Can I Bathe My Dog After Vaccination?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2024
Can I Bathe My Dog After Vaccination?

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Dogs can be bathed after vaccination. Perhaps they have gotten dirty on the way home from the vet and you don't want the carpet becoming the same way. However, it is usually advised to wait at least a few days before doing so. This is something recommended by veterinarians. To explain, we'll show you what happens to your dog's body after they get their vaccination shots. This way you will be able to know when it is safe to bathe your dog again after vaccination.

AnimalWised asks can I bathe my dog after vaccination? We also expand on the information you need to know when vaccinating your dog, We'll also discuss how often you should bathe your dog, whether they have been vaccinated or not.

You may also be interested in: Is Vaccinating Pregnant Dogs Safe?
  1. Do dogs get sick after shots?
  2. What happens if a dog is sick after vaccination?
  3. Should I vaccinate my dog?
  4. How long should I wait to bathe my dog after vaccination?
  5. When is bathing after vaccination essential?
  6. When can I bathe my puppy?

Do dogs get sick after shots?

The vaccines used to treat your dog as preventative medicine are most likely attenuated vaccines. These are vaccines which contain a small live part of the pathogen against which the dog is to be inoculated. It stimulates an immune response in the canine and these produce the antibodies created to prevent contracting the disease fully. It is used for the common diseases to which a dog is exposed, some of which can be life threatening.

Other vaccines given to dogs are known as inactivated vaccines (also known as killed vaccines). They are weaker than attenuated vaccines since the pathogens have been deactivated. For this reason, they may need boosters more than other vaccine types.

In the cases of adult dogs, most veterinarians will gather 4 vaccines for 4 different diseases in the one single dose. In the case of puppies, as their bodies are still developing, the procedure is more delicate. The vaccine for puppies will often separate rabies for a different day. This is because their bodies are more vulnerable and need more time to recuperate between doses. A vaccination schedule is important for recently born puppies so they can have the best protection for the future.

As the vaccine is attenuated, meaning it contains a live culture, it essentially works by making the dog a little sick. During the day of inoculation, the dog may exhibit some sickness symptoms as its body fights what has been introduced into the organism. However, if the vaccine is administered properly, there shouldn't be any further sickness.

What happens if a dog is sick after vaccination?

The degree to which the vaccine affects an individual dog depends on their general well-being as well as its health status on that particular day. Like us humans, all animals will have more sensitive days than others. This may be a physical issue from being run down or even going through a period of stress or depression.

As healthy dogs are characterized by a desire to play and expend their energy, it can be difficult to know when our dog may be feeling under the weather. Only when they are very sick do they usually show visible apathy or specific symptoms. The extent of discomfort the animal feels will depend on different factors.

Physically, the dog may be a little tired after receiving their shots. This may last between 24 and 48 hours. Mentally, it can make them a little down and we need to consider the fact that any visit to the veterinarian can cause stress in a dog. Being taken to the vet and being punctured is not an everyday occurrence for dogs and it may leave them a little rattled.

As long as you give them lots of love and positive reinforcement before, during and after the experience, it shouldn't affect their long-term well-being. Lots of rest is also very important. If your dog does seem particularly unwell or develops a fever, it is best to speak to the vet in case there is a problem. However, problems from vaccines are exceedingly rare.

A dog will only get sick after shots if they have a hypersensitivity, usually in the form of an allergy. This reaction will usually happen within a few minutes or hours. If it does not happen within a few hours, there is little likelihood of an allergic reaction. In the unlikely circumstance where a dog has an allergic reaction from a vaccination shot, you will need to take them back to the veterinarian ASAP.

Another reason a dog may be sick is if they have a compromised immune system. However, the veterinarian should examine them beforehand to see if this is a problem.

Can I Bathe My Dog After Vaccination? - What happens if a dog is sick after vaccination?

Should I vaccinate my dog?

One of the questions which comes up about bathing after vaccinations is whether they should receive them in the first place. This responds to a growing trend in ‘anti-vaxxer’ sentiment which purports that vaccinations do more harm than good.

Certain reports show a very small link between sarcoma in dogs and cats and getting a shot[1]. However, this link is very slight and does not outweigh the benefits the dog receives in terms of protection and prevention. These vaccinations work to prevent dogs from very prevalent diseases which are much more likely than injection-site sarcoma.

How long should I wait to bathe my dog after vaccination?

Generally, bathing your dog won't be one of their favorite activities. Some may behave perfectly fine in the water, but many can find it a stressful experience in itself. For this reason, showering the dog may be a better option. Being vaccinated can make them feel a certain amount of discomfort. This is why the day they get their shots is not a good time to give them a bath. It can add more stress to an already confusing day for them.

Another reason for not bathing your dog after a vaccination is because their bodies will be working on feeling better. If you wash them and then don't dry them thoroughly, they can be more susceptible to developing a cold. If you do try to dry them with a hair dryer, this can also be stressful and is not wise to put them through another situation which may cause them anxiety.

Ideally, the day of the vaccination should be a day which is relaxed and has little else to cause upset. If you want toe exercise, short walks without balls or games is best. You don't want to overexert them and prolong their recovery. Also, you don't want to get them dirty so that a bath seems necessary. The day after, once they perk up a little is better. Ideally, however, you want to wait a few days when they are fully recovered before you bathe them.

You do not need to bathe or shower your dog after vaccination as protocol. Getting their shot shouldn't cause any direct hygiene issues.

When is bathing after vaccination essential?

It is possible, you will find yourself in extenuating circumstances when a bath or shower after getting shots is necessary for your dog. This is likely because they have got into some mess on the way home from the vet or that the weather is so bad. Even walking between your car and house can cause them to become dirty.

If the dirt is localized, then it is much better to simply wash these areas with a damp cloth and save a full bath until a later date. If you want to know how to clean some smaller areas, then you can take a look at these articles on how to clean a dog's ears as well as leakage around the eyes.

To prepare, you should bathe the dog before vaccination. This way they will be clean and ready to go to the vet without having to worry about smells or dirt afterwards. It is not a good idea to bathe a dog after vaccinations. Instead, show some empathy, give them treats, love and time to rest.

Can I Bathe My Dog After Vaccination? - When is bathing after vaccination essential?

When can I bathe my puppy?

You may have vaccinated your dog when they are a puppy (you certainly should vaccinate as soon as possible if you have the dog in your care as a puppy). However, you may have some doubts over how to deal with your puppy's hygiene in general. One thing to know is that it is not good to bathe a puppy before they have had the chance to wean. If you are thinking about bathing an unvaccinated puppy which is younger than 4 weeks old, we highly recommend you reconsider. If there is some essential reason you need to bathe them, as unlikely as this may be, consult your veterinarian first.

On the other hand, if your dog is on their vaccination schedule it is advisable to wait two weeks after each inoculation to give them a bath. This is because their immune system is much weaker than that of an adult dog. This makes them more susceptible to getting sick as their body deals with the vaccine.

If you have decided to give your puppy a bath for the first time, then don't forget to use a specific shampoo designed for this purpose. Thoroughly dry them at the end of the bath and make sure they do not stay damp for any prolonged period. Also, you will need to deworm the dog, so make sure you have spoken to a specialist to ensure all their care needs are met.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Can I Bathe My Dog After Vaccination?, we recommend you visit our Vaccination category.


1. Wei, Q., et al. (2019). Elucidating the transcriptional program of feline injection-site sarcoma using a cross-species mRNA-sequencing approach. BMC Cancer, 19(311).

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