Not all dog baths are created equal. For some dog owners, it can be as easy as running the hose outside, for others, it's a complicated process that includes using treats to incentivize their pup.
Those that fall into the latter are constantly wondering "why do dogs hate baths so much?"
It's an important question to understand. Not only is the shower an inconvenience in your dog's eyes, but it's also a terrifying experience.
Here are several reasons why your dog probably hates getting baths and what you can do to make the process easier. Be sure to use these tips for a better bathing experience.
The answer to this question depends on the dog. There isn't one all-encompassing answer to this issue.
You know your dog best, so here are a few possible reasons why the bath might scare them so much. Use these to figure out which one is causing your pup the most panic.
Some dogs simply don't enjoy being picked up or handled by anyone. Not their owners, not the veterinarian, not their best pals, no one.
If that's the case for your dog, then it's obvious why bath time is one of their least favorite moments: the confinement.
During a bath, many owners are forced to hold their dogs down while they lather them up with soap or run water down their bodies. It might not be the water at all, it may simply be the way you're holding them.
If that sounds like your dog, try giving them a bath inside of a bathtub, rather than outside where you have to hold them down.
The bathtub might give your dog a bit more security and prevent you from having to hold them at all.
Some dogs are especially sensitive to either the temperature or pressure of the water that you use on them.
It’s important to be mindful of your dog’s senses. Hot water or high pressure may feel good hitting your shoulders, but it doesn't necessarily mean the same for your furry friend.
Be sure to experiment with different temperatures or pressures as needed to see if your dog starts to relax a little more as you wash them.
If your dog starts to tense up when you start the water but is fine while you're using their dog shampoo, then they're trying to tell you something.
Dogs have memories too, and some of them might not be the best. The despise of baths is especially common in rescued dogs, and for good reason.
They associate the trauma they're experiencing in the bathtub with previous experiences in their lives. That's not to say they think it's happening again, but it just reminds them of darker times.
All you can do in this situation is to try to make them as comfortable as possible. Be sure to talk to them in the correct tone of voice to reassure them. Throw in a few "good boy" or "good puppy" chants for good measure!
The fact remains that your pup may never get over their fear of the bath, but there are things you can do to make them more comfortable.
See below for ideas on what to do if your dog remains just as stressed during bath time as when you gave them your first bath.
Once you do, you might notice that your dog starts to relax a bit more, and lets you scrub/wash them with less resistance.
Believe it or not, the shampoo that you use on your dog could be playing a big part in their uneasiness during bath time. It’s important to research the shampoo product you’re buying before using it on your dog.
If the shampoo that you use has a strong fragrance, then it can cause a sensory overload for your pup. It’s also important to ensure a proper pH balance that isn’t too acidic, like human shampoo, to help prevent your dog’s skin from drying out.
Instead, you want to purchase a shampoo that's mild-smelling and is effective in soothing your dog and relieving them of any itching.
Try investing in Soothe-N-Itch Dog Shampoo for the next bath time. While other brands just use oat extracts, this quality shampoo uses ingredients found in nature, like colloidal oatmeal, aloe, and cucumber.
Being free of sulfates, detergents, and other chemicals typically found in most conventional dog shampoos, Soothe-N-Itch helps ensure it won’t strip your dog’s fur of the natural oils that keep their coat and skin hydrated.
Sometimes your dog's simple-mindedness can come in handy. If your dog is especially fond of peanut butter, then you can scrub some on the side of the tub to keep them occupied while you wash.
If you're uncomfortable with them licking the side of the tub, then you can purchase a mat to place it on instead.
For those of you that use two people to wash the dog, you can have one person feeding them treats while the other one washes.
Now that you understand the answer to your question of "why do dogs hate baths?", be sure to help them get more comfortable in the shower.
Be sure to read this article on how to make your dog's bath time more fun for you and your dog.
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