Male dogs mark by lifting a leg and urinating. Unless taught otherwise, some dogs may not discriminate between indoors and outdoors when they mark. If your male dog marks your furniture or walls, a belly band could be part of the solution. Belly bands of absorbent fabric wrap around a dog’s belly, covering his sheath, similar to a diaper. The Humane Society of the United States recommends belly bands for incontinent older male dogs. If you want to make a belly band for your own dog, three absorbent materials that work well are cloth diapers, cotton fabric and cotton yarn.
Measure the appropriate length to make your belly band by placing the tape measure loosely around your dog’s belly, right behind his ribcage. Bring both sides of the tape measure up around your dog’s back to meet at the top of his spine. Make a note of this measurement.
Wrap the tape measure around your dog’s belly just in front of his hind legs, and up over his back. Measure the spot where the tape measure meets at his spine.
Add the two measurements you obtained and divide by two to get the average measurement of your dog’s waist. This is the minimum length you need for your dog’s belly band. Add 2 inches to the measurement to allow for a sanitary pad and for growth. For example, if your dog’s first measurement is 16 inches and the second measurement is 14 inches, the sum of the two measurements is 30. Divide 30 by 2 to get an average of 15 inches. Adding 2 inches to the 15 inches gives you 17 inches. You would need a 17-inch belly band.
Measure the width of the belly band by holding the tape measure behind the center of your dog’s ribcage, where his waist narrows at the belly -- you should be able to feel it under his coat, pressing slightly -- across to the beginning of his hind legs. Make sure you measure about 1 inch beyond your dog’s sheath, so the belly band will cover it completely. A medium-size dog with a 15-inch waist usually wears a belly band 4.5 inches wide.
Diaper or Fabric
Measure a piece of cotton fabric or a cloth diaper the length needed to fit around your dog’s waist. Include 2 extra inches for growth and 1 inch for the seams at each end of the belly band.
Measure the width of the material according to your dog’s measurement, and double it so you have a double-layered belly band. If you want the belly band to be more durable, triple or quadruple the amount of fabric to make a three or four-layer belly band.
Place the right side of the material face-down on the sewing table, and fold the two sides of the fabric, overlapping in the center. If you added material for a third or fourth layer, fold again once or twice. Pin the fabric or diaper in place using common pins.
Use a sewing machine or sewing needle and cotton thread to sew down each side of the belly band about one-fourth inch from the outside edges, using straight stitches. Turn one-half inch of fabric at the top and bottom of the band to the inside, and sew across the top and bottom of the belly band with a sewing machine, or by hand with a sewing needle and thread.
Sew a 2-inch strip of Velcro to the two ends of the band. Sew the soft side of the Velcro to the top of one side of the belly band and the side of Velcro with small hooks to the top of the other end of the band.
Attach a self-stick sanitary pad to the center of the belly band, and wrap it around your dog’s waist. Position the sanitary pad over your dog’s sheath, and Velcro the belly band at the top.
Cast on the number of stitches needed according to your dog’s width measurement. The gauge measurement is four stitches per inch. For example, if your dog measures a width of 4.5 inches, you would need to cast on 18 stitches.
Knit in the garter stitch, which is knitting every row for the measured length of the belly band. Include the extra 2 inches for belly band adjustments.
Bind off the stitches when you reach the desired length. Use a needle and thread to sew a 2-inch strip of Velcro to the two ends of the knitted band. Sew the soft side of the Velcro to the top of one side of the belly band and the side of Velcro with small hooks to the top of the other end of the band. You can use a sewing machine for this step.
Stick a self-stick sanitary pad inside your dog’s belly band, making sure it covers his sheath. Wrap the band around your dog, and fasten with the Velcro at the top of his back, making it snug, but not tight.
If you have a belly band on your puppy to help with housebreaking, remember that puppies need to go outside much more often than fully grown dogs to relieve themselves. Becoming dependent upon the belly band or leaving it on your puppy too long will make the housebreaking process more difficult.
Wash your dog’s belly band daily to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Choose colorful fabric or multicolored yarn to make your dog’s belly band more fashionable. You can also choose fabric patterns for holidays like Valentine's Day, Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day.
Make two belly bands so your dog can wear one while the other is in the laundry.
Items You Will Need
- Tape measure
- Cloth diaper
- Sanitary pad
- Cotton fabric
- Sewing needle
- Sewing machine
- Cotton thread
- 4-ply cotton yarn
- Size 8 knitting needles