Learning how to give a dog a bath can be a challenge. For humans, bath time is often associated with comfort and relaxation. But when it comes to our four-legged family members, baths can seem unpleasant and daunting. Having to struggle with an unhappy pooch every time a little personal upkeep is needed can be challenging, especially with a larger or stronger breed. To help create a calm environment for you and your pet, it’s critical to understand the root of your dog’s fear so you can comfort him and eliminate any unnecessary stressors. With the right tools and mindset for the job, you can learn how to give a dog a bath like a pro!
Keep Calm: When it comes to bath time, there are plenty of factors that may seem scary to a dog that isn’t used to the loud sounds, uncertain environment and unfamiliar sensation of being in a tub. According to Alyona “Aly” DelaCoeur, UW-AAB, certified animal behaviorist, veterinary assistant, AKC Evaluator and founder of “Why Does My Dog,” “Do not force your dog into the bath … we really need to respect [dogs] and not force [them] to do things that [they may be] afraid of.”
To acquaint your pooch with the process of getting clean, it’s critical to start young and condition your dog to associate baths with positive things. Remember, your dog feeds off your energy. To provide a stress-free environment even before bath time, encourage your dog to venture into the bathroom on his own, rather than pulling him in or picking him up against his will. “While you are training your dog to like baths, use … wipes to get [him] cleaned up. This way, you are not stressing your dog out and making him even more afraid,” says DelaCoeur. Dog wipes, such as Nature’s Miracle Spring Waters Deodorizing Bath Wipes can ease the process. Leave them by the door and use them to help freshen up your pup’s paws and coat when he comes inside.
Have the Right Tools Handy: When dealing with a nervous pet, it’s important to consider the proper overall approach to the matter to help make your dog as comfortable as possible during times of distress. Having the proper dog grooming supplies can help alleviate obstacles so you can focus on the task at hand. The Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Shampoo is effective in getting rid of unwanted bacteria and odors while soothing the skin to help with allergies or dryness. Using a dog shampoo that eliminates dirt but also preserves your pet’s natural oils is essential in keeping your pup’s coat shining and his skin healthy and hydrated.
Provide a Comfortable Environment: It’s important to be thoughtful when considering the best approach on how to give a dog a bath. Cold water and a slippery surface can be an uncomfortable combination, so it’s no wonder a dog may head for the hills at the thought of bath time if we haven’t provided him with an environment conducive to his success. “Make sure you have a non-slip mat so your dog does not skid around [in the tub and] use warm water,” says DelaCoeur. “Dogs are more sensitive than we are to … hot water, so have it just warm enough for [him] to be comfy.” If your pooch is afraid of loud noises, also try filling up the bath before inviting him in, as running water can add to a dog’s anxiety of an already unnerving situation. When it comes to getting the job done, Nature’s Miracle Supreme Odor Control Oatmeal Dog Shampoo & Conditioner is a soap-free formula that cleanses and hydrates your dog’s skin and coat. Not only does it soothe itching or dryness, but it will have your pet feeling and smelling like a million bucks.
Reward Good Behavior: Helping your pet get comfortable in an uncertain environment is a step in the right direction when it comes to tackling bath time—and what better way to show your support than with copious ear scratches and belly rubs? The KONG Dog ZoomGroom Multi-Use Brush is a great, 2-in-1 tool that keeps your pup engaged while allowing you to massage and simultaneously brush your dog. Try it with the FURminator DeShedding Ultra Premium Shampoo For Dogs, an effective formula that creates a soothing sensation during bath time that helps reduce shedding afterwards. By helping your pet relax with a doggy massage and plenty of praise, you can encourage your dog to feel confident and to associate the bathroom with a more positive experience.
Remember, having the right tools and positive attitude to provide your pup with the moral support he may need—even if that means getting in the tub with him—may be the little extra reassurance your pooch needs to stay happy. Dog grooming can pose a challenge for both pet and pet parent. Adding your dog’s favorite treat or water-friendly play item is certainly encouraged to support good behavior. After all, dog treats and toys make everything better, so rewarding your pooch with his favorite things can be the key to an even trade-of when learning how to give a dog a bath.