Can I Give My Pregnant Dog a Bath?
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We need to be careful when taking care of a pregnant dog. There are some hidden considerations we need to make in terms of how we treat them. For example, even if they have been prescribed them before, there are certain medications they shouldn't take due to the potential effects on their pregnancy. Even the most everyday activities may need to be amended in order to support the dog through their pregnancy.
At AnimalWised, we answer a common question caregivers might consider during canine pregnancy: can I give my pregnant dog a bath? Before we answer this question, we would like to remind readers that any concern we may have with our dog during pregnancy should be registered with their veterinarian.
Basic pregnant dog care
A dog's pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days, with a healthy range of between 56 and 66 days. A normal pregnancy allows the dog to maintain their routine, so it is wrong to be too restrictive when caring for a pregnant dog. However, there are certain basic considerations we need to make during our dog's pregnancy:
- Veterinary checkups: as soon as we suspect our dog is pregnant, the first thing we need to do is to take them to a veterinary clinic. While there are standard guidelines we will need to follow, out veterinarian will be able to tell us if there are any specific considerations we need to make with our dog. They will usually confirm the pregnancy with an abdominal palpitation or ultrasound. They will also have a final visit before their due date to confirm everything is well.
- Feeding: once the pregnancy is confirmed, we must feed our bitch with a special feed for puppies. This is because it is the best to cover her nutritional needs during this period and the one that will continue to benefit her during breastfeeding.
- Deworming: deworming is a preventive measure taken to stop parasitical infestation. As puppies are particularly vulnerable to parasites, it is important a pregnant mother is dewormed. The veterinarian will likely recommend deworming again around 45 days into the pregnancy. They will then need dewormed again during breastfeeding along with her pups. During this period, not all antiparasitic deworming agents are safe, so it is important we follow veterinary instructions carefully. For more information, take a look a tour article on how long after flea treatment can I bathe my dog?
- Exercise: our dog will be able to lead a normal life, performing her usual outings and walks. We should only prevent her from making big jumps or playing rough games with other dogs to prevent injury to herself or her puppies, otherwise it is safe to exercise a pregnant dog. Our dog will stop herself from exercising once she is about to enter labor.
- Precautions: before applying or administering any product to our pregnant dog, we must consult with the veterinarian. During pregnancy, products such as antiparasitic collars, pipettes or shampoos may contain ingredients which can be harmful as they may be able if they reach the puppies.
This last point of precautions ties in with our initial question about whether we can bathe a pregnant dog. Below we provide the considerations we need to make if our pregnant dog is dirty.
Bathing pregnant dogs
A pregnant dog will follow a similar routine as long as the above precautions are taken. When we ask whether this means a pregnant dog can be bathed, the answer is yes. You can bathe a pregnant dog if necessary, but there are some specific precautions you should make:
- Make sure the bathtub or place where we bathe them has a non-slip surface to avoid falls and bumps. We can use special non-slip bathtub mats or even a simple folded towel.
- Always use a shampoo approved by our veterinarian. As we have stated, some products may contain components which could be toxic to pregnant dogs, especially in the case of shampoos with insecticides used to deworm. If you wonder what product you should use to bathe your pregnant dog, do not hesitate to consult with the specialist who takes care of your dog.
- Handle the dog with care, do not exert pressure or use sudden movements, especially in the abdominal area.
- If the dog's breathing is agitated, they are uncomfortable, become anxious or continually try to get out of the bathtub, we should not continue with the bath. Stress is very harmful to a pregnant dog.
Although bathing is suitable for most pregnant dogs, there are circumstances in which it is not recommended. These include the following:
- At the end of pregnancy: it is a time when the dog needs tranquility and will be in search of a nesting place for labor. Unless bathing is a relaxing activity for her, it is better not to stress her out or distract her from her main focus
- Dogs that do not tolerate bathing: for dogs which become very nervous, restless, scared or who insistently try to escape from the bath should not be bathed during pregnancy to avoid a stressful situation. Since dogs do not need bathing regularly without specific cause, it should be fine to wait until after the pregnancy or even until the puppies are weaned.
For related information, take a look at our article on whether you can bathe your dog after vaccination.
What to do if a pregnant dog becomes dirty?
It should be fine to give a pregnant dog a bath unless they are subject to the above restrictions. We should make an effort to ensure they are not in a position where they will become very dirty, especially in the days leading up to their labor.
However, there may be occasions where the dog does become dirty such as when it starts raining while out for a walk. This situation may be exacerbated in longhaired dogs. If they become stressed during bathing, we should find other ways to clean them. Using wipes which are suitable for pregnant dogs may be sufficient or even wiping them with a clean wet towel.
Pregnancy is not a reason to stop grooming the dog. We should still give regular brushing and ensure their coat is well-maintained. If we become stressed going to a groomer, we should do it at home or wait until after pregnancy for more involved grooming practices.
Can a pregnant dog be bathed with amitraz?
As we have been saying, there are certain substances that are harmful during a dog's pregnancy. Amitraz is among them. This is antiparasitic for topical use used against fleas, ticks and lice. It is used in small doses and absorbed through the skin. For this reason, it can affect puppies in utero and during lactation.
Amitraz can cause teratogenic effects (malformations) or even miscarriages. Although it is possible to bathe a pregnant dog, we can never do it with a product that our veterinarian has not recommended with the certainty that its use is safe during the pregnancy of our dog. During lactation, precautions must be maintained, as these and other substances can also be found in their milk. Bathing a pregnant bitch with amitraz is not recommended, unless instructed to do so by the veterinarian.
Now you know about bathing a dog during pregnancy, take a look at our related article on whether you should bathe them after giving birth.
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 Give My Pregnant Dog a Bath?, we recommend you visit our Pregnancy problems category.