A dog's estrus or "heat" cycle generally lasts from two to three weeks. During that time, you will want to keep your dog -- and your home -- clean. There are specially-made doggy diapers for you to choose from that will fit your overall needs and budget as well as your dog’s individual style. Just remember, doggy diapers are not intended as a contraceptive method, so be sure to keep your girl safe!
Easy to Use
Doggy diapers are very similar in design to disposable diapers for babies: you basically wrap the diaper around your dog’s hindquarters and fasten it with Velcro tabs. The big difference? There’s a hole for Daisy's tail! For extra absorbency, you can also use a pad made especially for the diaper or use a sanitary napkin (cut down to size for smaller dogs or puppies). Manufacturers provide sizing guidelines by “waist” measurement as well as by weight and/or breed. And don't forget to remove the diaper when you take her out for a walk!
First -- and Only Time?
If this is your pup's first time in heat and you plan on having her spayed, your best choice is disposable dog diapers. Found at most pet stores and online, you use the diaper once and throw it away. How quickly your dog soils the diaper depends on many things, so it may take a few quick peeks to determine whether it's time to change it.
Disposables may also be an inexpensive choice to see if your dog will tolerate wearing a diaper and not try to rip it off!
Washable and Reusable
Washable and reusable diapers are an option if you plan to breed your dog or have another one in the future. Add some flair with different colors, patterns and denim. Some websites offer custom diapers that allow you to choose from a variety of fabrics and designs as well as details like bows or maybe even a little bling. Of course, custom versions tend to cost more than ready to wear. Your choice may also depend on your dog's tail, as the diaper may be outfitted with a hole or a slit. There are also diapers with a cinch to tighten around the tail to help secure the diaper.
Finally, there are waterproof diapers that come with a polyurethane laminate cover. These are especially useful for incontinent dogs.
Harnesses and Suspenders
Sometimes it's just really hard to keep a diaper on your dog, either because of her shape or because she's just really wiggly. That's where harnesses and suspenders come in handy. The harnesses generally have a strap that goes across her chest and attaches to the diaper and another piece that wraps behind her front legs. Many of these harnesses are made primarily for male dogs and cover the part that counts, so if you think a harness might be right for your girl, check that it's suitable for females.
Another option for slippery girls is a pair of suspenders. Clips attach on one side of the diaper, then crisscross and go over your dog's head and shoulders and attach to the other side of the diaper.
A Virginia resident, Joanne Dekker has been writing and editing legal articles since 2009. She also writes on pet and animal-related topics. In 2006, she was named the Outstanding Volunteer at her local animal shelter. Dekker received a Bachelor of Arts in American history and a Juris Doctorate degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.