How Long Can a Dog Wear a Diaper? (Safely) 

The invention of the doggie diaper has saved millions of pet parents a lot of headaches and messes over the years. Dog diapers are versatile and comfortable, disposable or reusable, and come in many sizes so that any dog can give them a try. They are like baby diapers, only shaped slightly differently – including a hole for the pup’s tail. 

Whether you’re using it for a female dog in heat, a male dog who sprays, or an older incontinent dog, you may be wondering– how long is too long to leave them in their diaper? 

how long can a dog wear a diaper
How long can a dog wear a diaper?

This article will discuss the many reasons you would use a diaper on your dog, the safest ways to do so, and other alternative options. 

How To Wear a Doggie Diaper Safely? 

How long it is safe for your dog to wear a diaper largely depends on what is in the diaper. If you have an incontinent dog who is frequently urinating or defecating in the diaper, you should be changing it often, no less than every couple of hours. 

If you have a male dog who wears a doggie diaper or diaper wrap for protection, you likely will only need to change it a couple of times a day. Be sure to monitor him and be aware of any extra moisture in the diaper, and if it has become soiled, you should change it immediately. 

Using a doggie diaper for a female dog in heat is tricky. Female dogs tend to lick and clean their vulva when bleeding, and a disposable diaper sometimes gets chewed, licked, or ripped up to its destructive end. Disposable diapers may not work well for this issue. 

The reusable diapers are made of cloth and hold up much better to a bit of licking and scratching and can also help prevent pregnancy. It is also a much more affordable option since you can wash these and reuse them without going through dozens of disposable doggie diapers each cycle. 

white puppy in diaper
White puppy wearing a diaper for the first time!

The Dangers of Doggie Diapers 

While a diaper in and of itself is not considered dangerous, it can cause discomfort and even health issues such as bladder infections if not used properly. A diaper is not a natural thing for a dog, and it may take a bit of getting used to. The best way to do that is to keep them as comfortable as possible and not reinforce that the diaper is terrible. 

Always ensure your dog’s sanitary area is clean before placing the diaper. This is especially important for dogs who scoot their bottom along the ground frequently, as dirt and bacteria in the surrounding area could end up causing an infection. 

Even a diaper that goes on clean can cause harm if left on too long once soiled. Urine contains bacteria that can irritate the skin, causing burning and itching. This is why you should gently clean the sanitary area after removing the diaper before putting on a new one. 

In rare cases, the diaper itself can pose a choking hazard. Bigger dogs or heavy chewers may take it upon themselves to get the diaper off and sometimes eat it entirely. This may not happen often, but if you know your dog tends to devour anything and everything, do not leave them unattended in the diaper. 

dog licking base of own tail
A small dog licks the base of his tail

Can a Dog Wear a Diaper Overnight?

For incontinence or female dogs in heat, you may wonder if it is safe for them to wear their diapers throughout the many hours of the night. Depending on how long you think this may be, it may or may not be wise to leave your dog in a diaper overnight. However, the best rule is not to leave your dog unattended while wearing a diaper for too long

If you think you can check in on your dog throughout the night, a doggie diaper may be a good option. If you think they will be left unattended for more than 6 hours, you may want to consider an alternative. If your pup is crate trained, place potty pads in their kennel for the night.

You could also keep them in one room to minimize the mess throughout the night. 

You will also learn about your dog over time and whether it can handle being in a diaper for long periods. Some dogs are unbothered and will be comfortable waiting for you to change the diaper. Other dogs may get anxious and chew and tear the diaper away, which can be dangerous with disposable diapers, whose filling can be a health risk if swallowed. 

sleeping dog with diaper
Dog sleeping wearing a diaper.

How To Keep a Diaper on a Dog?

Doggie diapers come in many shapes and sizes, but sometimes they just don’t stay on quite right. This may be because your dog is very active, pulls and chews on the diaper, or maybe they just have a slender behind or silky coat, and it won’t stay up. 

Reusable diapers tend to work better for dogs with slick coats because of the adjustable velcro. This adjustment method is tighter and elastic, so you can get it snug but not too tight. The fabric will bend and move with your dog to ensure a comfortable fit. 

When first introducing a diaper to your dog, positive reinforcement is vital. Introduce the diaper by letting them sniff and get accustomed to it being around before making them wear it. It may take patience and trial and error, but if done correctly, your dog will learn that the diaper is a friend and not a foe. 

Poodle nappy
Choose the right size of dog diaper for your pet so it won’t accidentally come off especially when outdoors.

When your dog comes near the diaper, reward them with a treat. Once they’ve done that, place the diaper loosely on their back and give them a treat, then remove it. Repeat these steps as many times as necessary until your pup is comfy.

Remember, it won’t happen overnight.

If your dog doesn’t seem to mind the diaper, but it won’t stay on, you can also look into doggie suspenders or a doggie onesie. Both options must be fitted to your dog and prevent the diaper from coming off. Keep an eye out for signs of distress, and do not force anything on your dog that they very clearly hate. 

Beagle lying on the floor
A Beagle wears onesies to prevent the diaper from coming off.


To summarize, your dog must never be left unattended in a diaper for more than a couple of hours at a time. Even if the diaper is dry when checked, it is worth the reassurance that they are clean and not sitting in their mess. If you need to leave your dog alone for an extended period, find an alternative to keep them safe and comfortable. 

Female dogs in heat do best in cloth diapers that they won’t chew through and will help them stay clean and healthy. Onesies may be an excellent choice for the pups that insist on taking their diaper off and licking their sanitary area, although they can be tricky to remove for potty breaks. 

If a doggie diaper has left your dog sore or injured, take them to your vet immediately. They may have some alternative options for you to try if a diaper is not working out. There may also be medications for you to try if incontinence is the issue at hand. 

Keeping your pup healthy and happy is the priority, and doggie diapers are not for everyone. Many training options, treatments, and other methods help your dog through messy times. No matter what option you choose for your best friend, they just need you to love them through it all.