Dog zoomies. The washtub runaround. Bubble bonanza. Call it what you will. Lots of dogs seem to go bananas after a bath or shower. It’s generally harmless behavior and not cause for much concern. But, why do dogs go crazy after a bath?
Turns out, there are a number of reasons your dog might get all looney after bathing. Check them out below before your pup’s next bath.
Bath Time: An Unavoidable Necessity
Dogs, much like humans, benefit from regular bathing and grooming. A bath cleans the skin under their fur which can prevent irritation and itchiness. And, for those long hair pups, regular grooming (including baths), may help prevent matted fur.1
Plus, regular baths give you an opportunity to give your dog a little check up. You can examine them for injuries or pests like fleas.2
How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?
Every dog is different and leads a different sort of doggy lifestyle. Indoor pets may need to bathe less than a dog that’s outside digging holes all day. Likewise, pooches with long hair and fur probably need more frequent suds and shampooing than their short hair counterparts.3
One good rule of thumb is this: If you can smell your dog when they come inside, they probably need a bath.4 Talk with your vet or groomer if you want to get a more specific bathing timeline.
Zoomies: Where Does All That Energy Come From?
Unfortunately, there’s no absolute answer as to why your dog runs around after a bath. It may simply be that your dog is excited that the bath is over. However, there are a few factors that may be attributed to their funny behavior. Some of those laps may have to do with the following items below.
Baths Are Not The Doggy Way To Clean
Dogs naturally clean and groom themselves. But, their baths don’t involve a leap into the pool. More often, dogs use their tongues for hygienic upkeep. They lick themselves to clean up dirt, support the growth of hair, and to prevent skin irritation.5 So, the whole idea of a bath is a little foreign to them.
That’s why it’s important to slowly acclimate your pup to the experience. That means easing them gently into the tub with kind words and treats (never with yelling).6 This might make your dog more comfortable and less anxious about the whole experience.
Water In The Ear Canal
A dog’s ears have a vertical ear canal that easily traps water. If it fills with water, it can become uncomfortable and difficult for your pup to dislodge. This can then lead to ear infections.7 If you’ve ever had swimmer’s ear, you know that water in the ear is no fun.
Before you dump water on your dog’s head, put some cotton balls in their ears. This may help minimize how much water gets in their ear canals and maybe lower their energy levels after the bath too.8 Just make sure you remember to take the cotton out of their ears right after the bath.
New Smells – Not Always Good Smells
Phew…. What’s that rosey fresh scent? You might love the smell of a certain shampoo, but chances are your dog doesn’t. That’s because dogs don’t enjoy the same smells that humans do.9
Plus, a dog’s sense of smell is many times more powerful than a human’s. Compound that with a smell they don’t like, and you may have your pup zooming for the hills to get it off.10
Try using a scent free, or naturally scented shampoo with a low pH level.11 Familiar and pleasant doggy scents may help cut down on all that excitement after a bath.
Wet Fur Equals Cold Dog
Much like humans, dogs don’t enjoy big swings in their body temperature.12 Keep this in mind when you’re running that bath water. If it’s cold to you, it’s probably cold and uncomfortable for them too. If they are soaking and chilly, it’s no wonder dogs run around after they get out of the bath.
Different Strokes For Different Pups
Some dog breeds simply do not like water. This might be due to different physical characteristics, temperaments, or health issues. It’s common for small breeds such as Pugs or Frenchies to dislike water, which may explain some of their frenzied running after a good soaking. Check with your vet to determine the best bathing techniques for your dog’s breed.13
How To Make Bath Time Easier
It’s hard to say whether any of the things above are directly responsible for your dog’s sprints around the bathroom. They might just be happy that their bath is over. But, with that in mind, there are a few things you can do to make bathing feel like less of a chore for your pup. It may not put a stop to the zoomies, but it can make their baths a little more enjoyable. Check out a few of these ideas:
Use A Dog Shampoo
Dogs have different skin and hair than humans. Their unique pH requirements mean you need a special dog shampoo. Choose one that’s right for your dog and their skin.14
Keep in mind that medicated shampoos for fleas have special usage requirements. Be sure to follow the instructions and use accordingly.15
Start Bathing Habits As A Puppy
Introduce your dog to baths as a puppy. Young dogs are more flexible to new things, so it might be easier to teach them that baths aren’t scary. Older dogs may be more skeptical and less willing to take a plunge into the tub.16
Dry Them Off Thoroughly
Your dog shaking off the water after a bath is not enough to dry them properly. Rub them down with a towel right after their bath. This helps keep them warm and might also help to prevent “hot spots.” Hot spots are fungal infections that are caused by moisture under the fur. They can be very irritating to the skin and make your dog uncomfortable.17,18
Dry fur is also less likely to get dirty. This is important in case your pooch decides to go for some post-bath sprints outside.19
Be Gentle And Supportive
It may go without saying, but be sympathetic to your dog’s discomfort. Put yourself in their paws for a few seconds and think about whether you’d like the kind of bath you’re offering. This can be as simple as not splashing water on their snout or adjusting the water to a comfortable temperature. Anything you wouldn’t enjoy, your dog probably won’t either.20
And remember, treats are a great way to reinforce your dog’s patience and good behavior during a bath.21 So, offer them their favorite snack for all their patience.
Zoomies Are Often A Sign Of Happiness
All that running around in the yard or the living room after a bath might seem a bit silly or disconcerting to dog parents. But, chances are, that’s just your dog letting off a little steam after having to stand still in the water for so long. Generally, dog zoomies are a normal dog behavior and not a major cause for concern.22
There’s no guarantee that changing up bath time rituals will stop your dog’s zoomies. But, you can do a lot to make your pup comfortable and for bathtime to feel like less of a chore. You may still see some zoomies after, but at least you’ll know they’re happy laps.
Note: Talk to your vet or breeder if you have any concerns about your dog’s body or your dog’s behavior.
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