How to Bath a Dog That Hates Water? Tips and Tricks

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

How to bath a dog that hates water? Some dogs🐶 act like royalty, demanding only the fanciest food, while others are like adventurers, always on a quest for squirrels. Then, there are dogs who are incredibly suspicious of water.

How to Bath a Dog That Hates Water

Imagine a dog who believes water is out to get them like they’re on a mission to ruin their fur and pride. Bath time isn’t just about making your dog smell better (although that’s a nice bonus), but also about keeping them healthy and happy.💧

So, the challenge is to find ways to make bath time a breeze, and we’ve got some tricks and tips that will turn even the most water-fearing dog into a bath-loving champ. Get ready for some splashing fun!

How to Bath a Dog That Hates Water?

Let’s turn this into a fun event for your dog. Get some dog-friendly shampoo (not your shampoo, theirs!), a fluffy towel, and a gentle brush for their fur. Create a comfy spot where your dog will feel relaxed. Make sure it’s not slippery. 🐶🧼

Before the bath begins, play some games with your dog, have an epic indoor fetch session or let your pup chase you around the house before bath time. A tired dog = a relaxed dog!

Now, we’re going to be a little clever here. Lay out a trail of yummy treats🍭🍬 leading to the bath area. Let them follow the trail, and they’ll happily walk right into the bath.

Giving your dog a gentle massage isn’t just about making them feel good physically, but also emotionally. Pet them softly and give scratches. Make them feel loved and secure, a cuddly spa experience.

washing dog paws

One negative bath experience, such as scalding hot water, slips, or shampoo mishaps, can traumatize your dog and instil a fear of bathing🛁🚫”, says the experts at Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

The Great Bathing Adventure

It’s time to dive into the main event. Ease your dog into the water slowly.

  • Start with a gentle splash of lukewarm water.💦 Start by just getting their paws wet with a splash or two. Use a cup or a hose with a gentle setting to introduce your dog to the idea that water isn’t so scary after all.
  • Slowly increase the amount of water contact while keeping it positive. Make lathering up entertaining! Use pet-safe, tasty shampoos and let your dog lick it off their paws or coat[1].
  • Use slow, circular motions to work up a luxurious lather. This part should feel more like a pampering session than a cleaning one.🧼🫧
  • Singing adds a fun element and helps keep your dog relaxed. Sing about scrubbing and splashing while you bathe. Your pup will be focused on your voice instead of the water.
  • Dogs have shorter attention spans and too much of anything can be overwhelming. Keep baths are 5-10 minutes long. Get in, wash, rinse, done. Longer baths may stress your dog out.
happy dog in tub

Short, happy bath times will keep their bath-hating to a minimum. This will create a positive association.

Investing in the best portable dog washer can make it easier to learn how to give a dog bath in the tub, especially if your dog is anxious about water. Look for washers that attach to your sink or shower head for convenience.

Post-Bath Party

The fun isn’t over yet. It’s time for the Post-Bath Party. After the bath, wrap them up in the fluffiest, warmest towel you can find, you can use two towels.

Gently pat them dry. Give praise and treats🍬🍭 during. Let them “win” the towel tug game. Drying your dog thoroughly prevents chilling. The towel time isn’t just about drying off; it’s a moment of comfort too. Burn off some post-bath energy engaging them in a fun game with their favourite toy.

For even faster drying, try using the best dog drying bag uk to wrap your dog in after toweling them off.

Play fetch, tug-of-war, or any game they love. This helps them associate bath time with something enjoyable that comes after. Now that your dog is clean, dry and tired from playtime, have a relaxing snuggle session.

Cuddle together, give belly rubs, and shower them with praise. It’s not just about being clean, it’s about feeling loved and cherished.💖

Even after a thorough bath, some dogs may still have a lingering odor. This makes pup owners wonder why does my dog stink even after a bath?

Care and Improvements

Make it a regular routine. Dogs thrive on predictability, so try to bathe your dog regularly. This helps them get used to the idea of baths and reduces anxiety over time. But don’t overdo it – once every few weeks⌛or as needed is usually sufficient.

happy dog wrapped in towel

If your dog’s fear of water persists, or if you encounter any unusual behaviour during bath time, it might be time to consult a Vet. They have tricks and techniques up their sleeves to help your pup become more comfortable with bath time.🛁

Make sure to follow the recommended wait time after applying flea treatment before bathing your dog. Asking your vet, “how long after flea treatment can i bathe my dog?” is an important question if you want the treatment to be fully effective.


What Calms a Dog Down During a Bath?

Toss treats into the tub, and when your dog jumps in to retrieve them, praise them. After a good belly rub, lead them out of the tub and throw another treat in for them to retrieve. This teaches your dog to associate positivity with being in the tub. Spread peanut butter on the side of your tub.

Is It OK to Rinse the Dog With Water?

Dry baths or wet wipe cleanings are great for dogs who get dirty but hate bath time. If your dog doesn’t mind a wet bath but you do not have or want to use dog shampoo, water, vinegar, and a small amount of coconut oil can soothe your dog’s itchy or dry skin.

Can I Use Human Shampoo on My Dog?

Human shampoo can cause irritation to your dog’s skin, as they have a different pH level to humans. It can also increase their vulnerability to parasites and viruses. You should make a conscious effort to keep dog shampoo stocked at home and only use human or baby shampoo in emergency situations.


And there you have it, the answer to your canine conundrum of “how to bath a dog that hates water?” friends! Your dog, once a bath-avoiding pro, is now ready to shine in their very own bath-time show, filled with playtime, soapy fun, and a post-bath celebration🎉 that’s hard to beat.

So, when the next watery battle looms, remember our trusty guide. With patience, affection, and a few doggy tricks, you can transform bath time into a tail-wagging adventure.

Who knows, your water-resisting dog might just surprise you by becoming the cleanest, happiest, and most water-loving dog🐶 on the block!

Now that bath time is under control, be sure to also check out tips for how to keep dog nails short without clipping for full doggy pampering.


  1. Insurance, A. P. (2016, July 25). How to give a dog a bath. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance.
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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