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 Chewy.com.
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.
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!
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 https://smile.amazon.com. 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: https://www.facebook.com
DoodleBug Duds: http://www.doodlebugduds.com
Dainty Diapers: https://www.facebook.com/daintydiapers/
Gran's Critter Wear:https://www.facebook.com/granscritterwear/
Nuthin But Britches: https://www.facebook.com/Nuthinbuttbritches/
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: https://smile.amazon.com 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.
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: https://www.poise.com I buy them by the case! We recently started using Depend Incontinence Guards for Men, Maximum Absorbency https://smile.amazon.com as another option.
Diapering supplies can be found at Wazoodle.com
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.
Benebones: http://www.benebone.com/, snuffle mats: https://www.etsy.com Nina Ottosson games: https://nina-ottosson.outwardhound.com/ 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] https://smile.amazon.com
For Buster and Frank's swim class we use: i play. Baby & Toddler Snap Reusable Absorbent Swim Diaper: https://www.amazon.com Barkertime has also come out with a line of swim diapers as well: https://barkertime.com/product-category/swim-diapers-for-hydrotherapy-dogs/ 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: https://smile.amazon.com
Panda Portable Ventless Cloths Dryer Folding Drying Machine with Heater: https://smile.amazon.com
Mac Sports Collapsible Folding Outdoor Utility Wagon https://smile.amazon.com
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
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.
Custom painted ornaments: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AlexisAnneGrantArt
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:
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.