Click here to learn more.
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
A. Your dog isn’t alone in despising baths. Bath time often sparks an unwanted game of chase, with the human sprinting and diving after the pooch just to bring him to the tub. Once he's caught, the chase isn't over; it’s a constant struggle to prevent the pup from fleeing. Although making bath time one of your dog's favorite things to do may not be realistic, you can help make baths more tolerable — for you and for him.
Let your dog know it’s bath time by using a certain cue, such as “bath.” By associating a certain word with his bath, you help take away any surprise that a bath is coming. Simply by alleviating his fear of the unknown, you can help your dog begin to relax. You can also use treats to coax your dog to you when you need to catch him for the bath. Avoid chasing after your dog, though; this game of chase can be fun for your dog and may reinforce the behavior of running away from you.
Bath time should always be paired with something your dog enjoys. I use a snack jar in my bathroom when bathing my pugs, so I can reward calm behavior of all four feet in the tub. I also give them a long-lasting toy or chew after their bath, such as a Greenie, or a food puzzle that makes the bath more tolerable because they grow to expect a fruitful reward when it’s over.
Use warm water, which is less likely than cold water to make a dog panic. Place an anti-skid mat or a towel on the bottom of your tub. Many dogs struggle in the bath because their feet slip when they can’t gain traction. You can also use a grooming tether or a nylon collar and leash to keep better control of your pet while he's in the bath — just keep a watchful eye to reduce the rick of choking or other injury.
Don't douse your dog with running water; this will make him nervous. Use a washcloth to wash your dog's face — it's less frightening than running water splashing over his snout. Hold your dog's nose and chin up at an angle when running water over his neck and the top of his head; his nose should be the highest point. This prevents the water from running down into his nose or eyes.
Use a pet shower sprayer attachment, such as the Bamboo Pet Deluxe Pet Shower Sprayer, to bathe your pooch. This nifty gadget allows you to bring the water to your dog with the long hose and spray attachment; water flow on the sprayers can also be adjusted to the pressure that fits your dog’s comfort level. It’s less terrifying for a dog to have water flowing from a source that can be brought to the direct area where he is already standing in the bath than to be forced into running water under the faucet or the shower sprayer.
With these tips, bath time should be a more relaxed experience for both you and your dog.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
Charlie beat out 1,612 dogs from 175
breeds and varieties to take home the
prestigious Best in Show title.
Shadow, a pregnant Lab-Terrier mix,
woke up her family when a fire started
near a space heater in their home.
This command can be a useful training
strategy for owners whose kitties are
always underfoot or jumping on counters.
A little bit of caution and preparedness
will go a long way toward helping to keep
your pets safe through the…
When a dog suddenly starts vomiting at
Thanksgiving dinner, SuperVet comes to
the rescue... and for some turkey.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect
on what you love most about your cat —
and to show her some affection…
Before sharing leftover turkey or mashed
potatoes, find out if your favorite holiday
eats are safe or dangerous for…
The Bombay may look like a jaguar, but he’s much more easygoing and laid back than his wild doppelgänger.
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.