How to Bathe a Dog After Spaying

Easy
5 - 15 Minutes
2 Weeks

Introduction

It may take a little time before your dog is perfectly healed after a spaying surgery. She may have been wearing a cone of shame or even just a t-shirt to keep her body covered to prevent her from licking her incisions. Even post-surgery, dogs need baths. If you're spayed dog has been wearing a t-shirt during the healing process, she might be a little stinky and could require a bath. You want to take special care post-surgery just to ensure she's not causing any damage or opening any incisions.

Dog's Perspective

Even if she feels like Superdog, she may be tender to the touch and a bit on the tired side after being spayed. When you go to touch, pet, or even wash her stomach your dog may flinch, or she may try to lick the area while you're washing her. Just be very cautious with her while she's healing.

The Incision Care Method

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Towel
Step
1
Moisture
Do not allow your dog's incision to become wet. Do not submerge your dog in water or bathe for at least fourteen days. Your veterinarian will give you instructions for bathing when the time comes.
Step
2
Keep dry
Your dog's incision needs to be clean and dry in order to heal properly. Do not allow your dog to lick it or allow it to get wet either in the rain, in wet grass, or in a bath.
Step
3
Dirty incision
If your dog's incision becomes dirty you can clean it with a gentle saline solution and a bulb syringe. A simple rinse to get the dirt off should work. Pat dry or air dry. Just be sure the sutures and the incision dry quickly. Do not soak the incision.
Step
4
Crusty incision
If your dog's incision becomes crusty at all, keep an eye on it, looking for redness or swelling. These could be signs of an infection. It is normal for the incision to become a little crusty. You can very gently wipe this off with a soft cloth or towel or a wet cotton ball. Be careful not to pull on any stitches or have them get caught in your cloth or cotton ball.
Step
5
Precautions
Do not apply anything on the incision or wounds unless your veterinarian directs you to do so. Do not use any ointments, lotions, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol on your dog's incision. If your veterinarian has given you directions to use a prescribed ointment, follow those directions closely.
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The Licking to Clean Method

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Shampoo
Towel
Step
1
Dog Licking Site
Your dog is going to want to lick her incision site. This is her instinct. However, you need to do whatever you can to keep her from licking the area. Introducing bacteria from your dog's mouth into the open and healing wound could cause infection.
Step
2
Elizabethan collar
Your veterinarian may require your dog to wear an Elizabethan collar. This is a big round cone that goes around your head. By wearing an Elizabethan collar she will not be able to reach her incision site.
Step
3
Alternatives
If your dog does not do well with the Elizabethan collar, there are alternatives that you can use for your dog. Talk to your veterinarian about some suggestions they may have. Some dog owners put t-shirts on their dog that cover the surgical site. Others use collars like inflatable donuts which are not as big as E-collars but still keep your dog's mouth away from the wound.
Step
4
Licking the body
If your dog cannot reach the surgical site and has the instinct and desire to continue licking, you may notice her licking more in different areas. She may lick her legs more than she normally does because of the instinct to lick while she is nursing a wound.
Step
5
Keep her body clean
If your dog is licking other areas of her body incessantly just to ease that instinct desire to lick while she's healing, you may need to clean the areas she is licking often. To do this, just use a wet wipe or a wet washcloth and mild dog shampoo. Do not give your dog a bath while she is healing until your veterinarian says it's okay to do do so, usually after about 14 days post-surgery.
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Caution & Considerations

  • If you have any questions or concerns about bathing your dog post-surgery, call your veterinarian.
  • Keep your dog from licking the surgical site. Licking can introduce bacteria from her mouth to the incision, potentially causing an infection.
  • Any foul odor coming from an incision could mean potential infection.
  • If you see redness or swelling while bathing your dog after her surgery, contact your veterinarian for a re-check.
  • Red lines spreading out from the incision could also mean infection. See your vet right away if you observe these lines on your dog's skin.
  • Don't apply any creams or ointment to the incision site. Sutures need to stay clean and dry.
  • Your veterinarian may request that you wait about 2 weeks before submerging your dog in water. This means 14 days without a bath.
  • Do not let your dog’s sutures or incision get wet in the rain or outside in wet grass.
  • If you can plan ahead, have your dog groomed before surgery so she can wait for a full recovery before having her next bath.
  • Be sure to always follow any instructions your veterinarian has after your dog is spayed. Limit her activity and keep her resting for as long as possible. This will also help keep her clean so she won't require a bath until her body is ready for it.

Conclusion

Be gentle with your princess during this time of recovery. She is your baby, your pup, and she is going to want to be treated like a queen. Spot cleaning is okay, but keep your girl dry so she can heal.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Question
Penny
Boxer Mix
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Penny
Boxer Mix
2 Years

We recently adopted a dog from our local shelter and she is bothering allergy’s for people in the house. She got spayed the day before we got her. Is there any safe way to bathe her before her 2 weeks is up?

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