Maddy the Poodle cross has just come back from the veterinarian, at 6 months of age, after being spayed. After her first small meal, while still recovering from the anesthetic, she gets sick and vomits all over herself. Yuck! Maddy’s owner would like to bath her, but of course, she has stitches.
Can you bathe a dog with stitches? How do you bathe a dog with stitches?
Most veterinarians recommend not bathing a dog with stitches until 7-10 days after stitches are placed to give the wound time to heal. Contaminating the wound area with dirty water should be avoided and detergents and soaps can easily irritate skin in the area, so caution needs to be exercised when bathing a dog with stitches to ensure that wounds are not contaminated or irritated. Also, water can cause stitches to loosen, which can open the closure and result in hemorrhaging or bacteria getting into the incision or wound, either of which can result in a very serious issue. If your dog has become seriously soiled and has stitches, there are a couple of modified bathing options you can employ to clean her up.
If your dog has stitches he or she may not be feeling very well, after all they have either just suffered an injury or had surgery. A dog that is experiencing stress from a medical procedure may be likely to behave defensively, or out of character. Take care when cleaning a dog with stitches not only to not injure or put pressure on the wound with stitches when handling, which can hurt your dog, but also watch for signs of stress and aggression and adjust your handling accordingly.