Why do Dogs Hate Baths?

unhappy wet dog in bath

As a pet owner do you have to holler at and chase after your dog every time you try to get them in the bath? If yes then you already know the pains and labor it can take to wash a dog that just hates being bathed.

You want to give your dog a bath to clean them up, get them looking good and smelling nice and fresh, however sometimes this much easier said than done! Like a lot of pet owners you probably can’t understand why your dog resists and runs like crazy when its time for a bath. It’s almost as if they enjoy the chase and making you run after them, which we’re not ruling out completely but it can also be frustrating having to try and pin them down for an experience they should in fact look forward to and enjoy.

Do all dogs hate baths?

Your dog may not look at bath time the same way that you do. In fact often it is not an enjoyable, relaxing experience for them and it could well be that your dog is afraid of the water. If it isn’t the water they are afraid of then your pet may hate getting soap all over their coat or face. It may be the rough handling. the hate, or even the insecure footing on the wet floor o the tub.  So although we may automatically think that all dogs hate being bathed, there are a number of factors that may contribute to your furry friend’s lack of enjoyment of bath time.

Once you have finished bathing your dog the after-bath experience may not be all that pleasant either. Your dog may hate having to stay cold and wet – left to dry on their own, or having to stand still and feel the burning, stinging, hot sensation that a poorly-held hair blower gives them. All these issues need to be considered when it comes to bathing your pet and minimizing these inconveniences will help to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

The main reasons your dog may hate bath time

Although no pet owner means to harm their lovable friend when it comes to bath time we need to be extra careful. You need to think about a number of factors including, how do you entice your pet to prepare them for a bath? Do you say “Okay, it’s time,” the way you also do when they have to take a foul-tasting medicine or to have his nails clipped? For starters this could be where you’re going wrong and it is important you make sure that you do not use words your dog associates with something negative. If you do it is likely they will respond to the idea of baths in the same unenthusiastic manner as they do with the other two unfavorable tasks mentioned above.

  • Unpleasant Sensations – What sounds does your dog hear when you’re giving them a bath? It is quite possible they hear the water loudly rumbling through the pipes, or it may even be the water gushing out from the faucet. They hear the sudden spurts as the drain sucks down the water. If it isn’t the sounds that unnerve your dog than it may be the sudden freaky sensation of water being poured all over them. These are sounds and sensations that are not exactly your dog would naturally come in to contact with and just like us humans the unknown can be a little unnerving. Familiarizing your pet with these new sounds and sensations slowly will help massively when it comes to introducing your pet to bath time.
  • Discomfort – Does your pet fit well in their bath tub — or do they have to suffer the tight fit of a small tub, or even worse, slide around unnervingly in a tub that is too large? Is the water too cold or too hot? Does he get soapsuds in his eyes? Does he skid around on the tub and lose his balance? Does he find it painful to be touched in certain areas when being bathed?

All these things can add up to make your dog miserable about taking a bath. You have to understand your pets apprehensions and take the time and effort to ease them. You can make your dog enjoy bath time or at least accept it by being patient and calm and finding out exactly what works for them.

How to make bathing your dog more enjoyable

  • Use positive reinforcement – Introduce your dog to the bath slowly and patiently. Start by playing with your pet near the tub and give out treats to draw them closer to the bath. This will lead to your dog starting to associate the bath with an enjoyable experience rather than one to be feared.
  • Prepare for bath time with care – Fill the tub with water up to around half way up your dogs legs. This should be enough water to begin rinsing your dog with and you should also have extra water on a pail nearby so you do not have to turn the tap on and off during bath time, which can unnerve your dog.
  • Choose the right shampoo – Making bath time as enjoyable for your dog as possible also means choosing the best shampoo. Your dog may have skin condition that becomes irritated when washed and may lead to discomfort during bath time, if this is the case choosing the correct shampoo can make a huge difference. If you’re trying to help your dog fight infection, why not try an oatmeal bath which can work wonders for skin conditions.
  • Take extra care about little things – Lay your dog down gently in the tub; do not dunk your pet unceremoniously in a pail of cold water. Also try to avoid getting shampoo in their mouth or eyes which will only lead to irritation. In fact it is recommended to proceed extremely slowly when washing your dogs face and do not squirt water directly in to their face. Just like at the hairdressers you should also see to it that the water is comfortably lukewarm.

If you decide to bathe your dog outside, look to do so when weather is sunny, not cold or brisk. Also when rinsing your pet off, make sure that you do so with a gentle stream of water. It is unlikely your dog will appreciate a cold, uncomfortable, and rushed rinsing.

  • Make sure footing is secure – When introducing your pet to being bathed some owners find it a good experience to collar or gently tie their dog so they learns how to keep still. This will lessen the reprimands and chases that make bath time so stressful for both you and your pet.
  • Set the ambiance with your voice and manner – When you give your dog a bath, talk to them in a calm, gentle, and soothing voice. Sound self-assured but not pushy or controlling and this can go a long way to make the experience a whole more enjoyable.
  • Keep the right mind set – When you are bathing your dog, be ready to get wet. This way, you are not likely to get angry every time your pet moves and accidentally gets water all over you. Keep towels near by and if your dog feels that you are enjoying the experience with them, they are far more likely to view bath time more favorably.

Your dog does not really hate baths – not if you make the process a gentle, pleasant, and loving experience. Put simply it is a matter of getting into your dogs head – of looking at a bath from their perspective.

It is also about taking a close look at your own emotional state. Do you find bathing your dog an unpleasant chore – something that you need to do and get over with quickly? If so this does not bode well for you or your dog and it is likely they will pick up on how you feel about the task.

However if you look at bath time as an opportunity for high quality bonding time with your dog you will be setting the right mood for it. Your dog will see bath time as an occasion for a refreshing scrub, a soothing massage, and a wonderful brushing. They will see bath time as a time when they have your full attention – and will love and look forward to it.

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