Why Are You Considering Diapers?
If you’re looking to use diapers 24/7 to keep your incontinent dog from making a mess in your house, please learn about expressing the bladder and/or bowels instead. Helping them express should be your #1 priority when caring for an incontinent dog.
I do give diaper advice lower in this post, but I hope you’ll learn to express your pug’s bladder first if they have ongoing incontinence. Diapers may be helpful if your dog leaks urine despite being expressed regularly. I’ve also heard of people using diapers on their dogs if they were going to be left home alone for a few hours and unable to express at their regular times.
Some use diapers on female pugs that are in heat. There are various reasons why limited use of diapers makes sense. Please learn from my mistake though and don’t move to 24/7 diapers for your dogs.
Incontinence Doesn’t Mean Their Bladder Empties Regularly
This is extremely important to know – and I didn’t know until it was too late with both of my pugs. I learned it after they had passed. My vet had told me that as long as they were urinating regularly they were fine. This isn’t the case. Dogs can urinate pretty regularly but still fail to truly empty their bladder.
If the bladder isn’t getting empty, it can lead to bladder stones, UTIs and other issues. Both of my dogs battled recurring UTI’s. When they would occur, they’d be uncomfortable until it was resolved. I could have avoided this discomfort if I knew to express them instead. For this reason, it’s better to learn to express your dogs bladder rather than rely on diapers to absorb what they leak.
People often think of incontinence as being the result of “worn out” bladder muscles, so they think that any urine that their body makes will just flow out. That isn’t how it works. Instead, the default for the bladder is to stay tightly closed, and we have to intentionally use muscles to relax the bladder to let urine out. So if the muscles get weak, or there is nerve damage or neurological issues…it’s common for the bladder to stay too closed and to only open when “over full”.
Join Wheelie Pugs
Incontinence is common in pugs who have something called puy myelopathy. My pug Frank had this, but our vet told us it was “similar to progressive arthritis”. She never gave us a real name for it. After Frank had passed, I came across the Wheelie Pugs facebook group. This is an awesome group for pugs who have mobility issues, incontinence and more. The group is owned by a vet who has studied a lot about pug mobility issues, and pug myelopathy in particular. This is a conditioner that is unique to the pug breed and most vets are not very familiar with it…so having this Facebook group as a resource can be invaluable.
There are resources in this group to assist with learning how to express your dog’s bladder or bowels, to learn about how to slow your dogs mobility progression, how to get a well-fitting cart (wheelchair) for disabled dogs and more. With mobility issues, you don’t want to wait until your dog can’t walk before looking into getting them help. If you see any wobbliness or weakness in their rear legs, join now.
Belly bands for male pugs
We liked Teamoy Belly Bands for our pug Frank. The size L1 fit him well. These weren’t as bulky as some other belly bands that we had tried from other brands. We used human Incontinence Gaurds inside of the belly bands. These are similar to feminine pads, but more absorbent and larger which worked well inside the belly bands.
I tried dog diapers and baby/toddler diapers on Frank, but none were a good fit. The closest fit was 4/5T pull-ups, but even these were too small. They would cover his backside, but they wouldn’t go high enough on his belly to catch his urine when he peed.
How To Keep Diapers On A Female Pug
For my female pug, we found that pull-on diapers or pull-on training pants fit well. I preferred the Pampers brand over Huggies/Pull-Up brands because the pampers pull on diapers and “easy ups” have elastic along the sides, which helped them stay on my dogs hips. Here is beans in a 2-3T easy ups.
I later learned that the Pampers 360 diapers are basically extra-small training pants, and those fit Beans a bit better than the 2/3T did. On occasion, the 2/3T easy-ups would gap around her thighs so urine could leak out. With the size 4 pull-on diapers, they fit snug without being too tight.
Beans was good about leaving her diaper alone, but it wouldn’t stay up on its own very well. To keep it on, we had her wear a harness and then used children’s suspenders (or later, children’s mitten clips) to clip the diaper to the harness. The pink part is the suspenders, the purple straps are these mitten clips. The mitten clips worked better than the suspenders so we eventually moved to just using mitten clips and taking the suspenders off.