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Five dog diapers

Testing doggie diapers in The Lab

If your dog is in heat, has a UTI, or is simply prone to accidents, you might consider putting them in a diaper. But you’ll want to make sure the diapers you choose are comfortable and offer movability while still being snug enough to prevent leaks.

Our team tested and reviewed several doggie diapers on the market, comparing each one against several criteria: absorbency, fit, material, durability, portability, and safety. In addition to testing each product, we also had our vet review each diaper. Below are our recommendations for the best doggie diapers out there:

Doggie diapers we loved 

Our top pick

This disposable option from Paw Inspired offers high-level absorbency and passed our liquid test with flying colors. Since it works for dogs of all sizes, including dogs in heat, it’s our overall winner. One downside, though? If your pup is a big chewer, they might be able to bite at the band at the top that helps keep these diapers secure.

  • Absorbency. This diaper includes materials that turn urine into gel to prevent leaks. We found that this diaper absorbed liquid within seconds and rated its overall absorbency a 10 out of 10.
  • Fit. The contoured fit rests snugly against your dog’s body, and fur-resistant, adjustable fasteners make it easy to get a secure and comfortable fit. We also found the tabs to be stickier on this diaper than others we reviewed.
  • Material. These diapers are made from a breathable paper-like material. The fasteners attach to a textured band of fabric around the waist, which acts almost like velcro to help keep the diaper secure.
  • Durability. In our tests, we found that these diapers weren’t easy to rip or tear.
  • Portability. You could fit quite a few of these diapers into a bag without much trouble. The small size we tested folds up flat for easy portability.
  • Safety. One thing to note is that if your dog loves to chew, we found that the band around the waist of this diaper could potentially be removed with a little tugging. For most dogs, though, we don’t think this should be an issue.

What our vet thinks

Our vet Dr. Dwight Alleyne feels this diaper would be extremely comfortable for most dogs, making it a great choice if you’re interested in disposable diapers. The only real drawback here is that these diapers don’t have any kind of color-change indicator.

Our pick for male dogs

This option from All-Absorb was the only disposable belly band we tested — but with a 10 out of 10 absorbency rating in our liquid test, they’re a true winner for male dogs. Out of the two belly band options we tested, this one was our favorite for its ability to soak up liquid quickly. This wrap fits comfortably around a dog’s belly without sticking to fur and even changes color when it’s wet.

  • Absorbency. We gave this brand a 10 out of 10 for absorbency. The half cup of liquid we poured into the pad of this belly band absorbed very quickly.
  • Fit. These male dog wraps have adjustable, fur-safe fasteners that are sticky enough to ensure a snug fit. The stretchy material also allows your dog to move freely.
  • Material. This disposable belly band feels similar to a regular baby diaper. The outer layer is designed for breathability and comfort.
  • Durability. We found that this material didn’t rip or tear easily. While the liquid absorbed quickly, the sides seemed just a little loose, meaning eventual leaks could be possible.
  • Portability. The material of these belly wraps is super easy to fold up and take with you.
  • Safety. This option gave us no cause for concern in terms of safety. We didn’t notice anything that could become a choking hazard.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Alleyne likes the wetness indicator on these belly bands. He also feels that the stretchy material would offer dogs plenty of range of motion to lift their legs.

Our eco-friendly pick for male pups

Reusable dog diapers can be just as reliable as disposable alternatives, as evidenced by the Paw Legend Washable Belly Wrap. We love this belly band for its black lining, which makes it easy to avoid stains. One drawback for eco-minded pet parents to be aware of, though, is that it did arrive wrapped in plastic.

  • Absorbency. These diapers claim to be 100% leak-free. We gave them a 7 out of 10 for absorbency. Although they didn’t leak, some liquid did pool at the bottom of the pad. That said, as long as you change your pup frequently, you shouldn’t have any problems.
  • Fit. These belly bands had the stickiest fasteners of all the diapers we tested. Once you find the perfect fit, this belly band shouldn’t budge.
  • Material. The outer material of this wrap is soft but synthetic. The inside feels surprisingly similar to a disposable diaper.
  • Durability. These diapers are very durable. They held up when we ran them through a washing machine, and the fasteners remained sticky even after a wash. The fabric includes a black lining, which we like for its ability to hide stains.
  • Portability. These diapers, which come in packs of three, are easy to fold up. We tested the small size and were able to fold each diaper into a compact bundle.
  • Safety. The belly band alone seems safe, but the package does include extra fastener pieces that you should store out of your dog’s reach.

What our vet thinks

Our vet appreciates that these diapers are washable, which can be more cost-effective for pet parents who don’t want to keep restocking disposable alternatives.

Best for the environment

When it comes to sustainability, the Pet Parents Washable Dog Diapers don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. These diapers even come in a reusable, resealable bag that you can use for storage. The diapers work for all dogs and can be washed to avoid creating waste. A fun feature: They come in a wide range of color options — from neutrals to bright purple, pink, and blue.

  • Absorbency. We were impressed with the absorbency of these fabric diapers, which were similar to the Paw Legend belly bands in that they received a 7 out of 10 in our absorbency test. While they didn’t leak, a small amount of liquid did pool at the bottom of these diapers, which is something to keep in mind.
  • Fit. These diapers have sticky fasteners that can be adjusted to ensure the right fit for your pup.
  • Material. Pet Parents’ diapers are made from 100% polyester. The exterior is soft, and the interior feels a lot like a disposable diaper.
  • Durability. We ran these diapers through the washing machine and found that they held up well. The fasteners remained sticky, and there were no signs of wear or tear.
  • Portability. Since it’s made of cloth, this diaper folds up a bit better than disposable options.
  • Safety. There are no loose parts or extra fasteners here, so we didn’t have any safety concerns.  

What our vet thinks

These diapers impress Dr. Alleyne because they’re washable and offer adjustable fasteners to fit comfortably on most dogs.

Best for less active pups

Top Paw Disposable Dog Diapers can help prevent messes while keeping your pup comfortable. These diapers feel very soft and are super absorbent. One drawback we noticed, though, is that the fastener on these diapers didn’t seem very sticky, making it best for pet owners whose dogs aren’t as active.

  • Absorbency. Like all of the disposable diapers on this list, we rated these a 10 out of 10 for their absorbency. They held a lot of liquid and absorbed it quickly.
  • Fit. The fastener tabs on these diapers don’t feel quite as secure as some of the other options we tested. For dogs that love to wiggle around, these might not work. But for older dogs that prefer to spend the afternoon napping in the sunshine, these are less likely to come loose.
  • Material. These diapers seem thin, but otherwise, the material feels like a standard baby diaper.
  • Durability. Despite the thinness, these diapers held and absorbed liquid quickly. They also weren’t easy to rip or tear.
  • Portability. The Top Paw diapers fold up flat for easy packing.
  • Safety. We didn’t notice any detachable pieces on these diapers, and they weren’t easy to rip up.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Alleyne notes that these are a great option for pet parents who want to go with disposable diapers. Our vet’s only concern is that these diapers may not be as adjustable as some of the other options on this list.

Our research process 

Why you should trust our reviews 

  • Dr. Dwight Alleyne helped us formulate this list — Our veterinarian reviewed each and every product on our list, ranking his favorites and noting his likes and dislikes for each product. He also shared the best feature for each diaper and whether or not he would recommend it. Dr. Alleyne recommends all five diapers on our list.
  • We ordered and paid for these products — In addition to vet approval, we purchased several diaper products and tested them all for absorbency, fit, material, durability, portability, and safety. None of the products were gifted, and we bought them with our own resources to review them objectively.
  • We trialed and tested these products in The Lab — For even more accurate feedback, our editorial team tested each of these products against our review criteria. Yes, we felt the inside of each diaper, tried to shred them with our fingers, and washed the reusable options. We even conducted an absorbency test to ensure all of our picks were able to hold a half cup of water without leaks!

How we picked 

We spent a lot of time scouring the internet for the most popular dog diapers on the market. Once we selected some promising contenders, Dr. Alleyne helped us narrow down our favorites. From there, we ordered and tested all of the products to see how they held up. Were they comfortable? Could they hold and absorb liquid? Did they pose a choking hazard to curious pups? Once we reviewed each diaper, our editors chose a “top pick,” the product that ranked the highest in all of our criteria. For this test on doggie diapers, the Paw Inspired Disposable Dog Diapers were our highest-ranking product.

At first glance

On paper, here’s a glance at how these diapers stack up against each other.

Product Disposable or washable Price for size small* Amount (# of diapers)
Paw Inspired Diapers Disposable $19.98 32 diapers
All-Absorb A26 Male Dog Belly Wrap Disposable $17.46 50 diapers
Paw Legend Belly Wraps Washable $11.99 3 diapers
Pet Parents Diapers Washable $18.98 3 diapers
Top Paw Diapers Disposable $34.99 30 diapers

*price at the time of our review

How we tested these products

To test these products, we determined a set of criteria that would be important to pet owners. We worked with veterinarians to determine these criteria, like absorbency, safety, durability, and more.

  • Absorbency. We poured a half cup of water into each diaper to see how much liquid each option would hold. If a diaper leaked, it didn’t make this list.
  • Fit. A diaper should be comfortable for your dog, and it shouldn’t restrict movement. It should also stay put. We noted how secure the closures of each product seemed and tested how sticky the fastener tabs were. 
  • Material. A dog diaper should be able to keep your dog comfortable. We took notes on the material each diaper was made out of and how it felt.
  • Durability. We tested each reusable option to see if it would hold up in the washing machine and ensure the fasteners would remain sticky. For disposable diapers, we tested how strong the material was and how easy it was to rip or tear.
  • Portability. You may need to pack up your pup and bring their diapers along. We tested each diaper to see how easy it was to fold up and how much space each option would take up.
  • Safety. Pet safety is important to us. Loose tabs or extra fasteners can be choking hazards for pets. We made note of any potential hazards for each product.

What else should pet parents consider?

What type of diaper does your pet need?

There are many types of diapers out there, and your pup’s needs will determine which option to buy. For example, male dogs that tend to mark their territory, even indoors, may need a belly band. This option wraps around their belly area (rather than their bottom) to help catch urine when they try to mark. Diapers, in contrast, are a full coverage option that can be used on all dogs, including female dogs in heat.

Material: washable versus disposable

Washable diapers are made with fabric that can be cleaned and reused. This is often cost-effective and more sustainable. In our tests, though, we found that disposable diapers were far more absorbent than washable alternatives. Therefore, disposable diapers might work better for large dogs or dogs that need to wear a diaper long term.

Fit is critical

An ill-fitting diaper can lead to leaks, discomfort, skin irritation, and restricted mobility for your furry friend. One way to test fit is with the “two-finger rule”: If you can fit two fingers underneath the waistband of your dog’s diaper, you’ve got a secure fit. Keep this in mind when fastening your dog’s diaper, and remember to readjust as needed. Many dog diapers have adjustable fasteners that won’t lose their stickiness if you need to undo them and place the tabs in a new spot.

Pet owners should also check size guides closely. Some of the small diapers we tested were similar to mediums in other brands. The size guide should provide recommendations based on the circumference of your dog’s waist, so make sure to measure your pup to determine what might work best.

As an added note, we noticed that each of the diapers we tested had fairly large tail holes — around the size of a half-dollar coin. Dogs with smaller tails could potentially experience leakage.

DIY diapers probably aren’t your best bet

You may have heard of people cutting baby diapers to fit their dog, but we don’t recommend trying it. It’s easier to purchase a version you know will work for your dog’s needs and already has a pre-cut slot for their tail. Doing so will also ensure the best fit, which is critical when it comes to preventing leaks and keeping your pup comfortable.

If you do decide to undertake a craft project with a diaper, make sure your dog isn’t anywhere nearby. Ingesting even a small piece of a diaper can be extremely dangerous for your dog. Or, you can also try making a DIY diaper out of cloth or an old t-shirt.

Don’t put a diaper on a puppy

While diapers are common for adult and older dogs, we don’t recommend using diapers for puppies. Putting a diaper on a young dog would confuse them and likely delay or completely stall any potty training efforts you’ve started. Puppies may also try to chew off their diapers, which could cause them to choke or lead to a bowel obstruction.

According to our vet Dr. Alleyne, it’s better to use potty pads, like this option from Frisco, for puppies.

How to put a diaper on a dog, in steps 

It might go without saying, but it’s super important that you put your dog’s diaper on correctly so it can be effective. Below are some quick tips to ensure the best fit:

  1. Make sure your pup’s diaper is the right size
  2. Use gloves and baby wipes to clean your dog before putting on their diaper
  3. Follow the corresponding diaper instructions
  4. Gently pull the dog’s tail through the tail hole
  5. Wrap the diaper firmly around your dog’s waist and fasten the tabs
  6. Change your pup’s diaper often to avoid skin irritation

​​👉 If your dog develops a rash, they might have a skin allergy or sensitivity to the material of their diaper.

Why do dogs need diapers?

Dogs can need diapers for a variety of reasons, some of which involve underlying health concerns. A few of the most common reasons why a pet owner might use a diaper on their pup can be found below:

When dogs are in heat

When female dogs are in heat, they can leak and leave bloody discharge around your home. Diapers can help prevent this mess. Dogs may also want to lick the area during this time, which a diaper can help to prevent.

When your dog has a UTI

Urinary tract infections can cause frequent urination due to irritation in the bladder, so a diaper can keep your pup from having accidents around the house. If you do choose to put your dog in a diaper while they’re being treated for a UTI, you’ll need to change the diaper much more often than when using a diaper for other reasons. Leaving a diaper on too long can actually cause a UTI to get worse or lead to a skin infection.

For frequent urination when excited or stressed

Dogs pee on occasion when they’re really excited, but if your dog is frequently excited or stressed to the point of urination, you might want to consider using a diaper on certain occasions, like when a guest visits or whenever there’s a local firework display. If you’re regularly dealing with a pup that urinates due to excitement or stress, you should also talk to your vet about long-term solutions.

To cover or protect surgical wounds

After surgery, your dog may be tempted to lick or chew at their sutures or wounds. Diapers can help protect these areas and prevent a dog from licking their stitches. Again, it’s important to keep refreshing your dog’s diaper, especially if it’s protecting a healing wound. A dog that sits in a soiled diaper for a long period of time is vulnerable to infections.

For dogs with disabilities

Diapers may be necessary for paralyzed dogs or dogs with certain disabilities. Any condition that weakens a dog’s muscles will also make it more difficult for them to control their bladder. Dogs with Cushing’s disease, thyroid conditions, kidney disease, spinal cord disease, and other spinal cord injuries may also deal with incontinence or frequent urination.

To prevent accidents while traveling

Travel can be both exciting and stressful for your pet, leading to accidents. Sometimes, like on a long flight, you might not have access to a place where your pup can go. Diapers are a short-term solution that allows pups to relieve themselves without the mess. Just be certain to change your dog’s diaper frequently if you’re turning to this option.

Senior dogs experiencing age-related accidents

As dogs get older, their muscles can start to atrophy and weaken. This makes it harder to control their bladder or get up to go potty. Arthritis can also make it hard for older pups to walk to their potty area, especially if steps are involved. But there are additional reasons why a senior dog might start to have accidents, too, like memory issues related to doggie dementia.

For dogs that mark

Marking is a behavioral issue, whereas accidents can occur for all kinds of reasons. Dogs often mark to leave a social cue to other dogs and even humans. Unneutered male dogs are most likely to mark frequently, but all dogs can mark.

Urinary incontinence

Doggie incontinence occurs when a dog loses control over their bladder. The most common sign that your dog is dealing with incontinence is urine spotting, which typically happens when they’re asleep. You might find a small puddle on the couch, in your dog’s bed, or around other areas where they relax.

👉 It’s important to note that urinary incontinence is different from excessive urination, which can be due to conditions like Cushing’s disease, for example.

Common causes of doggie accidents 

Urinary issues like incontinence are most common in middle-aged and senior dogs and can be caused by a variety of underlying medical issues, including:

  • Neurological problems. If your dog is struggling with nerve disruption, their bladder will also likely be impacted.
  • Bladder stones or tumors. Bladder stones and tumors cause frequent urination because they occupy space in the bladder, reducing the amount of urine it can hold.
  • Urethral disorder. With urethral disorders, the urethral sphincter muscle malfunctions. This muscle is responsible for opening and closing the bladder.
  • Stress and injury. Sometimes your dog will retain their need to pee when stressed. This can cause leakage when pressure builds in the bladder. Injury or surgery can also impede normal bladder function.

Treating and preventing accidents

Preventing your pup from having accidents in the house depends on what’s causing the problem. Treating incontinence, for example, depends on your dog’s diagnosis, condition, and age. Typically, your vet will prescribe medications to help with urethral function. Some dogs don’t need medication at all. It’s recommended that you always pay close attention to your dog’s bathroom habits and take them out frequently so they can relieve their bladder.

👉 Remember that diapers aren’t a substitute for treating the cause of your pup’s accidents. 

Frequently asked questions 

Do diapers for dogs really work?

Yes, for some dogs, like pups experiencing incontinence, senior dogs, or female dogs in heat, diapers are a great option. Keep in mind that dog diapers are not meant to deal with poo!

What’s the difference between a belly band and a dog diaper?

Belly bands are designed for male dogs and hold urine. They wrap around a dog’s belly or waist so only their midsection is protected. Dog diapers, in contrast, offer more coverage and can be used on all dogs, including female dogs in heat.

Are dog diapers good for puppies?

We don’t recommend using diapers on puppies since doing so can confuse them. Consider sticking to potty pads for housebreaking.

How can I get my dog’s diaper to stay on?

The best way to get your dog’s diaper to stay on is to make sure it fits them properly. If you can place two fingers beneath the waistband, you’ve got a good fit. It’s also important to find a comfortable diaper that your dog isn’t tempted to wiggle out of.

Are doggie diapers safe?

Doggie diapers are safe as long as you change your pup’s diaper frequently to avoid irritating their skin.

How often should I change my dog’s diaper?

A dirty diaper is a breeding ground for bacteria, so swapping out their diaper for a fresh one every few hours will help ensure your pet is dry, clean, and comfortable.