Have you ever tried bathing a dog that’s afraid of the water? If so, you know how harrowing of an experience that can be for both of you. You’re trying to be a loving, responsible pet-parent, and your dog is fighting for survival. Here are five tips for making bath time a breeze for everyone involved.
1. Make Baths Fun For Fido
Rather than treating bath time as a chore, approach it as a fun activity for you and your pet to spend quality bonding time together. Place plenty of toys in the tub to make your dog feel welcome. They’ll also serve as a distraction for a nervous pup who needs a little extra comfort. Give plenty of your best friend’s favorite peanut butter flavored dog treats during tub time to reassure Fido of who’s the best doggo.
2. Encourage Puddle Splashing
Dogs respond to human emotions, and when they get in trouble for rolling around in a muddy puddle, they learn water is bad. To mitigate this, try not to react at all when it rains while you’re out walking together. Expect to leave the park with a dirty hound and keep a few towels in the car for quick cleanup. Discouraging your dog from getting wet under other circumstances can cause them to feel anxious when bath time rolls around.
3. Let Them Shower With You
Young pups will follow you just about anywhere, even into the shower, especially if they suffer from separation anxiety. Letting your dog into the shower is a great way to get them used to the water, and it’s completely safe for them and you as long as you follow a few simple rules.
- Use lukewarm water so your dog doesn’t overheat.
- Don’t share products unless the brands are both human and pet-safe.
- Don’t overdo it! Too much bathing will dry out Fido’s skin.
It may seem a little weird at first, but if your dog loves the water, you may as well kill two birds with one stone.
4. Be Careful Not To Frighten Your Dog
Just like humans, dogs value their abilities to see and breathe. Therefore, many dogs feel afraid when water runs over their face and nose. For this reason, consider using a washcloth or just your hands to wash your dog’s face to make them feel calmer and safer. Additionally, try filling the tub with a few inches of water before bringing your pup into the room, as the sound of running water can be scary.
5. Take It Slow
If your dogs show signs of timidness at bath time, do your best to remain as calm and accommodating as possible. Making them go into the water before they’re ready could elevate fear and anxiety, leading your pups to distrust you. Take each step at their pace and reward them with praise and treats along the way.
The key to a clean, healthy and happy dog is a little bit of patience and a whole lot of love.