Dogs can have different reactions to bathing. Some canines enjoy playing in the water and getting a good scrub. Others fear bath time so much that they will hide or try to run away. When this happens, it also makes things difficult for their owners.
While the reasons why some dogs don’t like bath time vary, one of the most common explanations is that they had an unpleasant past experience. They may have a memory of being scalded by hot water, slipping and falling in the tub, or getting shampoo suds in their eyes. As such, these dogs end up perceiving bath time as unsafe and terrifying. But no matter how much your dog fears bath time, it’s a necessary activity for removing dirt from their coat and keeping their skin healthy. Regular baths also keep dogs free from parasites. And, of course, a clean and fresh-smelling pup is more pleasant to have around.
If you have trouble bathing your scared pup, here are five ways you can make the activity more appealing to your pet.
Check the Water Temperature
One way you can ensure your dog has a pleasant bath time is to adjust the water temperature. You need to make sure it isn’t freezing cold; otherwise, the water can shock your pup, and they’ll want to escape the discomfort. Similarly, avoid scorching hot water that may scald your pet’s skin.
It’s best to use lukewarm water when bathing your pet. To ensure the water is at a comfortable temperature, test it by feeling the water on your wrist. It should feel warmer than your body temperature, but not too hot. Then, let the water run for a bit to ensure the temperature remains consistent before bathing your dog. For your pet’s added comfort, have soft, customizable dog towels ready so you can remove excess water from their body and keep your dog warm and comfy after their bath.
Bathe Your Dog Indoors
If you give your dog a bath outside, it may contribute to making your pup feel scared. The water from the garden hose may be too cold for them, and the strong pressure may feel uncomfortable on their skin. You’re also most likely restraining your dog with a leash so they won’t escape. However, yanking on their leash will only aggravate the frightening situation for them.
It’s best to move your pup’s bath time indoors. There, you can control the water temperature and use a shower wand to gently wet your dog. Also, bathing your dog in a tub, a shower stall, or a sink lets you use the natural contours of the space to enclose your pet.
Add Traction to a Slippery Tub
Another reason your pup might dislike taking a bath can be due to the sensory experience, particularly the slippery surface of their bathing area. Smooth flooring in the tub, shower stall, or sink is especially slippery when you soap or shampoo your dog. Falling can be quite painful, and having their paws sliding around can also cause your dog to panic.
If you want your pup to feel more at ease while bathing, put a non-slip mat or towel down on the floor of the tub or shower. Apart from helping your dog stand without slipping, the mat or towel can catch any hair they shed and make cleanup easier for you.
Give Your Dog Some Distractions
Distracting your pup can make bath time more enjoyable for your pet. For example, you can place your pet’s favorite PrideBites dog toys in the bathtub or shower to encourage them to stay. They can play with the toys while you’re bathing them. If your pup is highly treat-motivated, consider giving them a tasty treat when they step inside the shower or tub. It will also help them develop a positive association with the activity.
Alternatively, you can get a lick mat on which you can spread peanut butter. Place it on the wall and let your pup enjoy it while you give them a bath. The lick mat will keep your pup engaged and take their mind off the bath. When your pup is occupied with something tasty, they’ll also be more likely to stay still—which means you can bathe them more quickly.
Avoid Overstimulating Your Pup
During bath time, your dog is exposed to different stimulants that could stress them out. For instance, the sound of water rushing through the shower head or faucet can be frightening to your pup. If this is the case, turn off the tap when bathing your dog. Instead of using the shower or turning on the faucet, fill up a bucket or two and gently pour water over your pet as needed.
Apart from the sound of water, it can also be the scent of certain objects that scare your pooch. The smell could be unfamiliar to them. Having said that, refrain from using strongly-scented soaps. Instead, opt for unscented or lightly scented bath products that are specifically formulated for dogs.
Making adjustments to your dog’s bath routine can make a big difference in keeping them calm and less frisky. This will make it easier for you to bathe them. Bath time may never be your dog’s favorite activity, but following these strategies can help you make the experience less stressful for both of you.