When a Dog Hates Baths

If you can bathe your dog with minimal fuss, consider yourself lucky. Many dogs do not like baths and will run, hide, whimper or howl when they realize they’re headed for the tub. Dogs don’t understand baths; they’re perfectly happy with the way they smell and with whatever nastiness is on their coats. Some dogs have a fear of water which extends to bath time. These pups tend to be anxious, overly sensitive or victims of abuse. If bath time equals fight time in your house, try these tips to ease your dog’s fears.

• See a groomer. At Dawg Gone Good, we have experienced groomers who can help your dog relax. If your dog is scared of water, try our Desert Dry Grooming, a waterless shampoo that leaves dogs smelling heavenly.

• Make bath time no big deal. Get your supplies such as shampoo, conditioner, brush and towels ready, then take off your dog’s collar and calmly carry him into the room. Never say the word “bath.”

• Put down a rubber mat in the tub. Dogs can become afraid if they lose traction in the tub and start to slip.

• Don’t fill the tub and minimize the sound of the water from the faucet. Keep the drain open and don’t have the taps turned on all the way. Some dogs do not like the sound of the water running. Use a cup to gently pour water over your dog.

• Stay calm and talk to your dog throughout the bath. Your soothing voice will reassure your dog that bath time is not so bad. Also, if your dog is afraid, becoming agitated will just make his fear grow.

• Enlist a helper. If your dog really fights you, ask someone to help. Leave the dog’s collar on so your helper has a place to hold; the helper can also put a hand on your dog’s rear to hold him in place.

• Give your dog a treat after his bath. Your dog will start to associate bath time with getting a special treat.

Teaching Your Dog to Love the Tub

If you have an anxious dog, slowly introducing him to the bathtub can ease his fears.

1. Put your dog in an empty tub once or twice a day. Give him lots of praise and treats. Don’t make it a big deal if he climbs out. Make him sit in the tub for longer periods of time to get his treat.

2. Add an inch or two of lukewarm water. After your dog willingly goes into the empty tub, put him in the tub with water. Give him treats and praise and slowly extend the amount of time he’s in the tub.

3. Turn on the faucet. Give your dog praise and treats. Using a cup, pour some water across his back. As he learns to tolerate being in the tub with the water running, you can try washing part of him, such as the back half, and see how it goes.

When to Bath Your Dog

Some owners give their dogs a bath once or twice a year. Others may bathe their furby monthly.  It all depends on your dog’s breed, coat and what he’s been doing.  As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once a month because you can damage his coat and skin by removing natural oils. It may be tub time when:

• Your dog has rolled in something and smells. Use a deodorizing shampoo and shampoo twice.

Your dog has the “dog” smell. Some dog odors are signs of ear, mouth, feet or anal gland problems and disease. For odor beyond the doggie smell, take your dog to the vet.

• Your dog has dandruff. Flaking can be caused by dry, irritated or oily skin. Check with a groomer or vet to determine the right shampoo.

•  Your dog has ticks, fleas or mites. Shampooing can be very effective against parasites. Check with a groomer or vet to determine if your dog has parasites.

• Your dog has allergies. Bathing can help with itchy skin. Look for a soothing oatmeal or hypo-allergenic shampoo.

Dawg Gone Good Recommends . . .

Happy Tails Canine Spa Line offers solutions based on specific needs such as stinky dogs, dull coats and dry, itchy skin. Stop by and we’ll find a shampoo that’s right for your pup.


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