Does your dog run and hide every time you tell them it’s bath time? Do they spend the entire bath trying to climb out of the tub? Do you wind up wetter than them by the end of it all?
While some dogs will never like getting a bath, there are things you can do to help your dog adjust to the process so they at least tolerate it better. Here are 5 ways to make bath time more enjoyable for your dog – and you!.
#1 – Get them used to the tub while it’s dry
Spend some time getting your dog used to the tub without adding any water. Give your dog treats or even meals in the tub. Eventually, your dog will associate the tub itself with good things instead of the terror that the idea of a bath instills in them.
#2 – Use a non-slip mat
The slick surface of the bathtub can be very scary for your dog. Adding a rubber non-slip mat to the tub can help your dog feel more confident that their feet won’t slide out from under them during the bath.
#3 – Use lots of treats
The more treats you can use during and after the bath, the more your dog will associate it with being a good thing. Save a long lasting chew, like a bully stick, or a food puzzle for a big reward afterward. Use plenty of smaller treats to reward good behavior during the bath, such as getting in the tub and not trying to escape.
#4 – Start at their feet
You probably wouldn’t enjoy being sprayed in the face with water. Your dog doesn’t appreciate it either. Start by getting their feet wet and checking the temperature of the water. It should be lukewarm – dogs don’t enjoy hot showers the same way we do. If you start at their feet and gradually move up to their head, they’ll tolerate it better than if you start by splashing them in the face.
#5 – Use a gentle sprayer or pitcher to rinse
Dogs are more tolerant of a gentle stream of water coming from a pitcher or a sprayer attached to the tub rather than being forced under the tub or shower spray, which can be painful. When it comes time to rinse their head, gently lift their snout into the air to reduce the amount of water that gets into their eyes and nose.
#6 – Use products made for dogs
Humans and dogs may both have skin and hair, but that’s where the similarities end. Human shampoos are formulalted for human skin, and can damage your dog’s acid mantle – the protective film on his skin that keeps him safe from bacteria and viruses. There are several products available made just for your dog’s skin and coat, like EcoSMART® Shampoo, which is formulated to soothe dogs with sensitive skin or skin allergies. And unlike human shampoos, it’s pH-balanced to provide a mild and gentle clean that will not strip your dog’s skin of its natural oils.