A mother dog spends a lot of time bathing her puppies. Here’s how you can keep your puppy clean.
Like any good mom, she washes her babies’ faces after dinner, and (as disgusting as it sounds), she spruces up the nest after they go to the bathroom. Her constant grooming not only keeps them clean, her tongue stimulates blood circulation. If she’s not there to tidy up, the puppies could suffer scalds from pee and poop—basically a puppy version of a painful diaper rash.
If mom is still around, let her give you a hand. She can still handle the cleanup and the nurturing, while you serve or supplement the meals.
In mom’s absence, it’s up to you to safely swab them down. That means you’re going to have to mimic the things she would do were she still available. Fortunately you have an opposable thumb, and can use a warm moist cloth or sponge. After you stimulate your puppies to potty, they need a quick butt bath.
Here’s how you can keep your puppy clean:
The Sponge Bath
- Make sure the room is warm.
- How much of a bath depends on how dirty your puppy is. A little formula around the mouth and mopping up after going to the bathroom just takes a damp cloth, paper towel or a sponge. Make sure it’s warm and moist. You wouldn’t enjoy a cold bath and neither will the puppy.
- Start with the face. Mimic mom’s tongue by using short and gentle circular strokes. After you’ve washed the face, give the private parts a swabbing. When you’re finished, dry him off.
If you’ve been combating diarrhea or they’ve been swimming in puppy gruel, you’ll need to give them a butt bath or even a full body wash.
Butt Bath or Full Bath
- Warm a dry towel in the clothes dryer before starting
- Test the water. It should be no warmer than body temperature. (You don’t want him to suffer burns or chills.)
- Use a puppy shampoo
- Keep the water out of the puppy’s face.
- Towel him dry, and then wrap him in the heated towel.
Blow dry him set on the lowest setting with the nozzle well away from his skin. Frequently put your hand in front of the heat to monitor the temperature. If your hand feels hot, your puppy could get burned. Puppies have sensitive skin.
Now give him a kiss and put him to bed. In a little while you’ll get to do it all over again.
Dusty Rainbolt is the award-winning author of Cat Wrangling Made Easy: Maintaining Peace and Sanity in Your Multicat Home, Kittens For Dummies and Ghost Cats: Human Encounters with Feline Spirits. Dusty writes the award-winning monthly feline advice columns, "Dear Hobbes" for City + Country Pets and “Ask Einstein” at www.stickypaws.com. In her real job, Dusty is the product editor and reviewer for Catnip published by Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. She also freelances for Cat Fancy and other print and online publications Over her cat writing career she has won 11 Muse Medallions for Excellence from the Cat Writers' Association, as well as 23 special awards. Dusty’s been involved in cat rescue for longer than she cares to remember, rescuing, fostering and rehoming over 600 cats and kittens including over 350 bottle babies. She’s a feline cat behavior consultant and member of International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
Visit her website: www.dustyrainbolt.com.