How to Make a Homemade Diaper for a Dog Who Is in Heat

By Catherine Holden Robinson

Estrus cycles can be stressful on both you and your dog. At the beginning of the estrus cycle, your dog will experience a bloody discharge, but homemade dog diapers can help minimize the mess.

Modify a Disposable Diaper

Dog diapers are commercially available, but can put a sizable dent in your wallet, despite their value in reducing the fallout of a messy heat cycle. Consider modifying a baby diaper or toddler pull-up diaper to meet your dog's needs. Put the diaper on your dog before cutting a hole for her tail. This will reduce the likelihood that you might get it wrong, and have to discard the first diaper. Cut a small hole through which you can gently pull your dog's tail. Fasten the diaper as you would if you were putting it on a baby, making sure not to make the diaper too tight or too loose.

Adapt Cloth Alternatives

Consider creating a reusable diaper. You can create this from an old shirt or towel, but you won't get the absorption you would from a disposable diaper. Cut the tail hole as you would with the disposable diaper option. You'll need to check your dog frequently, or consider adding a panty liner or mini or maxi pad to the diaper, which can be changed when necessary. Toddler or children's underwear can be substituted for a homemade diaper. The elastic waist will avoid the need to use tape or pins, which could become unfastened and harm your dog.

Understand Estrus

The canine estrus cycle is a naturally occurring brief period of time, spanning approximately 18 days, during which a female dog ovulates and is receptive to being impregnated by a male dog. Similar to that of human menstruation, the female dog will bleed during the first phase of the estrus period. Once your dog becomes receptive to being impregnated, the bleeding will taper to a straw-colored discharge. Female dogs enter their heat cycle at approximately 6 months to 24 months of age, earliest for small breed dogs, and later for large breeds. In addition to the presence of a discharge, hormonal alterations can cause changes in your dog's behavior, such as restlessness, frequent urination and tension in her rear legs.

Avoid Estrus

Consult with your dog's veterinarian to learn about the benefits of spaying, which will stop your dog's estrus cycle. Spaying your dog before her first estrus cycle can help avoid unwanted pregnancy and reduce canine cancers, such as uterine, ovarian and mammary cancers. Additionally, spaying and neutering is the best method to avoid contributing to the overpopulation of unwanted and homeless dogs