Why Don’t Dogs Like Baths?

April Livingston | April 2nd, 2018

It is quite a perplexing idea: your dog loves water and enjoys swimming and even splashing through puddles. But when it comes to bath time, they are anything but excited. You might even observe them running away, resisting, or even shaking at the idea of a bath. So, if they love water so much why is it that they really dread a bath? There are a few reasons, according to veterinarians, that a bath could be a terrible experience for a dog.

Firstly, a dog that enjoys swimming is control of the experience when they go to the beach or a lake. They can either choose to get in the water or stay out, but a bath is a situation where they are forced to get wet and it’s that loss of control that may make them scared.

Trevor King//Flickr

Secondly, a bath could be an experience that brings back bad memories for the dog. There are some obvious things that could be upsetting for a dog, like hot water or even them remembering when they lost their footing on a wet, slippery surface. Dogs like to have a sense of control, and can be traumatized when they lose that feeling. You can solve this by placing some sort of rubber mat in the tub to prevent slipping.

Finally, it could just be that a bath is a new experience and sometimes new things can be scary! It’s important to take steps to make them comfortable and don’t force them into a situation that could cause trauma or anxiety. Try feeding treats and giving plenty or praise to your dog during bath time. Or, try smearing peanut butter on the tub so they can enjoy a snack during a bath. Start slowly and if they are very upset by the experience, don’t force them into anything they dislike. Talk to your veterinarian about other options if your dog has severe anxiety about baths.

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