Dog Depressed After Bath? Here’s Why!

As the sound of the faucet rushes, and the sight of soap and towels being prepared, this will be our furry companion’s queue to make a run for it. Yes, bath time, a stressful situation for both dog and fur-parent; all the chasing around, water splashing all over you, the feeble attempts to escape, and if your fur baby isn’t running around acting crazy with the zoomies after the bath, he might be having post-bath melancholy. As apparent as it already is by now, bath or grooming time is not one of your dog’s favorite ways to spend time with you. That might explain why your dog gets depressed after a bath.

That said, with a little time and a whole boat-load of patience, it is quite possible to make bath time less depressing for both you and your pet. 

So, why is my dog depressed after a bath? Baths to dogs can be very traumatic experiences. To you, you are just cleaning them so they do not stink or get your bed dirty when they inevitably come join you in bed. To them, they are being forced to stand still and get large amounts water poured over them with strong foreign odors, of puppy shampoo, washing over them. Toweling them off and giving them a treat and baby talks will prove helpful in getting them out of the depression after their scary bath.


It could be quite worrisome when your four-legged friend suddenly catches the blues right after a bath. This is true, especially when your dog was relatively happier and more energetic pre-bath. True enough, a bath does cause a lot of anxiety and stress, but it can sometimes just be a trigger to preexisting traumas and depression. 

To find out for sure, let us walk you through the other reasons why your dog might be gloomy right after its bath. 

  • Physical Illness. If your dog has any underlying sickness or diseases, this could cause it to seem a little off. If you suspect your dog has any health problems, it is crucial to immediately take your pup to the vet to get him checked as soon as possible. If your vet diagnoses your dog with a health problem, make sure to follow your vet’s recommended treatment and medication. This will hopefully improve your dog’s mood once he is fully recovered from any sickness. 
  • Grief. As we humans might be saddened by the loss of another human or pet, dogs can be. It may be a human he’s usually around with, another pet in the house, or even his playmate from next door, whenever he doesn’t notice their presence anymore, no matter the circumstance (they moved away, on vacation, or passed away) this can be greatly saddening for your dog. As we see dogs as part of our family, dogs see us as part of their pack, and when a member of a pack disappears, we would have no way of explaining this to our dogs no matter how much we want to. Although we don’t notice this often, our dogs do mourn. 
  • Changes in their environment. Did you recently move to a different house, or have you recently made any renovations to your home? If yes, then this could be strange for your dog. As we all know, dogs like to be familiar with their surroundings, as they feel a sense of comfort in the things they already know. When moving to a new house, it is vital for you as his owner to understand that this can be a massive change for him. On that note, you will also have to put in the effort to make this easier for your dog. Things like reintroducing where your dog is supposed to do their business, where he is supposed to eat, and where he is supposed to sleep. Lastly, extend your patience towards your dog.
  • You (Their Owners). If you haven’t been yourself lately and feel the blues, your dog will surely sense that. If you have been changing their mealtimes or their daily schedules, this will make your dog think that something is not right that might cause them to get a little depressed.

Why Are Dogs Depressed After Giving Them a Bath?

It is not that surprising that dogs don’t enjoy being bathed in the first place. Try putting yourself in their shoes(or paws, for this matter). Imagine yourself feeling so powerless because you are forced to get wet with soap all over you. Sure, after your dog rolls over the mud or is just plain stinky, it is necessary to clean them up. Nevertheless, for them, it is definitely not a walk in the park. 

Aside from them not enjoying bath time, one possible reason why they get depressed after a bath is because of past trauma. Some dogs might enjoy the water, but a lot of dogs are frightened by it. Especially if your dog is adopted, it is possible that his previous owner didn’t properly introduce them to bath time. They could’ve forcefully bathed them or took them to the beach and did not slowly introduce them to the water, which is where the trauma might have stemmed from. 

Ways to Ease Bath Time Anxiety 

If you’ve concluded that bath time is the cause of your dog’s depression, this is not a hopeless cause. Here is a list of steps to make bath-time somewhat better for your four-legged companion. 

Right State of Mind

When bathing your dog, you have to make sure that you are calm and composed. If you are jittery and nervous about bathing, your dog might notice it and feel uncomfortable as well. Ensure you are in a good mood and pack up a whole load of patience when bathing your dog. 

Setting Up Your Station

To ensure a tolerable bath time experience, it is essential to make sure everything is ready when you bathe your dog. You wouldn’t want to be running around last minute because you left the shampoo or the towel in the other room.

Here are the quick steps to do this:

  • Use the right tub – Make sure the tub you’re using is the right size for your dog; not too small, that he would feel cramped inside and not too big that he would have room to run off. 
  • Make sure he won’t slip – If your dog slips and falls while taking a bath, this will surely make your dog’s fear of bath time even worse. Make sure he has traction on the tub to ensure his safety.
  • Always use warm water – Dogs don’t want the water to be too cold or too hot; find the right temperature that your dog prefers. 

Positive Reinforcement

Since we’ve established that your dog is scared of bath time, giving your dog a little “tender loving care” during the bath can significantly improve his bath time experience. Give your dog a treat or two, and don’t skimp out on making sure that you tell him he’s a good boy. 

Post Bath

Once your dog shakes that water off, find a towel (preferably heated in the dryer), and try your best to dry out your dog while giving him compliments and pets while you’re at it. Although air-drying your dog is better for them (they usually hate the blow-dryer), make sure to set the blow dryer medium to cool settings. 

Note: Once your pooch is all dried up, give him more treats and pets so that your dog associates bath time as a fun experience.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

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