Washing your pup at home can be a fun bonding experience for you and your dog. However, it can quickly turn into a mess if your pup hates bath times and is constantly trying to jump out of the tub and run away. If you have ever found yourself chasing after a wet and soapy pooch, then these five helpful tips are for you.
How To Make Bath Time Fun For Dogs
It’s important to not get too serious about bath time and make it easy to take your dog in the shower. Especially when we are talking about puppies or dogs that aren’t used to getting into the shower or the tub.
There are several things you can do to lighten up the spirit of the dog in order to make it a more fun experience.
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How do I relax my dog in the shower?
Wet your dog slowly.
Instead, start by spraying the water on just his chest, with low water pressure. increase water pressure as he seems ok with getting wet. Then when he’s comfortable, gradually move on to the rest of his body.
Have Everything Nearby
Walking away from the bathtub gives your dog that golden opportunity to make a run for it. Don’t give them that chance! Lay all your bathing items within easy reach, so you can always keep a hand or an eye on your flighty friend.
Don’t forget to prep these items:
- A grooming brush to remove loose hair and massage in shampoo
- Cup or small container to pour water over your dog
- A washcloth to clean your dog’s face
- Soft shammy towel to quickly dry your dog
- Towels to soak up water that splashes out of the tub
- Pet shampoo and conditioner for dogs that is natural, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic
- A friend, just in case you need an extra pair of hands
Tips for Keeping Your Pup in the Bathtub During Bath Time
Assuage Their Fears
If your dog has had a bad experience with baths in the past or has never taken a bath before, then keeping them in the tub may be especially difficult. A fearful dog will resist getting in the tub and be even more determined to escape if they’re forced to.
Don’t Rush to take your dog in the shower
It’s hard to stay balanced and live in the moment if you have a limited amount of time to get the bath done. Find a time when you can relax and focus on your dog.
Keep Them Comfortable
If your feet kept slipping out from under you while you showered, you wouldn’t want to be in there either. If the water became too hot or too cold for your comfort you would jump back and try to adjust it. These could also be the reasons why your dog tries to escape the tub.
- Prevent Slipping – Your pup’s paws are not great at gripping porcelain bathtubs, especially when they’re wet. Non-slip bath mats are an easy solution to give your dog better footing and make them more comfortable in the tub.
- Perfect Temperature – While humans can enjoy a hot, steamy shower, dogs’ skin is far more sensitive. The ideal temperature is lukewarm but of course, different dogs may have slightly different preferences. If you notice your dog panting, the water may be too hot. Likewise, if they’re shivering it could mean the water is too cold.
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Make it Fun For your dog
It can be hard to feel optimistic about the bath if you don’t see the possibility of anything changing. One way to change both of your attitudes is to think about bath time as playtime. This can be particularly effective for dogs who really enjoy toys. Bring them into the tub to start associating it with time to spend playing together.
Enlist Canine Assistance
The best teacher is often another dog. If your dog is properly socialized, taking a bath with another dog who is having a great time can help your dog learn how to relax and enjoy the experience. Make sure the dogs meet in advance of the bath, so you can ensure they get along.
Make the Water Comfortable
What seems like a great temperature to you might not be what your dog prefers. Very warm water can actually be a shock to your dog, so keep it lukewarm to ensure that temperature isn’t part of the problem.
Some pet parents make the mistake of assuming that their puppy is adjusting well to bath time when he just stands there rigidly (or worse, shaking in fear) during the process. But if your puppy doesn’t seem relaxed, then you may have problems down the road. Help your puppy learn to enjoy the process. Make sure to let your puppy explore the bathtub when it’s dry and therefore less intimidating.
Bring Food into the Tub
Another way to help your dog make more positive associations with the tub (or other bathing area) is to start feeding him there. You may find that your dog is resistant or nervous at first, but over time, he’ll likely relax and enjoy his meal.
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Let your dog get comfortable with the sound of running water. Then add a little water to the tub. Get just his feet wet, then his legs. Keep going from there. Make the process gradual, allowing your dog to get used to each step, instead of trying to rush the process by dumping a bucket of water on him or spraying him down. It’s okay if you don’t complete the bath that first time. The goal is just to get your dog comfortable.
Consider getting professional help. It may feel a little silly to hire a dog trainer just to help you give your dog a bath, but consider how even one session might enable both you and your dog to have a more enjoyable experience at bath time for the rest of his life. Isn’t that a good investment of your time and money?
How to Bathe a Dog Who Is Afraid of Water
Ideally, you should begin bathing your dog when they’re a puppy — first with a washcloth and then eventually in an indoor or outdoor bath. However, if your dog already has a phobia of bathing, you’ll need to train them to unlearn some of those fears before you can successfully bathe them. Use these steps to get started:
- Get your dog comfortable with being leashed in your home.
- Bring your pet into the bathroom for playtime with a closed door.
- Once your dog is able to be in the room without fear, encourage them to sit on a non-slip mat in the tub. Don’t run the water, but do make sure to reward your pet for their courage!
- After doing this a few times, turn on the water in the tub while you’re playing with your dog on the floor, so that they get used to the sounds as well.
- Finally, lead your pet into a tub filled with only a small amount of water.
Dogs And Shower Facts
Do dogs hate showers?
Some dogs just find baths generally uncomfortable to be in; our fur babies are used to soft cushions and comfy beds, and hard surfaces just won’t do! The inside of a bath is usually quite slippery as well, and dogs tend to get upset when they can’t get a firm grip underneath them.
Do dogs like baths?
Like most answers to grooming questions, it depends on the dog. Some dogs get anxiety when it’s bath time, and others are just as happy to jump in a bath of water as they are in a pond or pool.
For dogs with bath anxiety, Rover recommends giving your dog something to focus on, like smearing peanut butter on the wall or supplying endless treats. You can also try bathing them like a baby — forgoing the shower head and using a bucket.
What’s common with many dogs after a bath is they tend to go a little crazy by shaking or running around. The shaking is obvious — dogs shake or roll around on the carpet to get dry. Rover attributes this in part to a desire to return to a familiar scent by running and rolling around to get rid of the new, clean scent. If your dog is running around excitedly, it might be that they’re excited or need to release some energy after being in the tub for so long.
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Can you put your dog in the shower?
Bob & Yasmin A. Deb A. I wouldn’t recommend it. For a dog, the proper temperature is lukewarm water, since they have delicate skin and you probably prefer it hotter than that (which could burn or at least irritate the dog.
Why Are Some Dogs Afraid of Water?
There are many reasons why dogs may be fearful of water. It could simply be that it’s a new experience for them or that the water feels different under their paws or on their fur. Your pet may have also had a traumatic experience with water. Or, maybe they were forced to get wet when they weren’t ready. If you’re thinking your dog is afraid of water but don’t know how to help, the first step is simply helping your dog unlearn any negative water connotations. Then, you can slowly acclimate your pet to the water until they feel safe enough to bathe or swim on their own terms.
How often should you bathe your dog?
The answer varies, depending on breed, lifestyle and coat. Even veterinarians and experts disagree on how often you should bathe your pup but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends a baseline of once every three months.
The most tried and true answer to this question is personal to your dog and their needs. Do they spend their days frolicking in the grass and playing in the mud? Are they prone to run-ins with skunks? Or are they lap dogs who would rather cozy up inside?
Do dogs prefer baths or showers?
Bathing vs. shower
While some dogs find it fun to be showered with clean water and will splash around, others become severely anxious when it comes time for grooming. Generally, dogs who are nervous about grooming prefer the relatively quiet, subdued bath to the comparably loud, high-energy shower.