Monday, August 1, 2011

Easy Dog Diaper Tutorial

First of all, this tutorial is for a diaper of the "fecal incontinence" nature, not urinary incontinence.  Though with some thought, this could be adapted to experiment for a solution for urinary incontinence.

Now, I hope someone out there somewhere will find this useful.  This homemade diaper idea gave our old friend some more time.  Our old, husky/german shepherd mix started having fecal incontinence problems last fall.  The situation evolved into my cleaning up an average (literally) of 1-2 pounds of dog feces, in our house, per day.

I love Wolfy.  She still has the spark of life in her.  However, our budget simply didn't have room for the expensiver dog diapers that one can buy for these kinds of problems. 

Additionally, I felt that the time I spent cleaning up from doggie-feces-accidents in our house, detracted from our young family.  And I was terribly repulsed.

Meanwhile, I  felt that Wolfy had far too much enjoyment and vigor for life to "put her to sleep."  But the ongoing incontinence problem was driving me to actually considering it.


The Homemade Doggie Diaper

It's a cinch to make, Folks.

You will need:
- a length of fabric the width of your dogs hips and long enough to cover the top of the hips and down under to the belly
-a few feet of 1/2" up to 1" wide elastic

I chose a stiff, heavy liner-type fabric from my basement store that I never got around to listing on Ebay.      Everyday, I take the diaper off of Wolfy in the morning, empty the diaper, hose it off, and soetimes pop it in the washer with some detergent and bleach; and it has held up beautifully. 

So, make sure that the fabric you pick is servicable and will be exposed to frequent washings and bleach.

Cut a rectangle in roughly the width of your dogs hips. 

The length should be long enough to cover from the top of the hips to the same position, under the belly.  Simply hold it up around your dog; please note the picture below. (The model is Blackberry, who was a tiny bit indignant...) Also, keep in mind that a longer rectangle is better than one that is too short.  And don't worry about a tail opening, yet.

I made the first diaper for Wolfy, pictured in the first few shots of this post, much larger than the second one that I made.  It doesn't matter if it's "roomy", as long as the leg openings and waist opening is the right fit (ie "snug").

Also, please note that this is not a Thing of Beauty.  I generally strive to make All Things Lovely if I'm going to the effort of crafting something (as well as, my great grandmother used to iron her sheets and the family's undergarments, cough cough, so that runs in the genes...). 

However, in this case, I hose this down every day, and also run it through the laundry machine about every 2-3 days with bleach.  So a non-colored, durable fabric is the key here.

This is so simple.  Now, attach 3/8" or 1/2" (the 1/4" elastic doesn't hold up as well with the washing and bleachings) elastic with a wide zig-zag stitch to the short ends of your rectangle; the length of elastic should be about 1/2 of the width of you fabric.  So if your fabric measurement  is 10" , then the elastic length should be about 5".  And stretch the elastic to fit the fabric side that you're sewing, as you sew.

This is a very forgiving garment to make.  For my second doggie diaper, I decided that the fit should be more snug, so I merely folded the short rectangle end over about 1.5", inside to inside, and zig zagged a fold to make it so.  And it looks like a ruffle, which is a bonus.

So this is what your rectangle should look like now, with elastic sewn on the short ends.  With or without the extra step of a ruffle.

Now, for the long lengths of your rectangle....follow through with the same process (ie stretching your elastic to fit the length of the fabric side and sew on using a zig zag stitch), using 1/2" or 3/8" elastic and the elastic should be about 1/2 to 2/3 in length of the side of the rectangle that you're doing.

Do this on both sides, and when you have completed this, your rectangle ought to look something like this.

And now, fold the rectangle with the short ends coming to meet and sew a portion of the sides together, using a zig zag stitch.  (Overlap it about an inch.  You can always overlap it more later, if you find that your dog needs a more snug fit.)  If you made a ruffle like I did, only sew up to the elastic, not all the way up the ruffle, because it will be too hard to put on the dog.

Try it on your dog now and make any needed adjustments. 

 For tails: while the diaper is on the dog, carefully cut a slit where you think the base of the tail is and pull the tail through.  Finish the tail opening by zig zag stitching the raw edges.

And yes, I realize that the diaper is mostly all raw-edged fabric.  This doesn't bother me, and it hasn't affected the durability of the garment; probably because I used such a stiff, heavy fabric (canvas type).  If the raw edges bother you, merely cut your rectangle slightly larger and fold over and sew the raw edges in, after you've attached the elastic to all four sides.

Also, with many bleached subsequent washings, the elastic has a tough time of it....this is easily remedied making a fold (ie tuck) at the offending area and sew.  You can see one of my tucks in the third picture of Wolfy wearing the diaper, on this post.

And now, here's a picture of our Wolfy sans diaper, in stealth mode among the birches...  Because growing old is grim, and oftentimes ugly, for our bodies; but it doesn't change the beauty of one's spirit. 


  1. Thank you for sharing this. I have a Great Dane that is going through the same. This is her only issue. Everything else is good for her being 11 years.

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