Bathing a dog is a necessity, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Unless you’re willing to pay tons of money to have your dog professionally bathed on a regular basis, it’s important to maintain a regular bathing schedule that benefits both your dog’s hygiene and your own. We know that there are lots of well-meaning dog owners out there who simply can’t get their dogs to cooperate once they’re in the tub. Oftentimes, a dog owner doesn’t realize that a simple adjustment to their bathing routine can make the entire process far easier.
#1: Distract, Distract, Distract
The good thing about dogs is that they’re distracted easily, especially if there’s food involved. Most dogs are food-motivated, which is why it’s so easy to train them. Take advantage of this by distracting them with something that appeals to them during bath time. A trick that many dog owners rely on is smearing peanut butter on the rim of the tub, which can be so irresistible to them that they can’t focus on anything else – even the bath that they’re now engaged in. If food isn’t cutting it, consider putting their favorite toy close to them.
#2: Be Gentle with Your Dog Throughout the Process
Bathing a dog is not the simplest process, and it’s easy to be impatient with them if they’re not cooperating. Further, if the bath is an urgent one caused by an unfortunate run-in with a skunk or rolling around in mud, it’s easy to be a bit rough with them unintentionally to get them bathed as quickly as possible. But, if you’re not gentle with your dog during the bathing process, they’ll become very stressed out, which will just lead to a chaotic experience rather than one that’s smooth and effective.
#3: Don’t Bathe Them Outdoors
You may think that the best option is to bathe your dog outdoors, using an outdoor hose or bucket. But, dogs typically don’t like getting wet outdoors, because this often leads to them feeling cold. Unless you have a heated water source, you’ll be exposing them to cold water, and they won’t enjoy that even more than you would.
#4: Make Your Bathroom More Dog-Friendly
Chances are that the only time your dog is in the bathroom is when they’re getting bathed. This means that they’re only going to associate your bathroom with bath time, and if they’ve had unpleasant experiences in there before, it’s unlikely they’ll feel comfortable going in there again. Try to make your bathroom more dog-friendly so that once they are in there, their stress is as low as possible. Get rid of strongly scented products that change the way your bathroom smells. Make the floor comfortable with a bath mat that they can sit on rather than cold tiles. Consider putting one of their blankets in there with them as the smell will be comforting to them. Also, avoid using scented products on their body.
#5: Make Your Bathroom Less Slippery
It’s possible that the sole reason your dog hates bathing is because the bathroom floor and tub are slippery. Dogs absolutely hate slippery surfaces, as not being able to grip the ground makes them feel very vulnerable. The solutions are luckily very easy. Get a firm bath mat for the floor, so that when your dog steps out of the tub, they don’t slip. And, put a slip mat inside of the tub so that while your dog is in there, they feel nice and stable.
#6: Don’t Use Your Faucet or Showerhead
The sound and feeling of fast-running water can make your dog scared, which is why we do not recommend using your faucet or showerhead while your dog is in the bathroom. Instead, fill the tub ahead of time, and then use a bucket or large bowl to continuously scoop up water and gently pour it over them.
#7: Check the Water Temperature
Your dog is just as particular about water temperature as you are, so make sure the water is comfortably warm – not hot – so that they can feel as cozy as possible. Stick your elbow into the water to get a good idea of its temperature before letting your dog into the bath.
#8: Reward Them
Dogs are motivated by rewards such as treats and praise, so make sure that you create a system of rewarding them throughout the bath. Consider giving them a treat when they step into the tub, and another treat when they step out, while giving them lots of praise throughout the entire process. This will cause them to positively associate bathing with getting rewarded.
#9: Protect Their Ears
Dogs hate getting water in their ears – of course, so do humans – and your dog may hate bathing simply because of this one byproduct of bath time. That’s why it’s recommended that you stick some soft, small pieces of cotton into their ear canals until the bath is over. This acts as an adequate barrier to keep water out.
#10: Lead Them in, Rather Than Force Them in
It may seem that simply picking up your dog and forcing them into the water is the most effective way to go, but actually, this can just make them feel even more stressed out. Instead, try leading them in – with a leash if you have to – to make them feel like they have the upper hand, as all dog owners know that forcing a canine to do just about anything comes with a lot of resistance.
#11: Stop Them from Getting You Wet
When a dog is wet, their instinct is to shake their bodies violently back and forth. But, in a small bathroom, that means getting you and your entire bathroom soaking wet. To stop them from doing this, grasp their muzzle. If they can’t shake their head freely, they can’t shake their bodies either. Immediately drape a large towel over their back as soon as they’re out of the tub, to get a head start on the drying process.
#12: Give Your Dog Some CBD Beforehand
A potential trick for calming them beforehand is giving them cannabidiol (CBD), which attaches to cannabinoid receptors in their nervous system that play a role in mood and levels of stress. CBD products that are formulated for dogs may really help get them into a calmer state of mind so that they’re less “on edge” when it’s time to take a bath. We recommend giving them a CBD dog treat or tincture about 30 minutes prior to bath time.
It’s important to note that CBD is both nontoxic and non-psychoactive to canines, while working directly with their endocannabinoid system (ECS) in an effort to keep them in a state of homeostasis. This is why giving a dog CBD can offer the same types of effects that we experience when taking the cannabinoid.
CBD Products at Chill Paws: Perfect for a Dog’s Bathing Routine
At Chill Paws, you can find a wide array of dog-friendly hemp products that introduce active levels of CBD into their body for maximum results. Our dog treats, tinctures and other formulas are made with appropriate concentrations for their bodies, along with clean ingredients that are known to be safe for them to consume. These products are used by many of our customers who have stressed out canines, but it’s always best to consult your veterinarian before incorporating anything new into their routine.
By and large, Chill Paws CBD-infused dog products may be a great way to make them more cooperative and at ease when it’s time for them to take a bath.