How to Bathe a Dog After She's Given Birth

Medium
10 - 20 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Reviewed by a licensed veterinary professional: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Grooming your pregnant pup is essential for her hygiene and comfort. But what's the best time to bathe a dog who's just given birth? And how should you go about it to keep Mama comfy and safe?

Here are some quick tips on how to bathe a dog who's just given birth:

  • Preparation is key. Trimming the fur on your dog's belly and back before she gives birth is a good way to prevent blood and amniotic fluid from building up in the fur.
  • Don't bathe her right away. It's best to wait 2 to 5 days after your dog gives birth before bathing her ‚ÄĒ this gives Mama a chance to recover from the labor and delivery, not to mention bond with her new babies.
  • Spot-clean and replace soiled bedding as needed. This will help keep your fur-family comfortable and the birthing area smelling fresh.

Dog's Perspective

Mama is tired after giving birth, and the safety of her puppies is her top priority. If you remove her to bathe her, she could become anxious. Plus, newborn puppies chill very easily ‚ÄĒ they need their mom's care, milk,¬†and body heat in the first few days.¬†

Also, immediately after giving birth, your dog and her puppies will bond with each others' scent. A bath can disrupt this vital process. Your dog is likely more concerned about her pups' safety than her own cleanliness. She'll also likely groom herself after giving birth. While this may not get her entirely clean, it will certainly help!

Within a few days of giving birth, most moms will appreciate a bath. Wait at least 2 to 5 days to bathe your dog after she gives birth, and limit her time away from the pups to as short a period as possible. It may help to bring the puppies into the bathroom with you so Mama can keep an eye on them.

Want to leave bathing your dog to an experienced groomer? Book a Grooming service with a Pet Caregiver near you today.

The First Full Bath Method

Most Recommended
6 Votes
Shampoo
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Pick a good time
Wait until your mother dog has finished nursing her puppies ‚ÄĒ this will encourage them to sleep and can help put Mama's mind at ease. Empty mammary glands are also less likely to expel milk during bathing.
Step
2
Handle carefully
Place your mama dog in the tub. Wrap your arm around her chest and backside to avoid putting pressure on her abdomen when lifting. Have a rubber mat in the tub so she doesn't slip. If she's anxious about leaving her pups, have all your grooming supplies prepared beforehand so bathing doesn't take longer than necessary. You may want to close the bathroom door so she doesn't try to escape, unless this makes her more anxious.
Step
3
Wet down
Wet your dog down with a handheld shower or by pouring water over her.
Step
4
Gently shampoo
Use a gentle, non-toxic dog shampoo and work through your dog's fur, being careful not to press on the mammary areas, which may be tender and can result in milk being expressed.
Step
5
Rinse and dry
Rinse thoroughly so no residue is left on your dog's hair that could come into contact with nursing puppies. Dry thoroughly with a towel and/or blow dryer before returning your dog to her pups. A wet mom dog can get her pups wet and cause them to become chilled.
Recommend grooming method?

The Spot Clean Method

Effective
3 Votes
Scissors
Towel
Step
1
Clean the whelping area
After your dog has given birth, carefully remove afterbirth by hand and replace bedding that has become soiled during whelping with clean, dry materials.
Step
2
Be considerate
Wait for the puppies to finish nursing before changing bedding and cleaning your mother dog. Take your cues from your dog ‚ÄĒ if she seems agitated with the cleaning process, take a break and return later to finish cleaning her and the whelping area.
Step
3
Spot-clean as needed
Wet a cloth with warm water and wring it out so it's just damp. Avoid using soaps or detergents. Wipe your dog between her hind legs and on her backside, carefully avoiding the mammaries and the vagina to prevent contamination.
Step
4
Dry throughly
Dry your dog with a towel. Avoid getting your dog very wet, as damp fur can get puppies damp and cause them to chill.
Step
5
Remove excess hair
Trim any excess hair around the backside or mammary glands that was not removed prior to birth and is becoming soiled. Continue to spot-clean your mother dog and change bedding as required for a few days as she produces discharge after having puppies. Wait for a few days before giving your mother dog a regular bath.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Avoid using medicated shampoos or harsh detergents, which can make pups sick if residue on mom's fur is ingested during nursing.
  • Pups can chill easily ‚ÄĒ be sure to keep them warm while Mom is away.
  • Bathe your mama dog as quickly as you can without causing her any additional stress.
  • Dry Mom thoroughly before returning her to her pups.
  • Choose your bath time carefully. Wait until pups have just finished nursing so the mammary glands are empty and don't leak during bathing. Nursing also makes puppies more likely to sleep.
  • Figure out what makes Mom least anxious about leaving her pups. Close the bathroom door if "out of sight, out of mind" works best. Or, place the pups nearby where your dog can see them if that makes her more comfortable.
  • Use a non-slip bath mat to avoid slips and falls.
  • Avoid putting pressure on your dog's abdomen and mammaries.

Conclusion

Mama dogs have a lot to worry about, but they're pretty efficient at caring for themselves after giving birth. Still, your dog may need a helping paw with her bathing and house cleaning duties.

Preparing for your dog's delivery is essential. Trim the fur on her belly and back before she goes into labor. Add clean, dry bedding to her whelping box or space, and

Shortly after she gives birth, carefully clean her with a damp cloth, paying special attention to her body language. Remember, avoid giving Mom a full bath until 2 to 5 days after the delivery.

When giving your dog her first bath after puppies, pick a time when the puppies have full bellies and Mom's mammary glands are empty. Handle your new mom carefully and use a gentle shampoo. Rinse and dry her thoroughly to keep her puppies safe, warm, and cozy.

If you need help giving your mama dog her first bath after giving birth, book a Grooming service with a Pet Caregiver near you today.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Question
Juliet
Bison and shiz tzu
3 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Juliet
Bison and shiz tzu
3 Years

What do you do when you cut they're hair and freak out when you start the clippers (the noise)?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. Is Juliet a new pet for you? Or have you had her awhile and she has developed a fear of the clippers? I would ask around at the dog park for the name of a trusted groomer who is experienced with grooming fearful dogs. The groomer will be able to get Juliet accustomed to the procedure - and will be much faster, making it easier on Juliet. Once your dog becomes used to grooming, you may be able to do it at home using good quality clippers that are very quiet. Alternatively, you can use grooming scissors so that she is more at ease. Good luck!

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Question
Little mama
Terrier /Chihuahua
7 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Little mama
Terrier /Chihuahua
7 Months

I was taking her to get her nails cut but the puppies came sooner than I expected she needs to have her nails cut bad it would take about 20 to 30 minutes for me to take her to get her nails cut how long should I wait since she had the babies before I was able to get the nails cut?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. I would call the vet and ask - you will need to take the puppies in for their first checkup (the vet can give you the timeline). I expect they can do Little Mama's nails at the same time. Good luck with the puppy family!

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Question
coco
Chihuahua
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
coco
Chihuahua
1 Year

while my dog was pregnant she had caught mange but due to Covid-19 we didn't take her to the vet to see what type of mange she had. So i went online and bought her some mange shampoo to help her. And i had been wash her 3 times a week for three weeks. But her puppies were delivered last night on the night i was going to wash her. And I'm just wondering if i can wash my dog with that shampoo in a few days or will it hurt the puppies or her in any way because the shampoo smell very strong of chemicals?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question about Coco. I would definitely call the vet and ask the question; they should be in the clinic as vets are still taking care of issues and emergencies. I believe they have specific protocol due to Covid-19 but will be able to help you. They can let you know if washing Coco three times a week is too much and can let you know about the danger of the chemicals to the newborn puppies (and to Coco). I am not a vet but I do feel that you should hold off doing anything until you speak to the veterinarian. All the best!

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Question
Sassy
Chihuahua
5 Years
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
Sassy
Chihuahua
5 Years

Can I use waterless no rinse shampoo calming formula on my dog that just had puppies 8 days ago

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I think this question is best directed to a veterinarian. I would feel more comfortable with that. You can ask Sassy's vet via a quick phone call, or enter your question here for a reply by a vet: https://wagwalking.com/wag-health. Because you are using a "calming formula" it is best to check with a vet to ensure the ingredients are safe for Sassy and her nursing pups. Good luck and all the best to little Sassy!

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Question
Luna
Chihuahua
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Luna
Chihuahua
2 Years

Whta is the best shampoo to use for momma dog after a few day after birth

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