How to Clean Puppy After Spaying

Medium
10 - 30 Minutes
2 Week

Introduction

Susie the six-month-old Shih Tzu just got spayed. Because she was trying to lick her incision, the veterinarian recommended she wear a cone, also called an e-collar. Now Susie can't lick her incision, or the rest of her body either. This means Susie cannot attend to her usual self-grooming activity.  To make matters worse, she peed on herself during recover from anesthesia and vomited after her first meal the evening of her surgery. Susie is a hot mess!  Her owner needs to clean her up a bit, but the veterinarian said not to bathe her for at least 10-14 days, as immersing Susie in water could cause her incision to become contaminated with dirty water and cause stitches to loosen and come apart. Cleaning Susie is going to require some creative workarounds so she is not covered in yucky fluids and her incision is not compromised.

Dog's Perspective

If your dog has just been spayed she may not be feeling too great. Although spaying is a routine procedure, it is major abdominal surgery and your dog may be experiencing discomfort from surgery or feeling under the weather from the anesthetic. If she needs to wear an e-collar to prevent licking the incision, also known as the “cone of shame” because dogs look so forlorn when wearing them, she will not be too happy about that either. When cleaning your recently spayed dog, be sure to read her body language and demeanor for signs that she is becoming stressed, in pain, or upset. Adjust cleaning methods accordingly to reduce stress and upset. Be careful handling your recently spayed dog. Do not put pressure on her abdomen where her incision is located to avoid causing additional discomfort.

The Cleaning Body Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Towel
Step
1
Brush regularly
Brush your dog to distribute body oils and remove debris. Do not brush the abdominal area.
Step
2
Use commercial pet wipes
Pet wipes, available at pet supply stores, can be used to wipe off soiled areas. Avoid using pet wipes near an incision as cleaning agents can irritate an incision and introduce contaminants.
Step
3
Dry shampoo
Use a dry shampoo made with baking soda and cornstarch and apply to soiled areas. Rub in gently and brush out.
Step
4
Spray and wash
Spot spray your dog with warm water where soiled. Wipe soiled areas that have been wet down with a clean cloth or gauze to remove dirt.
Step
5
Spot clean
Soak a clean cloth or gauze in warm water or saline solution, or use a mild surgical scrub available from your veterinarian, and spot clean soiled areas. Avoid the incision area and abdomen. When necessary to work in this area, wipe away from the incision area.
Recommend grooming method?

The Clean Incision Area Method

Effective
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Towel
Step
1
Address discharge
Usually, incision care is minimal for a standard spay. However, if discharge needs to be removed you may need to clean the incision and surrounding area.
Step
2
Irrigate incision
Fill a syringe with saline made with warm water and salt, or saline that is available from a pharmacy, and gently irrigate the incision with low pressure.
Step
3
Wipe away solution and discharge
Use sterile gauze to wipe away excess saline used for irrigation and any discharge from the incision area.
Step
4
Monitor incision
Inspect the incision for signs of redness, swelling or inappropriate discharge. Get veterinary attention if signs of compromise or infection are present.
Step
5
Pat dry
Gently pat dry area around the incision with a clean dry cloth or sterile gauze.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Avoid bathing or soaking stitches for 10 -14 days after surgery.
  • Avoid manipulating the incision areas or contaminating with water or detergent. Work gently to pat dry or clean around the incision.
  • Watch for signs of infection, hemorrhage, or stitches coming loose and get veterinary assistance if required.
  • Use clean hands and clean materials when working around your recently spayed dog.
  • Do not let your dog lick or interfere with the incision site, use an e-collar if required.

Conclusion

Spaying is major surgery. Although most young dogs bounce back from this routine surgery pretty quickly, remember that major abdominal surgery requires you to be careful with your dog's activity and how you clean her. Restrict movement and interference as much as possible in the days following surgery, and clean your dog with the least invasive methods possible. Spot cleaning, dry bathing, and brushing can all be used to clean your dog after spaying and addresses soiled areas.  

Remember, stitches should not be exposed to water, which could loosen them and cause an incision to open. Also, dirty water from bathing can introduce bacteria into an incision. Avoid bathing for one to two weeks after your puppy's spay. Clean using localized methods and be gentle with your girl, she needs some tender loving care!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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