Belly bands, also known as dog diapers or belly wraps, encompass the dog’s waist, capturing urine if he is incontinent or marking territory. However, it is important to remove or change either kind of diaper periodically to avoid waste from accumulating and damaging the dog’s fur or skin.
Around the Waste
A belly band must fit snugly around the dog’s waist, but not so snugly that he is uncomfortable or so that the waste is pressed out of the catch pad and into his fur. It must also be wide enough to cover the sheath of the dog’s penis without constricting his movement or rubbing uncomfortably against his rear legs. If the belly band is too short, it will pop open when the dog moves. If the belly band is too narrow, urine will escape from the front, defeating the purpose of the belly band.
Measuring Your Dog
Use a tape measure to determine the circumference of his abdomen immediately behind his ribcage and immediately in front of his rear legs. The rear measurement should include the sheath of his penis, but the tape should not constrict it. These measurements should be very similar or the same. If your dog’s waist is narrow compared to the depth of his chest, add the measurements together and divide by two to determine the appropriate length. Add 1 inch all around for seam allowances. If your dog is a puppy, add a bit to the length to allow your puppy to grow into the belly band. Determine the width of the belly band by measuring along the spine from just behind the ribs to the point above the hollow in front of your dog’s rear legs.
Choosing a Fabric
Belly band fabric should be soft and absorbent, allowing it to move with the dog and to hold urine that escapes the liner. It should also be washable, if you plan to keep and reuse the belly band. Flannel or flannelette, cotton, terrycloth, or even cloth diapers are good fabrics for belly bands. Polished cotton and polyester are poor choices, as they are not absorbent.
Putting it Together
Double your fabric, with the right side (darker print) on the inside. Mark the measurements you have made on the fabric using a washable marker. Pin the two remaining sides together, leaving one end open to turn the fabric. Sew the pinned edges closed, either by hand or using a machine. Remove the pins and turn the fabric so that the right side is outside. Fold about one-half inch of the final edge into the tube and sew it shut, ensuring that it stays flat.
Iron out any wrinkles. Cut a piece of Velcro 1 inch shorter than the width of the belly band. Place the Velcro one-half inch from the end of the band and sew in place. Sew the second piece of the Velcro closure to the other end of the belly band. Your dog’s belly band will be more effective if you peel and stick a sanitary napkin or incontinence pad to the inside of the belly band and center it over your dog’s sheath.