How to Groom a Pregnant Dog

Medium
1 - 1 Hour
1 Week

Introduction

An expectant momma dog needs grooming just like any other dog would, perhaps even more, so that she is clean and has excess hair removed prior to the birth of her puppies and to help prepare the mammary area for nursing puppies. 

There are a few things you need to be aware of, however, when grooming a pregnant dog. When handling your pregnant dog, do not put pressure on her belly or abdominal area. You can pick up a pregnant dog by putting one arm around her chest and the other around her back legs under the tail area, so you can handle her when grooming. Also, a pregnant dog will have mammary glands filling up with milk, and nipples will be protruding, even engorged, prior to whelping. Be careful when grooming, trimming or clipping the abdomen, not to interfere with the teats or put pressure on mammary glands. Putting pressure on mammary glands a few days prior to whelping can result in milk being expressed. The first milk is colostrum, which the puppies need and you do not want to lose it or interfere with or injure the milk ducts.

Dog's Perspective

Ever been pregnant? Well if you have, your dog probably feel pretty similar--uncomfortable, emotional, the works! A pregnant dog may act unpredictably due to discomfort or fluctuating hormones. Be sure to pay attention and stop or adjust grooming methods if you observe signs of stress in a pregnant dog. Also, be careful not to handle or groom your dog in a way that would increase her discomfort; avoid pressure on the belly and near mammary glands that might injure unborn puppies or milk ducts.

The Bathing and Trimming Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Brush daily
Regularly brush your dog with a soft brush to remove debris. Usually, this is done daily. Do not put pressure on the abdomen and do not use a stiff bristled brush on delicate areas.
Step
2
Prepare a safe bath
Pregnant dogs should be bathed about one week prior to their due dates to remove debris and bacteria and to remove 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
Bathe
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
Dry carefully by gently rubbing your dog 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
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 Maternity Cut Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Clipper
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Brush daily
Brush a pregnant dog daily prior to whelping with a soft brush to remove debris and tangles.
Step
2
Prepare a safe area
Clip a pregnant dog 1-2 weeks prior to her due date. Handle a pregnant dog carefully; avoid pressure on the abdomen. Pick the dog up by putting an arm under the tail area, behind the hind legs, and in front of their chest. Hold securely and use non-slip surfaces so the dog cannot slip and fall.
Step
3
Bathe gently
Bath dog using non-chemical, or pesticide-free, gentle shampoo. Rinse thoroughly and dry carefully using a blow dryer on a low heat setting.
Step
4
Clip abdomen
Clip the dog's entire belly and mammary area to remove hair around teats. This makes nursing easier for puppies. Be careful to avoid over-clipping or overheated blades. Be extremely careful not to put pressure on the mammary glands and to avoid injuring teats.
Step
5
Clip pelivc area
Shave the groin and genitals, being careful not to allow blades to become overheated--check them frequently on your wrist. If they are hot, stop clipping and let them cool. Blades should be clean and well-oiled. Do not clip too close or cause irritation in this area and avoid contaminating genitals with debris from rectal area. Clip front to back.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Remember not to put pressure on the belly when handling a pregnant dog. Do not pick her up with your arm under the abdomen. Put your arm under the tail area, behind hind legs.

  • Make sure the dog has good footing at all times when being groomed so she does not slip and injure her pelvis or abdominal area.

  • Keep your dog clean prior to whelping, but avoid over grooming, which could cause skin irritation.

  • Avoid contamination of genitals with fecal material. Keep the area clean, work from front to back.

  • Be careful of the mammary area and teats. Work around these areas gently but keep them clean and free of excess hair.

  • Remember that a pregnant dog can act unexpectedly. Be aware of your dog's mood, avoid stressing her, and take precautions if she seems agitated or aggressive.

Conclusion

Pregnancy can be a stressful time for anyone, even your dog! Expectant momma dogs need to be handled gently to avoid injury to unborn puppies and to mom. Take your time, ensure you are not putting pressure on any area that would cause injury or discomfort to your expectant momma dog, and watch mom for signs of stress. Mom will want to look her best and it is important she is clean and free of excess hair and debris on the big delivery day, just remember to perform all grooming activities with care and caution.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions