional accident, crate training and standard potty training are going to be much better options. That said, let’s briefly touch on scenarios where a diaper is an ideal solution for your dog just so that we are clear on the issue.

When should a dog wear diapers? Health conditions where diapers are ideal

Diapers shouldn’t be used in lieu of potty training or simply to make your dog ‘look like a baby.’ We’ll go over the reasons why that is a bad idea in the next section, but for now, here are some excellent scenarios when a diaper can really be a good idea:

  • Incontinence from old age
  • UTI/Urinary Tract Infection
  • Kidney problems
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s disease

Diapers can help a lot for managing health issues such as these, but it’s also a good idea to get a few suggestions from your vet so that you can implement a combination of management solutions. For instance, there are pet beds available for incontinent dogs which employ a mesh that allows urine to pass through for ‘accidents’ at night.

Your vet can advise of these medications, and dietary adjustments that can make a whole lot of difference in the quality of your dog’s life, so it is well worth the consult!

So, is it bad for dogs to wear diapers if they don’t have health issues?

While some people are tempted to go the diaper route when a pup is responding poorly to potty training, it’s not really a good idea. For one thing, many dogs can’t or won’t poop in a diaper, which can lead to discomfort and may cause further bowel problems over time.

With puppies and potty training, the best thing to practice is patience. Your puppy can typically ‘hold it’ for approximately 1 hour per month of age, so try adjusting your potty-break schedule to match this until your dog is old enough to avoid accidents. The occasional diaper won’t hurt, but if it’s the frequency that’s got you worried, this is completely normal behavior.

Your puppy just has a small bladder right now, and you’ll need to schedule breaks accordingly.

Avoiding diaper rash

A great way that many dog owners use to keep diaper rash at bay is to use baby wipes. Get hypoallergenic baby wipes, and you’ll want to use them on your dog 6 or 7 times a day once the diaper is removed. This will help to keep your dog clean and help to keep diaper rash at bay when your dog absolutely needs to wear diapers.

Some final words on dogs and diapers

With the tips which we have provided today, you should have the basics that you need to get started helping your dog with diapers. Remember, only ‘natural’ diapers will do; you can’t use any with absorbent chemicals added as these are highly toxic.

Learn your dog’s schedule and change diapers regularly, cleaning with hypoallergenic baby wipes after each use. Finally, don’t forget to check with your vet for additional strategies. While it can be frustrating at first, with a little planning and a whole lot of patience, you can help your dog to be happier and healthier, and you won’t have to worry about messes around the house. 

Everything will be fine, just strategize with our tips and give it time!