Ginger, a young female Golden Retriever, has just had her first batch of puppies. She is a proud, although somewhat inexperienced mom. Her owners trimmed the hair on her backside and belly before she had puppies so, fortunately, there is not too much of a mess on her fur, however, some amniotic fluid, blood, and afterbirth are stuck to her. She is doing her best to clean up after herself, and her puppies, but it’s a lot to handle for a new mom!
Can her owners bathe her? How should they bathe her?
You will want to clean up after your dog has puppies. Both your dog and the whelping area should be as hygienic as possible. However, bathing a momma dog immediately after she has given birth may not be the best idea. It is better to wait a few days, give your momma dog time to attend to her puppies and recover from labor and delivery. You can clean her up with spot cleaning and replace soiled bedding for her and the puppies for the first few days, and provide a more thorough bath when momma has had a chance to settle in.
Your momma dog is tired after giving birth, and highly focused on her puppies. If you remove her to bathe her, she could become anxious for them. Plus, newborn puppies chill very easily. They need their mom's care, milk, and body heat in the first few days. Also, during the time immediately after giving birth your dog and her puppies bond with each others' scent. A bath can be disruptive to this process. Chances are, immediately after having pups, your dog is more concerned about them than being clean, however, within a few days, most mom dogs will appreciate a bath to get rid of body fluids from whelping. Wait at least 2-5 days after giving birth to bathe your momma dog, and keep her time away from pups as short as possible.