How to Bathe a Dog After She's Given Birth

Medium
10 - 20 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

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.

Dog's Perspective

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.

Caution & Considerations

  • Do not use medicated shampoos or harsh detergents, which can make pups sick if residue on mom's fur is ingested during nursing.
  • Pups can chill easily. Keep them warm while mom is away, keep her bathing time short, and dry mom thoroughly before returning her to her pups.
  • Choose your time well, wait until pups have just finished nursing so mammary glands are empty and don't leak during bathing and pups are content for a while and 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 pups nearby where your dog can see them if that makes her the most comfortable.
  • Make sure you use a rubber mat and avoid putting pressure on your dog's abdomen where her mammaries are producing milk.

Conclusion

Momma dogs have a lot to worry about, but will usually include cleaning up their bed, puppies and themselves in their maternal duties. Still, your dog may need some help with her bathing and house cleaning duties. You can clean up your dog's bed after she has her pups and provide clean dry bedding, and wipe her down with a damp cloth to clean away body fluids and afterbirth immediately after she gives birth. Avoid a complete bath until several days after she delivers her pups. When giving your dog her first bath after puppies, pick a time when puppies have their bellies full and mom has her mammary glands empty, handle your new mom carefully, and make sure gentle shampoo is thoroughly rinsed and your dog thoroughly dried so she won’t get her pups wet and chilled.

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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