How to Bathe a Pregnant Dog

Medium
30 - 60 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Pregnant dogs need grooming and baths, just like any other dog, to keep their coats tangle-free, clean, and to remove debris, oils and dirt. No one wants a smelly dog, whether they are pregnant or not! Also, keeping your pregnant dog clean prior to birthing will make her more hygienic when the puppies are born, and removal of debris and dead hair by bathing will make it easier for puppies to safely nurse in a clean environment. 

There are a few issues that need to be considered when bathing a pregnant dog. How you handle and pick up your expectant mother is important; you do not want to put any undue pressure on the abdominal area. You will also want to make sure there is no chance of your dog slipping or falling when being bathed, or cause her undue stress if she does not like water and baths. One more thing to think about is the kind of shampoo you use. Most antiparasitic or flea shampoos are not appropriate for bathing a pregnant dog, as contents can be toxic to puppies, and absorbed through the skin or residue left on the hair and skin that can contaminate nursing puppies. Check the label of any dog shampoo to ascertain ingredients, and determine whether it is appropriate for pregnant dogs. Many detergents and dog shampoos may contain ingredients not recommended for pregnant dogs that are about to have puppies.

Dog's Perspective

Your pregnant dog may or may not be too fussy about being handed and bathed.  Some dogs love baths, and are not stressed or phased by baths when pregnant. However, a dog that does not like baths in the first place, and is not used to being handled or picked up, may be even more reticent when they are pregnant. Remember that due to hormone fluctuations and increasing size, your momma dog may experience personality changes and can be irritated or even aggressive when handled for a bath. When bathing your pregnant dog, go slow, move at her pace and see what is and what is not comfortable for her--adjust accordingly.

The Standard Bathing for Pregnant Dog Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Brush
Brush your pregnant dog with a soft brush to remove debris and tangles prior to bathing. Do not put pressure on the abdomen and do not use a stiff bristled brush on delicate areas.
Step
2
Handle carefully
Pregnant dogs should be bathed as necessary, and about 1 week prior to their due dates, to remove debris and bacteria, and excess hair. Pick your pregnant dog up carefully by putting one arm behind her hind legs, under the tail area, and one arm around her chest. Be sure to hold her securely so she does not fall, but avoid putting pressure on her abdomen. Place your dog in a safe, secure bath she cannot jump out of. Restrain her if necessary to make sure she does not injure herself by attempting to jump out of the tub and use a non-slip surface so she does not slip.
Step
3
Shampoo
Use warm, not hot, water. Bathe with gentle shampoos; oatmeal shampoo is often recommended. Clean, but avoid scrubbing the genital area with excess shampoo which can disturb natural bacteria and result in a yeast infection. Clean the genital area from front to back to avoid contaminating genitals with feces. Rinse your pregnant dog thoroughly to remove any shampoo residue. Do not use flea shampoos or shampoos with chemicals or pesticides.
Step
4
Dry gently
Dry carefully by gently rubbing with a clean dry towel, avoid pressure on the abdomen or near mammary glands. Use a blow dryer on the lowest setting with caution.
Step
5
Trim hair
Trim long or excess hair carefully from around teats, genitals, and anus to prevent contamination during whelping and make it easier for puppies to nurse.
Recommend grooming method?

The Address Special Circumstances Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Towel
Step
1
Use a walk-in shower
If your pregnant dog resists being picked up, or is uncomfortable with being picked up and put in a standard bathtub, try using a shower stall. Walk your pregnant dog into the shower stall. You can get in the shower with your dog wearing a bathing suit or other clothes you do not mind getting wet.
Step
2
Introduce slowly
Turn the shower head so it sprays against the wall first and adjust temperature, then slowly introduce to your pregnant dog.
Step
3
Pour water
If your pregnant dog does not like the sound and feel of the shower, fill jugs of warm water in a sink or tub and pour them gently over her in the shower stall to bathe.
Step
4
Address parasites
If you need to address or prevent fleas on your pregnant dog, try 1/4 cup Dawn dish soap, 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup of water mixed. Distribute evenly over coat, avoiding the eyes. Commercial anti-parasitic shampoos that are safe for pregnant dogs are also available, consult your veterinarian if this is a concern.
Step
5
Dry carefully
Shampoo gently, rinse thoroughly and pat dry, being careful of the abdominal area. Remove excess hair with scissors if necessary on the abdomen.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Make sure you handle and pick up your pregnant dog carefully to avoid putting pressure on the abdomen.
  • Do not use shampoo or other bathing products with pesticides or chemicals.
  • Make sure your pregnant dog is not in danger of slipping or falling.
  • Go slow and avoid stressing your pregnant dog; adapt bathing process as necessary to avoid upsetting your dog.
  • Have everything ready so you do not have to reach away from your dog, which could result in her slipping, or so that bath time does not last longer than necessary.
  • Watch for signs of discomfort when bathing your pregnant dog and stop doing anything that appears to be distressing.

Conclusion

Momma dogs want to look nice too!  Your pregnant dogs also wants to be clean and comfortable when her puppies come. Although mother dogs will groom themselves, regular bathing during pregnancy to keep their coats and skin debris and bacteria-free is recommended in most cases. Just be careful, use the right products and adjust as necessary for your expectant mom's comfort.

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