Bathing is good for animals, especially for canines. It’s the perfect time to check your furry friend for anomalies, mats, and skin injuries. Also, it will rid dogs of parasites that hide in their coats. Unfortunately, other dogs never shower. They’re not used to the water and will most likely force their way out of baths.
Some dogs are natural-born swimmers, while others hate the sight of water. Why do dogs hate baths anyway? Canines can hate water for various reasons. It could be due to the cold temperature or sometimes frightening experiences. If you’re curious, check out this article.
Why Some Dogs Hate Baths?
Dogs learn through sensory experiences. It turns out that if they have bad experiences with water, then they will avoid baths. For instance, being thrown into the water or soaked in shampoo can terrify dogs from taking baths. Also, forcing your dog to bathe creates traumatic experiences for them.
Dogs are not afraid of water. Rather, they are afraid of slipping and losing control of their bodies. Regardless of having webbed toes, dogs can still slip. The webbed feet act as propellers when swimming, but it doesn’t have traction in the tub. So, it’s ideal that owners provide an anti-slip mat on the tub’s surface.
In some instances, dogs fear the water’s loud sound from faucets. So, fill the tub with water before inviting your dog. Remember that the ¾ water level in the tub is enough, and more than that can cause panic in your dog.
How to Bathe a Dog That Hates Bath
If you don’t introduce your dog to water early, they can freak out during baths. As a pet owner, persuading your canine to take a bath is always troublesome. So, here are some tips and tricks on how to give a bath to dogs that hate baths.
Setup a Bath Area Indoors
Dogs need baths when they turn 8 weeks old. The main step in cleaning your dog is removing its anxiety in water. To achieve that, only bathe them in indoor tubs at first. Also, you need to consider their sizes.
For starters, small dogs such as Chihuahuas don’t occupy much space, so they can be bathed in the sink. While medium-sized dogs like Golden Retrievers and Siberian Huskies need a larger bathtub. Also, for large dogs like Saint Bernard who don’t fit in shower rooms and tubs, it’s best to bathe them outdoors.
Bring Some Toys to Bath
When dogs are afraid of water, then you need to make their baths extra fun by bringing toys. A squeaky toy will distract them as you massage their bodies with shampoo. At the same time, toys stimulate their senses and prevent them from getting bored.
Dogs only hate baths if it’s new to them. To reduce that anxiety, you can combine play and feeding time in your dog’s bath. Choose enrichment puzzles that don’t get waterlogged and aren’t choking hazards. A perfect example of this is the LickiMat which distracts and motivates dogs during baths.
Make Sure The Floor Is Not Slippery
One of the main reasons why your dog never showers is that it’s afraid of falling over. Dogs will only feel comfortable if their feet can grip their walking surface. Their paws don’t have any traction regarding bathroom tiles or porcelain bathtubs, so they’re prone to slipping.
On the contrary, slipping is avoidable. Before inviting your pet to bathe, put a nonslip rubber mat on the floor or at bottom of the tub. This provides traction and reduces the possibility of sliding. Yet, a towel is a good alternative if you’re on a budget.
Use The Right Shampoo
Another reason your dog hates baths can be due to traumatic experiences with the shampoo. Some of them have strong chemical scents that can be overbearing for dogs. While other brands can trigger allergic reactions.
Other chemicals to avoid in dog shampoos include Propylene Glycol and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Don’t buy fragrant shampoo for your dogs. They contain phthalates that cause hormonal disruptions and cancer.
Only use shampoos specifically made for pets. Dogs have different pH levels than humans. Human shampoos for your dog are not deadly but can cause irritation and drying when used excessively.
Do Not Use The Shower Head or Faucet
There’s a reason why your dog never showers. A study in 2021 stated that dogs have high sensitivity when it comes to noise. Sounds coming from the shower head or faucet can be noisy. It can disrupt your dog’s peaceful bath and make them go anxious.
Your dog may seem to hate the bath, but it only hates the loud gushing of water. You can use containers during dog baths instead. Simply fill the tub with water beforehand. Then, using a small container, scoop and gently pour water over your pet.
Keep The Water At The Right Temperature
Another factor why dogs hate baths is the water temperature. Canines like warm baths too. Yet, remember that small and older dogs have less tolerance to heat. So, a temperature of 37° C or lukewarm water is the ideal warmth for pets. Anything above 37° can cause overheating and a fast heart rate in dogs.
Always check the temperature before bathing your dog. Water below normal room temperature of 20° to 22° C is too cold for your dog. The cold water can be uncomfortable for pets and also cause shivering and hypothermia.
Desensitize Highly Anxious Dogs
Dogs never shower because it’s a new experience for them. When they don’t want to do something, owners shouldn’t force them. Rather, desensitization is the key to reducing fearful responses from dogs. This process involves allowing your dog to be gradually exposed to stimuli until they no longer feel anxious or afraid.
The main function of desensitization is to reward a dog for every accomplished task. For instance, coaching your dog into the tub and then giving him treats can make him less fearful of baths. If your dog becomes, restless mid-bath, continue giving him treats until he relaxes.
Ask a Professional's Help
Dogs must take baths to get rid of dirt and mats in their hair. As pet owners, we can do that process ourselves. Yet, sometimes our dogs are extra anxious that simple treats can’t calm them down. If that’s the case, then a professional groomer can help.
Professional groomers have certain ways to calm a very anxious dog. They infuse their workspace with lavender essential oils or calming pheromones. In worse scenarios, dogs can attempt to bite and escape a bath. When that happens, the vet can write a sedative prescription to keep the dog still during grooming.
Make The Bath Quick But Thorough
Before bathing your dog, make sure to gather all of the supplies you need. First, you need to remove loose hair and dander by brushing. This process will lose the tangles that can hurt your dog during shampoo application. Further, the time canines spend on baths depends on their fur and size.
Medium-sized dogs like retrievers need an average of 1 hour to finish the entire grooming process. Low-maintenance dogs like Boston Terriers are smooth-coated, so they only need 20 minutes of bath time. Whereas heavy-coated dogs like Akita require grooming for at least 2 hours.
Dry Your Dog With a Towel or Blower
After a bath, make sure to dry your dog to avoid chills thoroughly. Look for an absorbent towel that’s specifically designed for pets. It absorbs more water compared to regular towels. Also, it’s thinner and won’t cause tangles in your dog’s hair.
Meanwhile, you can also use hair blowers to dry your dog. Yet, blowers can accidentally burn your dog. The best way to use them is to set them at the lowest temperature. Make sure that you don’t concentrate on one area alone. Keep the nozzle moving so you don’t accidentally burn your canine.
Can I Bathe My Dog Without Water?
If your dog still never showers, then you can try waterless bathing. This can save time, but it’s not meant to replace the typical shampoo and water. Yet, this process can come in handy regarding hectic schedules.
Using dry shampoos is a safe, water-free way to bathe your dog anytime and anywhere. It effectively removes clogged oils and dirt on the skin. Just gently pour and massage it over your dog’s fur. Wait for 5 to 10 minutes, then brush off excess dry shampoo.
Many owners recommend the Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo since it’s organic and mild to the dog’s skin. Yet, if you’re on a budget, a cup of baking soda mixed with corn starch is a good alternative. Baking soda kills bacteria, and corn starch is an oil absorber. Together, they act as a natural deodorizer in a dog’s fur.
Why Can't I Bathe My Dog Daily?
You might be wondering if you can bathe your dog every day. As appealing as it may sound, the answer to that is still no. A dog’s fur contains oils that keep its skin healthy. Overbathing removes that oil and makes their skin look dry and scaly.
The number of times a dog needs a bath depends on certain circumstances. For instance, some dogs need a bath at least once weekly and others monthly. Yet, dirty dogs require an immediate bath to prevent infection and matting.
Yet, if a dog has skin allergies then you need to consult a vet first. Skin allergies may get worse during frequent baths. Further, overbathing poses health risks to dogs, and, here are the reasons why:
- Their coats will grow dull
- Dogs will be more prone to hot spots
- Results in skin irritation
- Damages their skin’s natural oil production
Dog Never Showers: FAQs
Dogs love playing in the water or even in the mud. Yet, when it comes to baths, they can be quite stubborn. For dogs, baths are not so fun at all. Here are the frequently asked questions that you need to know regarding dog baths.
The oils build up when dogs don’t bathe regularly, making them stink. Canines need baths to get rid of debris, bacteria, and mats stuck on their skin. So, if you never bathe your dog all of those will clog and cause skin infections.
Yes. Healthy dogs need a maximum of one bath per week to ensure their bodies are clean and free of allergens. Overwashing leads to skin dryness. Unless it’s prescribed by a veterinarian, you shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once a week.
Yes. Even indoor dogs get oil and dirt build-ups so they still need to get clean. For instance, if your indoor dog begins to smell, then you should bathe him. Also, when normal brushing can no longer maintain the fur, then dogs require proper grooming.
Regular bathing at least once a week doesn’t cover all dogs in general. That’s because some dogs with skin conditions may require more baths than usual to promote healing. Depending on the veterinarian’s prescription, canines with skin infections need a bath twice a week or more.
One reason your dog hates baths is its fear of water. Now, it’s possible to bathe your dog without using water. Dry shampoo can do the trick. Depending on the thickness of the fur, spray and massage the dry shampoo evenly on the dog’s body.
Taking a bath is beneficial for a dog’s health. Yet, it’s quite a hassle when your dog never showers. If the simple motivation and giving of treats still can’t urge your dog to have baths then you have a problem. Canines may tend to bite or growl if they’re pressured. Hence, it’s better to call a professional groomer for assistance.