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dog parent must-knows
Dog urinating on a tree to mark territory

Human diapers are nothing new. We put baby diapers on infants and toddlers. People may wear them after giving birth, and older adults experiencing incontinence may use diapers as well. Doggie diapers are a bit of a newer concept. And then there are belly bands for dogs, which look like diapers and serve a similar purpose but are a bit different.

Some pet parents swear they’re game-changers for indoor urination problems, such as incontinence and marking behaviors. But are they worth a purchase?

What are belly bands for dogs? 

Belly bands are products made out of fabric or diaper material. The purpose of this doggie garment is to catch urine from either male urinary incontinence or marking. As the name implies, pet parents can apply a belly band by wrapping it around the middle of a male dog.

When to use a belly band on your dog

  • For a senior dog with incontinence. Like humans, some dogs can lose control of their bladder as they age . A belly band may help your senior pet if they’re having trouble making it outside. Be sure to check their belly band frequently.
  • For over-excited dogs. Does your doggie get a little too excited when people come over? If you’re training them not to do this behavior, using a belly band in the interim can help prevent them from peeing on guests.
  • For submissive urination. Some pups try to appease other animals or humans by submissively peeing if they are afraid, such as when greeted or scolded. Unlike excitement urination, dogs who submissively urinate display symptoms of fear, including cowered posture or rolling over. Using belly bands for dogs who engage in submissive urination can help mitigate messes.
  • For spot marking. If your dog marks in the house, belly bands can help prevent them from soiling furniture, carpeting, and other items you’d rather keep pee-free.

👉 If you have a female dog with incontinence or marking issues, you should use a dog diaper instead. 

When NOT to use a belly band 

Belly bands aren’t a catch-all for urinary issues (no pun intended). Pet parents should steer clear of belly bands in certain situations:

  • For housebreaking. If you’re potty training a new puppy, you shouldn’t rely on diapers or belly bands as a training aid. We believe there are more effective methods for potty training.
  • As a diaper. Unlike diapers, belly bands for dogs aren’t designed to hold a ton of urine and can leak or irritate your pup if kept on too long.
  • In a crate. Since belly bands can’t hold a lot of pee, they shouldn’t be left on your dog when you’re not home or sleeping for an extended period.
  • Outside. There’s no need to catch a pooch’s urine outside. Let them pee free.

If you use a belly band, follow these tips

Belly bands can be a useful tool, but you’ll want to follow a few steps carefully to ensure they remain effective and your pup remains comfortable.

Check them often — If you’re using belly bands, you’ll need to check them at least once an hour. Pet parents should replace wet ones with fresh, clean garments. According to our vet, Dr. Dwight Alleyne, urine scalding or irritation can occur if a soiled band is worn for too long, and it can lead to an infection that can spread.

Try talcum powder — According to Dr. Alleyne, “If you find that your dog’s skin is still irritated despite checking the belly band frequently, sometimes a small amount of talcum powder underneath the band may ease the irritation. But the ultimate goal would be to attempt to correct the problem that is requiring your dog to wear a belly band if possible when skin irritation is becoming an issue.”

Measure your dog for the right size with a tape measure — This step ensures your dog is comfortable and the belly band is a good fit. If that XS band is too small, you may need the next size. Likewise, get a smaller size if the XL is too big.

How to put a belly band on your doggie

Putting on a belly band is a pretty straightforward process. But anyone who has ever put a diaper on a human knows it’s essential to get it right, or else you may experience some unwanted surprises.

  1. Drape the belly band evenly over your dog’s back at the midsection.
  2. Ensure the velcro is separated.
  3. Wrap it around the male dog’s waist, taking care to cover their privates.
  4. It should be snug, but your dog should be able to breathe easily.
  5. Secure the velcro closures.
  6. Do a quick spot check to confirm that your pet is comfortably breathing, the velcro is secure, and the penis is covered.

Our favorite durable belly band

Pet Parents’ Belly Bands come in a pack of three, making them easy to swap out and lightening the amount of time you have to do laundry. They have a waterproof outer shell and are known for being absorbent, so leaks are few and far between as long as you apply the band correctly. The inner layer’s moisture-wicking fabric picks up liquid quickly, protecting your pet from rashes and burns and enhancing their comfort.

These reusable belly bands are washable, so pet parents won’t have to buy more. This feature is a major plus if you have a senior dog that will need lots of belly band changes.

What about DIY belly bands?

We recommend staying away from Pinterest for belly bands. If you decide that your dog needs a belly band, it’s best to buy one. First of all, you’ll probably save money. Plus, it can be challenging to make one unless you have great sewing skills.

Belly bands aren’t a long-term solution for marking in male dogs

Belly bands shouldn’t be a permanent solution for marking. They don’t teach our fur-babies not to mark. They only prevent urine from reaching the target.

Other ways to discourage marking

Belly bands are a quick-fix BandAid for marking. To nix this behavior long-term, try these tips:

Call in the vet — If a dog is marking, your first course should be to get a check-up from the vet to ensure there isn’t an underlying illness or issue.

When coming in to see your veterinarian, it will be helpful if you can bring in a urine sample from your dog for it to be evaluated.

Dr. Dwight Alleyne

DVM

Neuter your dog — Getting your pet fixed often cuts down on marking behaviors. The sooner you get your male dog neutered, the better. Marking becomes a harder habit to break the longer it continues.

Keep your house clean — Dogs go on scent and may be more likely to mark if they smell urine in an area. A good scrub-down of the spot a dog previously marked can help curb the urge to try again.

Get ahead of your pet — Does your dog display certain behaviors, such as sniffing in circles, before lifting their leg? If so, and you notice it happening, redirect your pet’s attention or usher them outside.

Provide distractions — Keep your dog engaged with plenty of toys. If they’re having fun, they may not have the urge to mark.

Frequently asked questions

Why is my male dog suddenly marking in the house?

Marking isn’t the same as urinating to empty a bladder. If your dog marks, it’ll be a smaller puddle (or mark on a cabinet or wall) than it would be for an accident. Both male and female dogs mark as a way to stake claim to an area. If your dog is suddenly marking, it may be a sign of anxiety. But, they may have a reason to want to signal that a certain area is “theirs,” such as a new animal or child in the home.

Do belly bands stop dogs from marking?

Belly bands don’t stop a marking behavior, but they’ll catch the pee, giving you less to clean up. They are a short-term fix to marking issues.

Do belly bands for dogs really work?

If applied correctly, a quality belly band will do its job — to prevent urine from landing anywhere in your home.

What is a belly band for dogs used for?

Belly bands are used to catch a male dog’s urine, keeping your home clean and potentially saving your sanity. Only male dogs can benefit from a belly band. They should be engaging in behaviors like marking, excitement peeing, submissive peeing, or incontinence.

Are belly bands uncomfortable for dogs?

Belly bands shouldn’t be uncomfortable for dogs, particularly if they’re the right size. It’s important to change them every hour, as built-up urine can cause burns and rashes. Be sure to get an accurate measurement before purchasing one. Apply them correctly so your pet can breathe comfortably.