As a dog mom to several special needs pups I am a big believer in finding products that can make life a little easier.  This is a list of daily products we have found and use in caring for our SB pups. Most can be found online through Amazon and

Hygiene and Bathing
Keeping Buster and Frank clean is extremely important, we do morning and evening baths and rinse again any time things have gotten a little messy.  Buster dribbles all the time so if we are outside naked, I will rinse him before diapering.  

  • Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Fragrance Free Dog & Cat Shampoo and Conditioner:  and
  • Douxo Chlorhexidine and Calm Shampoo:
  • Soggy Doggy shammys make drying super fast:
  • Aloe Vesta Perineal/Skin Cleanser, I use this to help clean up between baths
  • Prescription Silver Sulfadiazine Cream for severe case of diaper rash
  • Calmoseptine Ointment:
  • Baby wipes; sensitive
  • Poo bags:
  • Gold Bond Cornstarch Plus Baby Powder
  • We’ve installed a dog shower area in our walk in shower.  This makes things much easier for bathing and clean up.  Installing a handheld shower head with a long enough extension to reach your pup and clean up the shower achieves the same idea. Most hand shower wands only have a 5 foot hose, but this hose is 8 feet long and easy to switch out.
  • Since we have walk in showers and the pups often need epsom paw soaks we use a pup pool that fits into the bottom of the shower.
    Jasonwell Foldable Dog Pet Bath Pool Collapsible Dog Pet Pool Bathing Tub Kiddie Pool for Dogs Cats and Kids:

  • As with all bulldogs keeping their skin folds clean is extremely important. We use Malacetic wipes for his eyes and ears:
  • I have tried many of the nose butters on the market for Buster; I have found that vaseline seems to work the best for his nose. Since its not his favorite thing, it helps that there is little odor.
  • Buster often will have sections on his back side that get rubbed by his diaper. I use coconut oil to keep his skin moisturized.

Changing Time Routine
Wake up and its outside for naked time!  We always strip them down outside first to air everything out and express his bladder.
Inside to change, head straight to the shower, booty wash and dry. 

Calmoseptine Ointment applied to Buster and Frank's bottom and boy parts and then powder is sprinkled into their prepared diaper. 
Diaper Covers on and they are ready to go!

Diaper options
We first started out as we saw most others do: diapers + covers + suspenders.  Pampers size 7 for Buster, since that is the largest diaper made, or Goodnight boys size large/xlarge   A Poise pad placed along the waist band of the diaper to catch any urine that comes out of their boy parts.  Diaper covers over the diaper and clipped together with suspenders.

There are a few different diaper cover options.  The point of the diaper cover is to hold the diaper up and on and when attached to the waist band, give something for the suspenders to clip on to. Our boys have different diaper cover routines.  Buster wears xl boys goodnites and uses an overall bib design that has a bib along his tummy where i place an overnight poise pad in addition to his diaper. Since his boy parts are more forward, the diaper is not able to catch all his urine and the incontinence pad catches the overflow.  Frank is disabled and requires a cover with a little more give and not as bulky for the way he moves.  He wears medium goodnites and boys size 6 underwear as a cover with suspenders.  

We have also seen others using:

Happy Pantz:

DoodleBug Duds:

Dainty Diapers:

Gran's Critter Wear:

Gidget's Britches:

​Nuthin But Britches:


Dritz fashion fit clips: Suspender clips, you can these to keep the suspenders from slipping down, just attach to the suspenders a little below their neck and across their chest: Mitten clips also work with using a harness and having the clips attached to the top of the diaper and the bottom of the harness.
Suspenders: there are several suspender options.  For the most part, toddler suspenders found on Amazon ranging from 22 inches to 26 inches seem to fit most of the younger pups.  Adult suspenders found at amazon or in store work well for pups over 2 years old.

Incontinence pads
I have tried them all, and have found Poise pads rated at a 6 work best. My favorite is the Poise Overnight pad with Ultimate Absorbency and Extra Coverage: I buy them by the case!  We recently started using Depend Incontinence Guards for Men, Maximum Absorbency as another option.

I also make my own washable, reusable pads from thirsties hemp inserts backed with waterproof PUL fabric

Diapering supplies can be found at

Tip: make sure to check the sizing and consider the padding of the diaper or incontinent pads when ordering any diaper/overall/belly band from a vendor, to account for the additional girth of the padding.

Other Goodies

  • Smilism Diaper Bag Backpack: I love this bag!  When we are out and about this little bag keeps everything nice and organized with quick access.
  • Buster goes to therapy once a week and has a lot of gear for his swim class- a new favorite bag to accommodate his gear: Skip Hop Forma Travel Carry All Diaper Backpack with Insulated Bag;
  • I get travel sizes of our bath staples, Sassy Baby Disposable Diaper Sacks powder fresh poo bags:  and disposable pee pads for changing.
  • Dreft detergent for newborns and Dreft laundry stain remover, we are sensitive to his skin
  • Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail: We have found that unlike the other diaper pails on the market, this can actually accommodate the larger size diapers or Poise pads and the steel contains odors.
  • I like to use Waterproof Crib Sheet Toddler Sheet by Ely's & Co. no need for Crib Mattress Pad Cover or Crib Mattress Protector: the only all in one waterproof sheet i have been able to find:
  • Priva High Quality Ultra Waterproof Sheet and Mattress Protector: I love these, they come in various sizes, and unlike disposable ones that can bunch up and tear, these are reusable and comfy.   Easy-breezy and in the wash they go!
  • Benebones:, snuffle mats: Nina Ottosson games:  Must have for our active SB puppies and great for our other special needs pups too.

  • Lick mats there are also some that stick to the shower wall for distraction during bath time.
    Hyper Pet Lickimat Slow Feeder Dog Mat for Food and Treats (Fun Alternative to Slow Feeder Dog Bowls) [Boredom Buster Calming Companion for Dogs]

  • With Buster and Frank having a flat face, a traditional food bowl is challenging for him. We simply use the bottom of a neater feeder.
  • Ruffwear Coats: These are great, adjustable, warm and plenty of belly clearance for his dribbles.
  • For Buster and Frank's swim class we use: i play. Baby & Toddler Snap Reusable Absorbent Swim Diaper:  Barkertime has also come out with a line of swim diapers as well: We have begun using Swimmates a line of adult disposable swim diapers that are a little larger.

  • We love to rv road trip with our pups and having an sb pup on the road requires special packing. Having a washer and dryer system in our travel trailer made a huge difference being able to keep up with busters laundry needs.
    Portable Washing Machine, Spin Dryer-Compact Twin Tub Durable Design 9.9lbs Mini Washer to Wash All your Laundry for Apartments, Dorms, RV Camping Swim Suit Spinner Dryer, Blue:

  • Panda Portable Ventless Cloths Dryer Folding Drying Machine with Heater:

  • ​​Mac Sports Collapsible Folding Outdoor Utility Wagon

  • Since Frank has mobility issues and is over 50 lbs, we have an electric wagon that makes moving him around in the yard or going for walks easier

  • ​For outings and doctor appts we use HPZ Pet Rover Premium Expandable No-Zip Pet Stroller, X-Large

  • A heavy duty stroller is also a must, we have the large Petego Comfort Wagon  with the conversion kit

Surgery Staples

  • EliteField 2-Door Soft Pet Playpen, Exercise Pen, Multiple Sizes and Colors Available for Dogs, Cats and Other Pets;  with Buster having knee surgeries this has become the perfect "recovery hut" for him.  Super roomy for a bed and water bowl and lots of color and size options.  Crates can be hard to get him out of, this allows for multiple access points to help get him up and out. 
  • VTech VM343 Video Baby Monitor with Automatic Infrared Night Vision, Pan/Tilt/Zoom, Two-Way Audio & 1,000 feet of Range;  Has been a big help in keeping an eye on Buster as he recovers. Big screen, good range and the camera can tilt in multiple direction. 
  • hands down best harness for recovery of orthopedic surgeries or daily use.  Life saver for our senior rottie with wobblers.
  •  Suitical Recovery Suit for Dogs; we prefer this recovery option instead of a cone.  
  • Hip and Thigh Wound Protective Sleeve for Dogs: another cone alternative for leg surgeries.

Some of my favorite things are custom made items featuring the pups.  Etsy has a huge selection of amazing artisans and here are some of my favorite.

Professional photos one of the things I cherish the most.  There are many photographers that specialize in pet photos.  We use our photos to create our custom pup items.

Some of my favorite Etsy Toys

Naked time outside as much as possible.  It’s good to let his skin breath, and a great time to express his bladder (your veterinarian can show you how to do this, or there are helpful videos on YouTube).  We try to keep as little fecal material on his skin as possible since he defecates regularly.
As with anything, “a failure to plan is a plan for failure”. Buster and Frank are on a regimented daily feeding schedule that helps us know when he will use the bathroom, take a nap, or want to play. We have more control over his bodily output by timing the input!

Right away we learned the importance of getting Buster and Frank's bowel movements to a solid, dry consistency so that cleanup is easier and we avoid skin scalding and “muddy butt”. After determining there isn’t an underlying gastrointestinal issue with our local vet, we started trying different foods to see how he responded.
We quickly realized the importance of getting him enough fiber.  Our veterinarian recommended switching to Hill’s Science Diet W/D, which is a weight control product and fiber rich.  I was initially worried that the food might not contain the nutrients required  for a growing puppy since W/D is for weight control, but increasing his intake above the maintenance level seems to work just fine. The high fiber content of this food did the trick!  While W/D increases the frequency of his bowel movements, keeping a schedule makes it manageable.  Anything to avoid the mud butt!

Buster and Frank's Diet
Be sure to check with your veterinarian on what is appropriate for your SB dog:

  • Hills W/D
  • For UTI maintenance meds, this combo has been a lifesaver- since its prescription you must consult with your veternarian to see if this is an option for your SB pup and UTI situation. 
  • Dasuquin and Cetyl-m for joint support:

There are tons of supplement options and food choices, so consult with your veterinarian to see what will work best for your SB dog. Find a combination that works, and stick with it. Consistent input leads to consistent output!

Overall, caring for a spina bifida or special needs pup is all about routine and what works best for your family.