How Many Days Can I Bathe My Dog After Vaccination? [Must Read]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Vaccines are crucial to protect your dog from dangerous and fatal diseases.

During routine vaccinations, dogs are injected with antigens (small doses of the disease) that help the immune system recognize and fight off the antigens present.

The body produces antibodies that will prevent your dog from contracting the disease in the future.

If your dog is exposed to that same disease, its immune system will already recognize it and be more prepared to keep your dog free from illness.

When you return home, you might be tempted to bathe your dog, but is that the right thing to do? How many days can I bathe my dog after vaccination? Should you shower your dog right after?

Personally, I would discourage doing so. Instead, use wipes to clean your dog in the interim.

Read on to find out more!

Quick note: You might be interested to learn if you can walk your dog after vaccination too.

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Dear Dog Owner

Do Dogs Get Sick After Vaccination Shots?

Do Dogs Get Sick After Vaccination Shots?

Since your dog is being injected with a small dose of the disease, it is essentially making it a little sick.

1-2 days after being vaccinated, your dog may exhibit symptoms of having a cold as its body is fighting the antigens. 

Unfortunately, there can be some side effects and potential adverse reactions associated with vaccinations, sometimes even keeping a dog sick 4 days after vaccination.

Your dog may experience symptoms such as fever, sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.

More serious adverse reactions are usually the result of an allergy to one of the substances being injected.

Such reactions may include facial swelling, hives, and seizures.

Though this may sound intense, the reality is that the benefits of vaccines far outweigh any risks, and adverse reactions to dog vaccines are rare.

However, because of these potential side effects, you should only get your pup vaccinated at a time when you can monitor them afterward.

How Long Does It Take a Dog to Recover From Vaccines?

The actual recovery time for a vaccine should only be 24 – 48 hours, after which your dog should no longer be physically tired, sore, or exhibiting other symptoms from the injection.

However, they may need more time to recover fully as their immune systems will still be working to keep them healthy.

Your dogs will also be a little mentally exhausted after the whole experience, and you might also notice some behavioral changes after vaccination too.

They need time that is stress-free and relaxing to help them bounce back quickly.

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How Many Days Should You Wait Before Bathing Your Dog After a Vaccination?

How Many Days Should You Wait Before Bathing Your Dog After a Vaccination?

It’s recommended by most to wait at least 2 weeks after vaccination before giving your dog a bath.

Though the immediate effects of the vaccination should subside after 2 days, your dog’s immune system will still be compromised for many days to come.

The stress of a bath combined with cold and wetness can further weaken the immune system, which can lead to your dog becoming sicker.

These are the main reasons why you can’t bathe your dog after vaccination.

Your dog may also be sore from the injection.

Trying to rub them down, wash them, and dry them can irritate the injection area and cause your dog more pain and stress.

This soreness should subside in a few days. 

Another reason that you shouldn’t bathe your dog after vaccinating is that the entire experience of just going to the vet can be slightly traumatizing.

Most dogs don’t particularly enjoy a vet visit.

It is in an unfamiliar area, there is an abundance of smells from other animals, and the dogs are being handled and PUNCTURED by strangers. 

After such a difficult day, it’s best not to add to their discomfort by bathing them.

It will only add to their stress which can lower their immune response. 

Overall, the main effect of vaccinations is that your dog may feel tired, overwhelmed, and rattled, so it is important to allow your dog time to rest.

Giving them a bath after a stressful experience will only add to their discomfort and potentially prolong symptoms. 

If you want to clean up your dog, you can try using a slightly damp warm towel to give it a rub down instead.

The warm feeling is comforting to them and is not stress-inducing.

Be careful to avoid the injection area as it might still be sore.

Can I Bathe My Dog Before Vaccination Shots?

Can I Bathe My Dog Before Vaccination Shots?

If you have a vaccination appointment coming up and your dog is starting to be a bit smelly, it is best to bathe them before the appointment.

This way, they will be clean and ready to go to the vet without having to worry about smells or dirt afterward.

Can I bathe my puppy before vaccination?

can i bathe my puppy before vaccination

However, this is only true for adult dogs and not puppies!

Most pet owners who are vaccinating their dogs are actually doing so with a newly acquired puppy.

Puppies need to be vaccinated as soon as possible so that they can have the best protection for the future. 

Generally, puppies should NOT be bathed until they’ve passed 3 months of age.

You should wait to bathe your puppy until they are old enough to regulate their own body temperature, otherwise, they may get chills.

This weakens their immune system during a crucial stage of their development and growth, so hold off on the baths with the young ones! 

The common vaccination schedule recommends a puppy’s first vaccination should be administered around 8 weeks of age, followed by one at 12 weeks and another at 16 weeks.

The first 2 doses of vaccines will occur before the puppy has even reached 3 months of age.

Therefore, they shouldn’t be getting baths at all! 

Doggy says, you might be interested in this too: Can you deworm a dog after vaccination?

When is Bathing After Vaccination Essential?

Of course, it is sometimes impossible to control whether or not your dog needs a bath.

Dogs are prone to getting themselves into dirty, messy, and smelly situations!

If your dog has some spots of dirt or mud on them, it’s best to give them a dry bath.

Use a damp cloth, sponge, or wipes to clean the areas that need cleaning, and save the bath for a later date.

You can also try brushing or combing out the dirt. 

If your dog has gotten into something particularly smelly and a damp cloth won’t cut it, then consider a delicate shower instead of a bath.

Both of these options are less stressful for the dog and will help them keep their body temperature regulated.

Being completely submerged in water will make them cold and can compromise their immune systems, leaving your puppy shivering after bathing.

How Can You Comfort a Dog After Vaccination Shots?

comforting a dog after vaccination

Comforting a dog after a vaccine is critically important.

They’ve just been through an overwhelming, confusing, and distressing situation.

They need the comfort and love of their humans to help them recover from both the physical and emotional strain. 

In the first few days following vaccination, you should let them rest.

If you want to give your dog some exercise, short, easy walks near the house are okay.

You should avoid games that involve balls or running, letting them go swimming, or bringing them in contact with other dogs.

Overexerting your pups will only prolong their recovery.

Also, playing around too much outside may get them dirty, which will make an avoidable bath necessary. 

Besides giving them time to rest, you need to give them lots of love!

Positive reinforcement before, during, and after the vaccination will help them feel more comfortable and less stressed.

Some tasty treats will boost their mood as well! Show them you love them and that you are there for them, and they will bounce back in no time at all! 

Here’s one that is a favorite among all dogs.

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Made with real beef and filet mignon infused with a natural smoke flavor
Delivers tons of meat protein
Soft and chewy texture is easy on tender gums which makes them easy to chew
Fortified with 12 vitamins and minerals

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When can a dog take a bath after anti rabies vaccine?

When can a dog take a bath after anti rabies vaccine

A puppy typically goes through a series of vaccinations that protects against canine distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, and rabies. The rule of thumb is the same for all of them, which is to wait at least 2 weeks before giving them a shower.

What will happen if I bathe my dog after vaccination?

Right after vaccination jabs, your dog’s immunity will be lower than usual. As such, showering might result in it developing a cold. Also, your dog is probably quite stressed and a shower will add on to its worries. It is advised to wait for 2 weeks.

In Conclusion: How Many Days Can I Bathe My Dog After Vaccination?

can i give my dog a bath after vaccination

There are lots of questions from dog owners that are somewhat similar:

  • Can I give my dog a bath after vaccination
  • Can I bathe my dog 2 days after vaccination?
  • Can I bathe my dog 3 days after vaccination?
  • Can I bathe my dog 4 days after vaccination?
  • Can I bathe my dog 5 days after vaccination?

As a general rule of thumb, you will want to wait about 2 weeks before you shower your dog after vaccination to allow time for their immune system to get back to normal.

Sometimes, a simple wipe-down with a wet cloth (use warm water) would suffice during this period.

Be sure to show your dog lots of TLC to help in its recovery!

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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