How to Bathe a Dog With Parvo

Hard
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Poor three-month-old puppy, Cinder, is sick. She has a high fever, can barely lift her head, and has severe diarrhea and vomiting--she cannot even keep water down. Her concerned owner rushes her to the veterinarian. Cinder has canine parvovirus,  a very contagious, very serious viral disease. Although canine parvovirus can be vaccinated against successfully, every year thousands of unvaccinated dogs or puppies that have not yet had the opportunity to be vaccinated contract this serious, sometimes fatal disease. The virus is characterized by severe infection and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Dogs with the virus can rapidly become dehydrated, and the illness is frequently fatal. Affected dogs that do receive treatment and recover are in a weakened state and are frequently covered in vomit and diarrhea which needs to be cleaned off.  

If your dog is recovering from parvo you will most likely want to bathe your dog to clean him or her up. There are, however, several concerns with bathing a dog infected with parvo. Because of the severity of the illness and the dog's weakened state they are prone to chill easily and can easily get hypothermia due to impaired ability to regulate their temperature, which can be very dangerous. Care needs to be taken to minimize your dog getting cold or stressed while being bathed.  A dog that is experiencing severe parvo symptoms including dehydration should not be bathed by immersion in water if possible. Alternative bathing methods should be used to minimize the chance of the dog getting hypothermia and going into shock. Another concern is the contagious nature of parvo. You will want to take precautions to clean up after bathing your sick dog so as to minimize the chance of spreading the disease to other animals.  

Dog's Perspective

If your dog is suffering from parvo she will be one very sick puppy.  She may not be up to putting up a fight about having a bath, but she will not be herself, and may not be amenable to being handled. Be prepared for a puppy that is not cooperative. Also, a sick puppy will need support in the bath as she may be too weak to stand properly and is subject to slip. She will also need to be kept warm during and after the bath so as not to become chilled.

The Spot Clean Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Separate soiled hair
If your dog is very weak, has a fever, or is suffering from dehydration, avoid wetting your dog completely down. If they have diarrhea and have been vomiting, focus on cleaning only soiled areas. Brush clean hair away from soiled hair.
Step
2
Wet soiled areas
Wet down a rag or old face cloth with warm water and dampen soiled fur.
Step
3
Clean soiled areas
Wipe off as much feces and vomit as possible with a warm cloth. Work sticky, soiled fur with the cloth or wear rubber or latex gloves and pull off material. Add gentle shampoo to the cloth and gently scrub soiled areas if necessary.
Step
4
Rinse and dry
Remove shampoo residue with a warm wet cloth. Towel dry your dog and put her in a warm place to dry, such as a bathroom near a heat vent or dry with a blow dryer, carefully, on a warm setting.
Step
5
Decontaminate
Clean up the area and cloths with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 30 parts water. Decontaminate rags and then dispose of them, you do not want parvo-infected rags to end up in a landfill where they may spread the disease. Towels and other tools like brushes can be decontaminated with a bleach mixture and washed. Leave bleach mixture on surfaces for at least 10 minutes. Wash your hands and clothes to avoid spreading the virus.
Recommend grooming method?

The Standard Bath Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Pin Brush
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Brush
If your dog is recovering and is strong enough for a thorough bath, she can be bathed normally, however care should be taken to work quickly so your dog does not become chilled and warm water should be used. Brush your dog before bathing.
Step
2
Wet with warm water
Wet your dog down with warm, water avoiding the face, eyes and nose.
Step
3
Wash with gentle shampoo
Shampoo with a gentle dog shampoo, do not use disinfectant soap or bleach, which is toxic to dogs and can damage skin and harm your already sick pup. Wash face area with a facecloth, keeping water out of ears, eyes, nose and mouth.
Step
4
Rinse and dry quickly
Rinse your dog well with warm water and dry immediately with a towel and by placing in a warm location or with a warm blow dryer.
Step
5
Decontaminate
Clean up the bath area and any tools with a bleach mixture, 1 part bleach to 30 parts water. Allow disinfecting bleach solution to sit on any surfaces for at least 10 minutes before rising. Wash towels and cloths in bleach solution and wash hands thoroughly to prevent spreading the virus. Wash hands well.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Bathing will reduce the virus contaminants on your sick dog's fur, however, your dog will still be contagious for several weeks after recovering from parvo.  Your dog should be quarantined and kept away from other dogs and her feces removed so other dogs are not exposed and the virus does not spread.
  • Dogs that are affected with canine parvo are in a very weakened state and have trouble regulating their temperature. Care must be taken during bathing to ensure your dog does not become chilled or get hypothermia.
  • Canine parvo often needs veterinary intervention and medication to control vomiting and provide fluids for dehydrated dogs intravenously. Secondary infections may need antibiotics.
  • Seek veterinary advice if you suspect your dog has canine parvovirus.
  • Wash hands, surfaces and tools with a bleach solution after bathing your dog, to disinfect parvovirus.
  • Be gentle and take precautions handling a stick and weak animal. The dog may need support and non-slip surfaces to protect him from slipping.

Conclusion

A dog sick with canine parvo is often covered in diarrhea and vomit, and will be contaminated by parvovirus. While parvo is not a risk to humans, it is very contagious to other dogs. Although bathing will not prevent your dog from being contagious, it will reduce the amount of contagion and clean soiled fur of body fluids. Take care to avoid chilling your sick dog; spot clean if possible and wait to do a complete bath until your dog is recovering and able to tolerate the bathing process better. Be sure to disinfect rags, towels, clothes and the bath area thoroughly with a bleach solution.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!