Someone who has recently given birth might appreciate a bit of time to themselves, soaking in the bathtub as they enjoy a bit of pampering. A dog who has recently given birth may have a different opinion. Dogs often have a difficult relationship with bathing, and she probably won't want to be separated from her puppies. This means that it's important to make sure she's properly cleaned before it comes to that. Grooming a pregnant dog can be an important part of preparing for birth. 

A Specialized Process

Grooming a pregnant dog shouldn't take place just before she's due. Your vet should be able to give you a fairly accurate due date, so schedule your dog's grooming session about a week before the puppies arrive. It's quite a specialized process, so it's a good idea to actually go to a professional pet grooming salon. 

Lifting Your Dog

Your dog will be handled with the utmost care. If you need to help lift her onto the grooming table, be sure to avoid putting any pressure on her abdomen. Place one hand on her hind quarters, just beneath her tail. Place your other hand on her chest. Lift carefully, and ask for assistance from salon staff if needed.


When the subject is expecting puppies, part of the grooming session will focus on her anus. It will be gently (though thoroughly) cleaned to remove all traces of fecal matter. This helps to prevent the possibility of cross-contamination with her genitals, which is intended to stop the puppies from making contact with potentially dangerous bacterial contaminants while they're being born.  

Help With Nursing

Your dog's nipples can also require special attention. The groomer may recommend lightly shaving around the nipples. If the hair is overgrown, it can be difficult for her puppies to latch on and start nursing. Because her mammary glands are engorged and sensitive, the groomer may opt to use what's called a silent clipper. This is an electric clipper that makes minimal noise and produces few vibrations—which can be kinder to your dog.


Of course, she'll also need to be shampooed. The groomer will use a gentle, hypoallergenic shampoo. Harsh chemical shampoos (such as those intended to kill fleas) can leave residues in a dog's coat, which could be an irritant to newborn puppies. 

Even though your dog might not appreciate her grooming session, it will be quite some time before she can be properly groomed after giving birth. And a pre-puppy pet grooming session can help your dog prepare for the birth, so you'll want to give her as much help as you can.