Dealing with a dog or cat that can’t make it outdoors or to the litter box in time can be incredibly frustrating. Following your pet around, encouraging it to go in the appropriate spot, only to turn around and see a new puddle on the floor can leave even the most patient pet owner at wit’s end.
There are many possible causes for incontinence in pets, ranging from an infection or disease to a simple lack of proper house training. Exploring the potential cause is part of good preventive care and should be pursued. In cases where the cause cannot be treated, pet diapers may be the solution.
What are Pet Diapers?
Pet diapers are exactly what they sound like – diapers made exclusively for pets. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, and can be either cloth (reusable) or disposable. Pet diapers are often marketed as a training tool, but will work well for incontinent pets of all ages. As an alternative to pet-specific diapers, some pet owners have also had success using regular baby diapers and adapting them by cutting out a hole for the tail.
Regardless of the type of diaper used, pet diapers should fit properly and be changed as soon as they are wet or soiled. Leaving a diaper on too long can cause skin irritation, a painful rash, and other problems, so vigilance is a must! You should also monitor that your pet is not chewing the diaper in an attempt to remove it, as this could cause a gastrointestinal obstruction if swallowed. (If your pet likes to chew things, a diaper may not be a good option.)
Just because your pet can’t seem to make it to the back door or litter box on time doesn’t necessarily mean you should rush out and buy a box of pet diapers. We recommend that you first schedule an exam with your veterinarian to determine the cause of the incontinence, as it may be a symptom of a health issue that can be treated.
Incontinence in pets can stem from a variety of health conditions, including:
- Urinary tract infection
- Weakened urinary sphincter
- Cushing’s disease
- Kidney disease (cats)
- Cognitive issues
- Females in heat
Figuring out the cause of your pet’s accidents can help us to formulate a plan to get your pet back on track and feeling better.
When Pet Diapers are Recommended
In certain instances, pet diapers make sense for everyone’s peace of mind and for the protection of your home. The following situations may warrant the use of pet diapers:
- During recovery from surgery, when a pet can’t get up to go
- Car or plane travel, or hotel stays that cause anxiety-related leakage
- To protect your floors and furniture while an unspayed female pet is in heat
- Senior dogs that are losing control of bladder or bowels
- During potty training (although this should only be a short-term training aid)