If you give your dog a bath…
They’ll probably go crazy. Seriously! There’s always a burst of activity afterward, they bark, run around and dig at the carpet. It’s so weird – they act possessed after a bath!
Post-Hyper Dog Bathtime
This is a reported phenomenon. They go crazy after baths for a range of reasons from happiness, to relief, to an instinctual desire to return to more familiar scents. Whether you call it the crazies or the zoomies, the bottom line is post-hyper bath hyperactivity is a thing.
Unless you have dogs who love to be bathed, you know the situation well. Your dog rolled in poop or jumped in mud, or just hasn’t been washed for a while, and now it’s time. The brakes come on the minute your dog realizes you’re thinking about getting them in the tub, and it’s all stress moving forward.
When it’s over, your dog is super happy. The only way to express that is by running around, well, like a crazy person! It’s their nervous energy coming out.
If your dog hates baths, there are some ways to soothe their bathtime anxiety.
Reducing Dog Bathing Anxiety
If you bathe your dog outdoors, one way to help with anxiety may be to move your dog’s bath indoors. Hose water might be too cold, and this is uncomfortable. Would you want that? Also, you’re probably restraining your dog with a leash so they can’t escape, and that too can be scary for them.
Another reason your dog might hate the bath is because of the sensory experience. For most dogs, one of the worst things about the bath is feeling unsteady on the slippery, wet floor. Put a mat or towel down on the floor of the bathtub to prevent your dog from slipping and falling. This will calm anxiety by helping your dog feel more secure.
Help your dog think that bathtime isn’t that bad by smearing peanut butter or baby food on the shower or tub door for them to lick as you take care of the bathing business. If your dog is treat-motivated, they might be able to focus on a delicious reward until it’s over.
The sound of water rushing through a faucet or shower head can be noisy. For many dogs, it’s frightening. Instead of running the faucet while your dog is in the bath, try filling a bucket in advance and gently pouring the water over your dog.
Other ways to quell anxiety are to use a gentle, mild shampoo and test the water temperature often.
Do Dogs Want To Smell Good?
We’re all familiar with the smell that wet dogs can bring into the house. Humans want their dogs to smell like soap, flowers, linen, cucumber, honey, or anything–but not dog fur. The American Pet Products Association released a report saying dog owners spend over five billion dollars yearly on pet bath products and services. Scented, safe dog shampoos are in demand.
A freshly washed dog makes humans very happy. But what about the dog? Nope. Not only is their sense of smell much stronger than ours, but it’s how they greet the world. And after baths, now they’re coated in a weird, unfamiliar scent.
So, they find a solution by rolling around in everything possible to get rid of this new scent and return to the old. Wanting to smell like dirt and grass and poop is in a dog’s DNA.
How to Minimize Wet Dog Shaking
Why dogs go crazy after bathing may be as simple as drying off. If you’ve ever seen dogs shake vigorously after swimming, this behavior doesn’t seem odd. Wet dogs will shake, but they also might do things like roll around on the carpet, couch, or your bed, to get dry.
You can prevent some of the shaking and rolling around by investing in absorbent dog-friendly towels to soak up most of the moisture before this all starts.
Case of the Zoomies
This frenetic random activity period pretty much happens to every dog, especially young ones. Everything is so fun, suddenly, and they can’t possibly contain their excitement. Bathing might very well bring out this excitement.
They’ve been contained for a while, after all, and now it’s time to let loose. The zoomies are an expression of being happy rather than relieved, though the rolling and running around might look similar in both cases.
There’s nothing wrong with a case of excitement after bathing. If it causes problems, wet furniture, or a messy floor, it might help to keep your dog confined to a zone that is safe until they calm down. If not, just laugh and sit back. Dogs are lovable, aren’t they?