How to Give a Dog a Bath Who Hates One

Bathing a dog who hates water is a job many pet parents dread. We delve into some of our favorite alternative bath products to keep your pup fluffy and fresh.

If your dog hates baths, work on getting him to like them through training and treats, plus use dog bath wipes, waterless or dry shampoo. Murphy Brown gets a face cleaning almost every day with a dog body wipe. © Melissa L Kauffman

No one likes a stinky dog. But some dog parents avoid bathing their dogs because their dogs hate water, making bath time a real chore. With some simple training, as well as in-between help from alternatives like dry shampoo for dogs and dog wipes, your dog will be clean in no time.

How to get your dog to like baths

Janet Rabbie, professional groomer and owner of Wow Grooming and Groomingdales, has a few tips to help your dog like baths:

  • Have everything ready and within arms reach so you can focus on your dog.
  • Help your dog feel secure by using a nonslip mat in the tub. Tether your dog on a leash or have someone hold him.
  • Make sure the water is not too hot or too cold; warm to the touch is ideal.
  • Use treats to reward calm/good behavior. Smearing peanut butter on the tub wall works great. For example, this enrichment mat from Soda Pup has suction cups that stick to the sink or bath wall to distract and calm your dog during the bath.
  • Be careful to not get soap in his eyes or water in his ears.
  • Don’t pour water directly over his head.

Dry shampoo and dog bath wipes

You may find that your dog needs more time to get used to a bath before he can have a full one. These products are not substitutes for a bath, but they are good options for a quick refresh. Janet suggests the following products to bathe a dog who hates water:

Or a fast acting foaming shampoo like this Vetericyn Foamcare Pet Shampoo.

Keeping it positive, going slow and using alternative products for dog bathing for quick clean ups will help turn your dog who hates baths into a true water dog.

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