4 reasons you shouldn’t take a pregnant dog to the groomers

August 14, 2023 2:15 pm

First of all, congratulations to a soon-to-be proud mother. Whether it’s the first litter of puppies or not, it’s a time to celebrate. Now you know there are pups on the way, it is time to consider the wellbeing of the mother in a potentially stressful environment, which includes the dog groomers.

1 – Stress can be too much for pregnant dogs.

Some dogs can’t tolerate stress. We should avoid putting them into situations where they can get nervous, restless, or scared to the point where they try to escape, which can put both the dog and the puppies at risk. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, stress triggers the release of hormones such as cortisol into the bloodstream. When these hormones cross the placenta from mother to pups, the set point of the puppies’ stress response system changes; this could have lifelong impacts on the physical and behavioural health of the puppies.

Stress can cause anxiety, fear, and even phobias, which could hugely impact the relationship between a dog and its groomer—resulting in a routine of uncertainty and unnecessary anxiety every time the dog is booked in for a groom. Stress, like in humans, can make dogs pace and shake, according to petmd.com, meaning the dog grooming process itself could be much more difficult.

Because dogs are creatures of habit, they can feel vulnerable during grooming, and the addition of being pregnant can change their attitudes for the worse, both short term and in the long run. For example, there have been reports of dogs’ attitudes changing negatively since their pregnant dog returned from the groomers. A quote from someone on quora.com states, “my dog has been acting very sad ever since she got home from the groomers yesterday. She won’t even wag her tail for treats. We’re really worried”. Dogs can’t openly tell us when they are stressed; we must try to understand their behaviour, put ourselves in their spot, and do our best to put their well-being first.

2- Dog groomers can’t do their best work anyway.

Dog groomers can’t use much of their equipment, such as hair blowers or some clippers, but most importantly, they can’t use restraint straps because straps apply pressure to the dog’s abdomen. This makes it difficult to handle the dog with care. Restrainment helps the dog to feel secure and reduces sudden movements. It’s both uncomfortable and unsafe for a pregnant dog to get groomed.

In rare cases, if the pregnant dog has been going to their groomers regularly since being a puppy and isn’t stressed by the process, some dog groomers may be willing to do a tummy clip if it’s very early stages of the pregnancy. However, this is completely based on the relationship between the dog, the owner, and the groomer. For example, Tuft ambassador Lindsay from Lush puppy Mobile Pet Grooming says, ‘I did a tummy clip on a bitch that I knew very well as she was a close friend’s dog. And that was in a safe environment in her home with her owner present, on their floor, laying on a blanket to keep her comfortable. For me, that was okay, but I would never even dream of taking her to a salon.

Tummy clips/belly shaves consist of a short shave from the dog’s first row of teats to the anus. This will make it easier for the dog to suckle her puppies, and it will make it easier for her to clean herself after birth. 

3- Dog groomers won’t risk the dog’s wellbeing.

Every female dog acts differently when pregnant, making behaviour unpredictable, their activity decreases due to having less energy, and they may become irritable during nesting. Dog groomers are responsible for ensuring the dog they groom does not undergo any harm. Not just physically but emotionally as well. Emma Li from Inu Groom thinks most trusted/trained groomers in the UK would say no to grooming a pregnant dog. Too much risk is involved for the dog, the puppies, and the grooming salon’s reputation.

Sometimes groomers get asked, ‘Can I stay with my dog to help?’. The answer is still no. Lindsay from Lush puppy Mobile Pet Grooming says, ‘Usually the dog gets super stressed, and it’s just trying to be with the owner the whole time.’ Unfortunately, it doesn’t help the dog with the owner being there; if anything, it can make the process more stressful and complicated.

4 – New products may be harmful

Some shampoos may contain ingredients that can be harmful to dogs if they reach the puppies, according to animalwised.com. One of these ingredients is Aamitraz, it’s an antiparasitic substance used against fleas and ticks. It’s absorbed through the skin, and it can cause teratogenic effects (malformations) or even spontaneous abortions. 

There are seven toxic shampoo chemicals to steer clear of to keep your dog’s skin healthy according to puuccicafe.com, which are: Methyl-chloro-isothiazolinone, fragrance, artificial colors mea/cocomide dea, mineral Oil, formaldehyde preservatives, paraben preservatives (butylparaben, methylparaben, or propylparaben). It’s best to avoid all unknown products unless they are recommended by vets. 

To help avoid the problem entirely, if the pregnancy is expected it’s best to ensure the dog is not in a position where they will become very dirty, especially in the later days leading up to labour. 

During pregnancy, dogs need stability, tranquility, and a comfortable place to nest. It’s better to avoid causing her worry or deterring her from her main goal. Since dogs don’t need to be groomed during pregnancy, we would recommend avoiding a potentially harmful and stressful situation.

In conclusion, providing a pregnant dog with stability, tranquility, and a cozy nesting environment is essential for her well-being and the successful progression of her pregnancy. Minimizing stress and avoiding unnecessary disruptions to her routine should be a top priority. Remember that grooming, which can be stressful, is best avoided during this sensitive time. By prioritizing the comfort and peace of the expectant mother, we can contribute to a healthier and happier pregnancy journey for both the dog and her upcoming litter.

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