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Bathing a Nervous Pup: Tips and Tricks to Reduce Stress
Benjamin Lehman / Pexels
It's no secret that cats generally aren't fans of water. Believe it or not, dogs can get just as anxious when it comes to getting wet. Still, bathing your dog may be necessary from time to time, and it’s beneficial to the health of your pup's coat and skin.
If you're dreading the task of bathing your nervous dog, there are some things worth trying to make the process as stress-free as possible, not just for you but for your canine companion, too!
Distract Your Doggo
If your dog is easily distracted by treats or toys, now is the time to use this to your advantage. Some dog owners swear by spreading a layer of peanut butter along the wall of the shower before depositing your doggo for a bath. Some dogs will sit contentedly and lap up the peanut butter for several minutes, giving you the opportunity to bathe your dog drama-free.
Similarly, feeding your dog treats intermittently during the bath or offering your dog a bath toy may also create enough of a distraction to get the job done.
Mind the Temperature
Burst / Pexels
You wouldn't want to take a freezing cold shower or bath, and your dog is no different. Take time to ensure that the bath water is nice and warm (but not too warm) before you get started. Freezing cold water is sure to cause an already anxious dog to go into a full panic. This begins an unfortunate chain reaction, especially if your bath or shower doesn't have an anti-slip surface. Your dog may be further panicked by the loss of traction between his claws and the tub, so consider putting an anti-slip mat down for added safety.
Don't Douse Your Dog
Many dogs will panic when they're suddenly doused with water. Rather than plopping your pup down in a full bath tub, consider bringing him into a shallow bath and using a washcloth to gently and gradually wet his fur. This is a highly recommended technique for anxious dogs. It also allows you to stay in close contact with your dog, which may help to calm him. If you decide to use a handheld shower attachment or similar to rinse your dog, avoid letting water flow over your pup's snout, as this can cause distress.
Take It Outside
Jack Geoghegan / Pexels
Some dogs simply feel frightened when they're put into a confined space, such as a shower or tub. Have you thought about bathing your dog outside in a small kiddie pool? Simply fill a plastic, non-inflatable kiddie pool with water and allow it to sit in the sun for a bit until the water is warm. You may be surprised to find that your dog loves being bathed when he doesn't feel confined. Allow your dog to have a little fun and don't try to restrain him inside the pool. Yes, it might take you a bit longer to get the job done this way, but at least you can both have some fun with it, and the cleanup will be minimal.
If All Else Fails
There's no shame in getting a little help if your dog is still terrified of baths after trying these tricks. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is take your dog to a professional groomer to receive a bath from someone who is experienced in handling anxious pets. From there, you can enjoy all the benefits of a clean dog without the hassle, and you can rest assured that your pup will be in capable hands. Many reputable groomers even allow you to stick around so you can provide positive reinforcement and comfort your dog during the appointment.
Looking for more tips on caring for your pup? Feel free to Pop Your Pup anytime!
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