Bathing dogs

How to Bathe a Dog that Hates Water

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Bathe a Dog that Hates Water

One of the routines that you must get your dog accustomed to is bath time. If you want to give your dog a bath but your dog is afraid of water or hates it, read on. If your pet does not like water for whatever reason, you should do what you can to make it as bearable as possible. A bathroom that's safe, full of love and that has plenty of distractions for your dog is best. In OneHowTo we show you how to bathe a dog that hates water.

You may also be interested in: How to bathe a dog without water

Steps to follow:


There are dogs that do not have any problem or put up any resistance when being bathed. On the other hand, some dogs become afraid when they know that it's the dreaded bath time. Despite this, it is advisable to give your dog a bath once a month if you live in a city and, if you live in rural areas, a bath up to a couple times a month. Everything depends on your pet's lifestyle and whether it gets dirty a lot.

To begin, you must understand that fear is the result of bad experiences, a dog is not born with a fear of water. A pet dog can develop this fear through some negative past experience, so every time it sees the bathtub or the water, memories of those experiences will come back.

In this article we tell you how to bathe your dog at home if you need some tips before you start establishing this routine in your home.

How to Bathe a Dog that Hates Water - Step 1

The most important thing is to transform the bathroom into a safe and relaxing experience. Take care of all the details and all will be well for your dog and it will not become overly stressed. It is recommended that you put a non-skid mat in the bath so that it does not slip or skid; this will make your dog feel less vulnerable in the bath.

If your pet is small, the bath might be a very unstable place for it. If this is the case, a sink or a deep washbasin might be a better option. Also avoid placing objects within its reach or that could fall, such as the bottle of dog shampoo. More than anything else, this is to prevent scaring your dog. If anything falls, the shock and strident sound of it will not help the atmosphere for a dog that is already afraid.

How to Bathe a Dog that Hates Water - Step 2

A good idea might be to share a bath with your pet. This will be a way of strengthening your bond and to make your dog feel safe in this space. It may work for some dogs, you could try getting into the bath whist your dog is being washed, stroking it and soothing so it has a good time.

It's important that you do not use the shower because the noise and the impact of the water pressure will only heighten their fear. You can use a small bucket or basin to pour water slowly and gently over your pet (avoiding the head) to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Throughout the process, speak softly to your pet whilst stroking its head and body gently. The tone of voice as you speak is important - it should be quiet and soothing. Avoid raising your voice or making any unexpected noises as this will make your dog even more jumpy and make it associate bath time with anxiety.

How to Bathe a Dog that Hates Water - Step 3

Many dogs panic and feel claustrophobic if they are in confined spaces such as the bath. The bath might therefore trigger negative emotions that will prevent them from being able to cope wit the situation properly. To make this easier, do not close the bathroom door or bath curtain. This should put them more at ease and prevent them from feeling trapped in a small space.

To make bath time a calm and even a fun routine, toys and treats are perfect. They will help your dog tolerate the water, making bath time a fun experience of which it will feel less and less afraid. There are plenty of rubber toys suitable for playing in the bathtub. Start by playing with your dog out of the bath to distract and encourage it, and gradually make your way to the bath.


Edible treats are great for coaxing a dog that's fearful of water to the bath. This, along with affection, patience, a suitable temperature in the bathroom and the water at about 37 degrees. Check to make sure that it is not too hot or cold so that your pet has a pleasant, and even a fun experience.

Bathe your dog from when it is a puppy to get it used to the experience as early on as possible. The first few times that a dog is bathed wil determine its attitude towards the water in future. In the OneHowTo, read about how to start bathing a puppy.


If none of this seems to work and your dog is still afraid of water, you can also try to bathe it without using water.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Bathe a Dog that Hates Water, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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How to Bathe a Dog that Hates Water