When we're training human babies and toddlers to use the bathroom, we rely on diapers. It's a valuable tool that serves many purposes. Not only does it catch any accidents and messes, but it can be an essential tool that helps with the learning process.
With its efficiency on humans, many puppy owners wonder about canine diapers. Are puppy diapers an excellent idea to help with potty training?
What are Puppy Diapers?
Before we get into the merits of puppy diapers, what are they?
Well, puppy diapers are exactly what they sound like! They're diapers that are specially made for canines. At first glance, many of the modern disposable varieties look nearly identical to the ones made for human babies.
They feature the same core design that wraps around the front and back. The only difference is the presence of a tail hole for puppy models.
Puppy diapers come in a few different forms.
The most common is your garden-variety disposable diaper. Like those made for babies, these diapers contain super absorbent polymers.
They can hold several times their weight, making the diaper capable of holding a significant amount of urine and feces.
The main alternative to disposable puppy diapers is reusable diapers. They usually feature foam or some other kind of absorbent medium. Some don't have any other medium at all, relying solely on the fabric's absorbency to do the job.
Finally, there are male wraps. These diapers are exclusively for male dogs. They don't provide any coverage in the back. Instead, they're comprised of a large strap that covers the genitals up front.
When Canine Diapers are Useful
Canine diapers can be pretty helpful. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a market for them! Puppy pads are far more popular, but many pet stores offer diapers in a slew of sizes and designs.
But unlike human diapers, these tools aren't just for young puppies learning where to do their business.
Believe it or not, senior dogs are one of the biggest markets for canine diapers. It's not something that any dog owner wants to think about, but many pups experience debilitating health issues as they get older.
Those health problems can manifest themselves in many different ways. Unfortunately, the first tell-tale sign that something is awry is by frequent accidents.
Older dogs simply lose their ability to "hold it in." The pelvic muscles weaken, making it more difficult for your dog to control their bladder and bowels.
Some senior dogs can suffer from mental problems, too. Dementia and other neurological disorders are more common than people think.
Whatever the case may be, accidents tend to become more common as dogs reach the final years of their life. In those cases, diapers become a catch-all for accidents. They let seniors live comfortably at home despite the frequent accidents.
Urinary and fecal incontinence can occur regardless of a dog's age. It's pretty standard after giving birth. Females tend to have accidents every once in a while as they recover.
Most problems subside once your dog gets back to normal. However, incontinence can become chronic, too.
Incontinence is another overlooked issue that's far more common than people think. Various health conditions can lead to long-lasting problems that can't be resolved with medicine alone.
Diapers help to make incontinence issues more manageable.
Oftentimes, vets give dogs recovering from surgical procedures diapers to prevent accidents.
It's more widespread for operations around the pelvic area. But some vets use them for something as benign as dental procedures, too!
Dogs can get pretty fog-brained when they're waking up from surgery. Diapers will help prevent accidental messes while also helping dogs who are physically unable to go outside.
When it comes to health issues, diapers can be a real beacon of hope.
Many conditions prevent dogs from urinating or pooping as normal. Broken bones, spinal issues, and even torn muscles can make the process of squatting super painful.
Meanwhile, fully paralyzed dogs might not have the ability to stand up. Even dogs on medications might experience frequent urges to go, resulting in round-the-clock accidents.
Once again, diapers come to the rescue. They make things easier to manage and provide a glimmer of normalcy to dogs that are suffering.
Females in Heat
You may see the diapers come out when females go into heat as well.
Unspayed females will go through seasonal heat periods. During this time, she may menstruate, which gets pretty messy.
A diaper is a great way to prevent messes from occurring throughout the home.
In this case, it acts more like a pad than a diaper. But either way, it does the job and helps you and your dog stay comfortable.
What About Potty Training?
We know that diapers serve many different purposes. But are they any good for potty training?
The truth is that puppy diapers can be pretty useful during the housebreaking stage. But, these accessories do have their limitations.
They should never be used to replace puppy pads or regular house training techniques with an indoor dog potty system for example. Instead, they should serve as a training tool that supplements pitfalls you're experiencing.
One of the most useful ways to use a puppy diaper is to provide peace of mind during the day. House training is a full-time job! You have to be there around the clock to catch your dog in the act. Otherwise, they will mark the entire home and never learn the ropes.
Unfortunately, not every new dog owner can stay home all day. Puppy diapers provide a little peace of mind and security. They will prevent your dog from making territorial claims and spraying all over your house.
Even if they stay in a kennel while you're away, it prevents their temporary home from becoming a scented mess of markings.
A diaper can also prove helpful if you have a dog prone to urinating when they're excited. This behavior is pretty typical with smaller dogs that have a weak bladder. The diaper isn't going to address the root cause of the issue.
For that, you'll need to consult with your vet and a trainer. But in the meantime, the diaper will bridge the gap and provide mess-free living!
Potential Problems with Puppy Diapers
Puppy diapers come with a lot of great benefits. They're easy to clean and let your dog live a little more comfortably despite any incontinence issues they might be facing. However, they're not without problems.
Diapers aren't perfect by any means. Improper use could lead to some significant problems that are worse than the training issues you're experiencing! Before you start using diapers, here are some important caveats to think over.
Most dogs are going to need some time to adjust to wearing a diaper. Have you ever tried to put shoes or clothing on your dog? Chances are, the first attempt was a disaster. Now, imagine that reaction when applying something to the most sensitive part of your dog's body.
It's not exactly pretty, is it?
There are ways to make dogs more comfortable. It's an entire training process that involves positive reinforcement and praise. Once you get to that point, putting diapers on is a breeze! But, not all dogs are going to adjust well to the feeling.
Another potential issue is the costs of upkeep. Disposable diapers are not cheap. These are specialty tools. As a result, they usually cost more than human diapers.
The costs of using a diaper long-term add up.
Sure, you can go the reusable route. But even then, you must invest in several expensive accessories to have a clean diaper on hand. Pile on the time and money with cleaning, and it's a significant investment all around.
It's best to think of diapers as a short-term solution rather than a long-term one.
Rashes and Infections
Diaper rash isn't exclusive to human babies! Your precious puppy can succumb to infections and inflammation, too.
Chaffing is a genuine issue you have to account for. When rashes appear, your dog's risks of potentially lethal bacterial infections skyrocket!
It's not a risk that you can ignore. To avoid rashes and pain, you must be vigilant about changing the diaper anytime it's soiled. That means constant checking and having fresh diapers on hand.
Finally, we have the problem of security. While manufacturers do their best to keep things snug and tight, no diaper is going to fit perfectly. Most utilize hook and loop closures.
Elastic bands do a lot to keep things contained, but many dogs will experience slippage.
Then, there's the issue of dogs experiencing discomfort. Determined canines will have no problem chewing the diaper right off!
If you're not careful, you may end up with tons of waste and absorbent polymer to clean up!
Are Puppy Diapers Right for You?
Puppy diapers are multi-faceted tools that can come in handy throughout your dog's life. During the potty training phase, they are a great security measure to fall back on.
The diaper will catch messes while preventing unwanted marking. However, you should never use them in lieu of proper training techniques.
Housebreaking a dog is no easy task, and diapers can bridge the gap to make things a little more manageable. As long as you use them correctly and do your best to make them comfortable, diapers may serve your pooch well as they learn the ins and outs of potty training.
Also Read: 15 Tips to Potty Train a German Shepherd Pup