Why Do Dogs Go Crazy After A Bath?
[Definitive Guide]

By kropek2021. • Updated August 2, 2021

It felt like a total waste of my time. Before I could pull out the towel, my dog was already rolling all over the lawn. Like, who doesn´t love to feel fresh after a bath? Did I do something wrong?

My first experience with Spot came as a shock. But after years of working at the practice, I realized I wasn’t the problem. 

Unlike humans, most dogs hate baths. Even on some of their best days, they’re likely to have those bursts of frenetic random activity, or zoomies, post-shower. I could bet my dollar that your pup barks the same song after bath time, too.

No, your pet isn’t disgusting. Neither is it that you introduced them to the tub too late. 

Zoomies are common among canines. It’s just that we’d rather not have them leap over furniture while wet. 

In any case, there are logical reasons your dog goes crazy after a bath. However, avoiding some of them could make things more pleasant out of the water. That’s why it matters to know their triggers.

Take note.

Dogs Get the Zoomies Because of...

Relief

Cats aren’t the only ones who have issues with water. Dogs have phobias, too. 

If you’re afraid of something or straight out hate it, you’ll do your best to avoid the situation altogether. That’s understandable. Unfortunately, bath time isn’t something that your dog can avoid – mainly because they’re not the ones in charge. 

Since hiding from the shower isn’t an option for your pet, they bear with it. But it takes a lot out of them to endure a soap session. Five minutes alone can feel like agony.

Try to imagine the amount of pent-up nervous energy your dog might have by the time you close that tap. All that anxiety can drive them crazy. Yet, at the moment, the only way they can release the tension is by rolling around or running through the house

In that case, post-bath zoomies are therapeutic

It may sound absurd at first, but people aren’t much different. Some humans scream out of frustration. Likewise, dogs have their way of coping with stress. 

But your pup didn’t just wake up one day and decide that baths aren’t their thing. Canines are more sensitive than you think. Most times, it’s not that they dislike getting cleaned up, but they hate the process. 

Your dog might dread bath time because:

  • the water is either too cold or too hot
  • the showerhead is too noisy and sounds like a monster
  • the nozzle sprays too hard on their body
  • the wet floor makes them slip and slide – which is painful
  • the bath leash or harness makes them feel trapped

If you want to know whether soap and water make your doggy anxious, look at their body language. Do they whine on the way to the shower? Maybe you notice their tail and ears go down once you pick up the hose. They might even tense up in the tub. 

Think back to your dog’s last few showers. Perhaps this time, you could adjust the water to their liking or place a towel on the floor to make it less slippery.

It’s natural for canines to want to run away mid-bath. That’s even more likely with a young pup. After all, they’re highly energetic animals. 

However, holding them down can be traumatic. Consider moving baths to a more enclosed area, like a sink or stall, where they feel safer.

Treats are also encouraging and can help redirect your pet’s mentality. If baths equal rewards, then what’re a few minutes under the water?

Wet Fur

Dogs are masters of patience – most of the time. As much as you’d want to caress your pup between the towels, they hardly ever wait for you to dry them off. 

It’s normal for dogs to shake their fur right after a bath. Before pet owners came into the picture, they’d instinctively jiggle around to get rid of all the extra water weight on their bodies. 

With that said, shaking is typical during frenetic random activity periods (FRAPS). Water can get into iffy places – like the inner ear – that your dog otherwise won’t be able to reach. Often, a good roll on the ground can get the liquid out. 

I’m not saying that you should let your dog go dry on the carpet. But fluid-filled canals can be a nuisance to any canine. Unless your dog starts to fidget or rub their head, you might not notice the problem immediately. Ergo, they’ll have no choice but to take matters into their paws.

However, the thing is that some canines have longer ear canals than others, which makes drying more difficult. 

When that happens, try a homemade drying solution. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and distilled water. Then add a few drops to each of your doggy’s ears.

That should do the trick.

A New Smell

“The sense of smell in all dogs is their primary doorway to the world around them.”

-Robert Crais

A dog’s sense of smell ought to be one of their most powerful strengths. By nature, they have more sensory receptors than humans. Research shows that canines can get a whiff of scents from over 20 kilometers away

If I were a dog, I’d probably spend my days sniffing out lilies and dandelions or my owner’s new perfume. Ironically, dogs could care less about those fragrances. 

They’d much rather dabble with the hardcore smells of meat, dirt, and doodoo. And they especially prefer their natural odor over the rosy aroma of most dog shampoos.

Dogs are down-to-earth creatures, and their sense of smell gets them around different environments. Stenches help canines mark their territory and stay clear of trouble on others’. Overall, they’re what make them feel in tune with nature.

But when you mask those familiar scents with that of soaps, it feels unnatural for your doggy. Moreover, not all shampoos work great on every pet. Some are more sensitive to certain chemicals, and the irritation can lead them to roll over with the zoomies after a bath.

Investing in a mild or hypoallergenic dog shampoo can make bath time more bearable for your pet. Some owners substitute their shampoo and other hair products on their pet’s fur. That’s a terrible idea. While those may be gentle on your skin and scalp, they may not be the same for a pup.

Give your dog what it needs, and you won’t have to worry about any post-bath trauma.  

Happiness

FRAPS aren’t always a cry for help. If you’re hitting all the right notes, your dog might love showers and associate them with joy. 

You can expect to see this type of behavior from a Poodle, Retriever, or a Spanish Water Dog – as the name implies. But other breeds also enjoy their time in the tub once you set the mood.

It could be that your dog likes bathing in the outdoor pool or splashing along with their favorite toy.  Or perhaps the mere fact of another bonding experience with their owner excites them. Either way, you’re doing something right because instead of dreading the shower, they look forward to it.

A wagging tail is a definite sign that your puppy is into baths. And all the excitement from another fun play session can get a canine geared up afterward. But don’t worry – zoomies don’t usually last more than ten minutes. There’s still a chance to save the furniture. 

Besides, you could always gate a small area in your yard to place your pet while they go crazy.

Attention

Canines are clever animals. Many of my clients wonder why do dogs run around like crazy after a bath, but when you think about it, it’s not just about the shower. From nose biting to zooming around, they’ll do whatever it takes to get to you.

Whether you laugh, cry, or scold them afterward, the goal is to engage you in their activities. Talk about unwavering love.

Consequently, your puppy may take their post-bath roll for a game. Whenever they have a burst of energy, you respond. So why not keep at it?

If anything, your dog may have a bad habit. And your reaction only feeds their excitement.

Why do dogs run around after a bath?

Despite the unpleasantries of having your house smell like a wet dog, zoomies are normal. In reality, they’re just as common as seeing a dog fight with a cat.

(A word of caution, however – be careful when your pet gets crazy after a bath. Be sure that they’re moving within a safe environment.

Most times, canines are aware of their surroundings – even when they get the zoomies. But you can never be too careful. Keep them away from tools or standing objects. In the heat of the moment, your pet could easily knock over something in the periphery and end up hurt.

Nevertheless, knowing your dog’s triggers can help you reduce its likelihood of having an outrageous outburst. No matter how old, you can train your dog to release its energy more effectively. 

Start by keeping scents as natural as possible, and refrain from entertaining their unruly tactics. Chasing speeding dogs is like adding fuel to the fire. 

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to listen to your canine’s needs. Make it your priority to create the right conditions for your doggo under the water and a calm environment for them post-bath.

It should be smooth sailing from there.