How to Clean a Dog After Giving Birth

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

After giving birth to puppies, your momma dog is going to be messy! Bloody discharge and body fluids, including amniotic fluid expelled during the birth will have contaminated your dog's bed and her fur. Sometimes a dog may even vomit, urinate or defecate while giving birth, and she will be discharging blood for several days postpartum. All this makes for a soiled dog when she needs to be clean and caring for her new puppies, but how do you clean up your dog after she gives birth without disturbing her and the puppies? Is it safe to bathe a dog postpartum? 

You will definitely want to clean up your momma dog and her whelping area so that she and her puppies have a clean, dry environment. Your momma dog will usually take care of cleaning the puppies herself, but she may do so at the expense of cleaning herself, and you may need to help her clean up her own fur. She will definitely need your help to clean up her bedding. Doing so with as little interference as possible is best, so as not to disturb mom and puppies. 

Bathing a new momma dog immediately after giving birth is generally not advised, as it takes her away from her pups, who need her care and body heat in the first few days after they are born.

Dog's Perspective

Your mom dog may be exhausted, excited, stressed, anxious, and definitely messy after giving birth. Most momma dogs will not want to be separated from their puppies to have a bath, but your dog does need to be cleaned and have a clean bedding area for her and her pups. Cleaning up your dog and her environment with as little disturbance as possible will keep mom and pups healthy and happy.

The Least Invasive Clean Up Method

Effective
0 Votes
Towel
Step
1
Move puppies and mom
Move mom and puppies to a clean bedding area after all puppies have been born, or to a temporary location while you clean the birthing area.
Step
2
Clean whelping area
Remove bedding and towels in the whelping area and replace with clean bedding.
Step
3
Use a wet cloth
Wet down a clean face cloth or hand towel with warm water. Do not apply soap, which can cling to mom's fur and get on her puppies when they nurse.
Step
4
Wipe mom down
Wipe momma dog down, rinsing and wringing out cloth repeatedly to clean soiled areas. Gently clean around the nipples and the back end to remove afterbirth and blood.
Step
5
Dry thoroughly
Gently pat your dog down with a dry towel, you want to get your mom dog as dry as possible. Puppies chill easily, and a wet mom can mean wet pups. You will want to minimize disturbance to your dog and puppies, however. Avoid rubbing your momma dog in sensitive area like the belly and genitals with a towel.
Recommend grooming method?

The Bedding and First Bath Method

Effective
0 Votes
Shampoo
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Spot clean and maintain
Continue to spot clean your momma dog with a wet cloth and remove and replace soiled bedding for several days after giving birth.
Step
2
Wait to bathe
After several days you can bathe your mother dog if required. Wait until your mother dog has finished nursing her puppies so they are likely to go to sleep, and empty mammary glands are less likely to expel milk during bathing.
Step
3
Handle gently
Carefully lift your dog into the bathtub; avoid putting pressure on her stomach and mammary glands.
Step
4
Bathe and dry gently
Bath using a gentle, non-toxic dog shampoo. Be gentle and avoid putting pressure on mammary glands or the abdomen while you bathe. Rinse thoroughly and dry your dog thoroughly so puppies don't get chills from a wet momma dog.
Step
5
Monitor
Watch you new mom for sign of infection including fever, pain, lethargy or abnormal vaginal or mammary discharge.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Use gentle, non-toxic shampoo that will not harm puppies if residue is left on momma dog's fur.
  • Thoroughly dry the mother dog before returning her to the puppies as a wet mom can get puppies damp and chilled.
  • Clean or bathe mother dogs after they have finished nursing, so puppies are fed and sleepy and mom's mammary glands are not filled with milk.
  • If you need to separate your dog to clean her, determine what makes her more comfortable. Does she need to see her puppies to be relaxed, or is she content to be separated for a few minutes? 
  • Handle mother dogs gently, avoid putting pressure on their mammary glands or abdomen when handling and cleaning.

Conclusion

Birthing puppies is a tiring and messy business. Your momma dog may not be in the mood to be cleaned after giving birth, but she and her bedding will be soiled and she will require some assistance. Work quietly and gently and minimize invasiveness and handling when cleaning momma dog after giving birth, so as not to disturb or stress her, or separate her from puppies. Usually bathing your new mom should wait for several days, but you can spot clean with a wet cloth and change bedding after the birthing process. You will have to continue cleaning bedding and mom if she needs help, as vaginal discharge will continue for several days and you will want a clean environment for puppies, which includes a clean mom for suckling. Keep the bathing process short and gentle and minimize disruption to mom and her pups. Non-toxic shampoo, rinsing, and thorough drying is important for puppies when cleaning their momma, so as not to leave residue or return a wet mom to them. Remember puppies are delicate, and while they are nursing you need to consider this when handling their mom.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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