Dear Labby: Why Does My Dog Go Wild After Taking A Bath?

french bulldog takes a bath and wisp of bast

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One of our DogTime fans has questions for Dear Labby about a dog who goes wild after bath time. Why does her pup do that? Does she need to change the bath time routine? She writes:

Dear Labby,

Like most dogs, my pup detests bath time and is all too eager to hop out of the tub when it’s over.

Once I’ve given him a thorough drying, I’ll open the door to let him out of the bathroom, and whoosh! He’s off like a tornado around the house, jumping on the furniture, rolling around, running at full speed around hairpin turns. You could power a small city for a week with all the energy he burns.

I looked this up online, and apparently a lot of dogs get the “zoomies” after taking a bath. Why is that? Is my dog uncomfortable? Is he stressing out? Should I be doing something to keep him relaxed, or is it better to just let him run for it?


Chaotic, Little, Erratic, And Nutty Dog Accelerating Suddenly Here

Dear Labby Has The Answer!

Wet Chihuahua dog sitting in a bath

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Dear C.L.E.A.N. D.A.S.H.,

You’re certainly not alone. Lots of dogs like to take off like rockets after their baths and tear around the house at full speed, only stopping to roll around or rub against the furniture or carpet.

Some people affectionately call this “the zoomies,” “the crazies,” or “FRAPs,” which is short for frenetic random activity periods. Whatever you call it, it can be alarming if you don’t know why your dog is acting out of the ordinary.

The good news is that these periods of activity are usually short-lived and probably aren’t the result of anything you did wrong. There are several perfectly normal reasons your dog might run like a dog out of heck after bath time.

The Doggy Dryer

Wet poodle dog after the bath with a towel .

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One of these reasons is simply that your dog may be trying to dry off. Rolling around, shaking off, and running to feel the wind through his hair all help to remove excess moisture. He may especially want to get water out of his ears, as this can be a source of discomfort.

Make sure you dry your dog off as much as you can when he gets out of the tub, and pay attention to his ears. This might reduce his need to run around and roll.

Ditching The Stink

Another reason your dog might do this is to remove the smell of shampoo. While you may enjoy the sweet and flowery smells of soaps, your dog’s sense of smell is thousands of times better than yours.

Think about that. Would you want to smell like ten thousand flowers or kiwi-pomegranates? Probably not. All that rolling and running may just be an effort to get rid of the scent.

You may wish to try a more mild, less scented shampoo.

Your dog might also be trying to get back the smell he worked so hard to achieve before you so rudely decided to wash it all away. Dogs roll in things. It’s a natural behavior, and even though it makes for some odors that are unappealing to human noses, the smell is delightful to dogs.

More than one dog parent has made the mistake of letting a dog outside immediately after a bath only to find that the aroma of dirt and poop that their pup rolled in earlier has returned. Keep your pup indoors immediately after a bath and let them get used to their new smell.

What A Relief!

Washing dog, purebred Akita Inu in bath.

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One of the big reasons dogs lose it after baths is that they’re releasing anxious energy and expressing relief.

Bath time is stressful for dogs. They’re getting all wet and covered in strange-smelling goop when they should be curling up on the couch for a nap. That causes nervous energy, and when it’s all over, that energy has to go somewhere.

Your dog could just be happy that the stressful part is over and need to burn off all that energy to finally relax.

You may want to look into how to make bath time less of a stressful ordeal for your dog. Try providing them with rewards. If they have a comfort item that can get wet, like a toy or ball, you may want to let them take it into the bath with them. This can help reduce some anxiety.

Another possibility is that your dog is having fun. Bath time isn’t fun, so your dog may want to make up for that by having a good time afterward. He could be looking for a game of chase, or he could just want to feel the joy of bursting full speed around the house.

Therefore, you might want to let him run it out.

So, C.L.E.A.N. D.A.S.H., you can take some steps to reduce the post-bath zoomies, but there’s also no harm in just letting your dog bolt after bathing. It’s a normal behavior that isn’t a cause for concern. You may even want to join in and use the sudden burst of energy as a time to play and bond.

Bath time stinks, so help your dog celebrate the fact that it’s over and, hopefully, won’t have to happen again any time soon.

Does your dog get the zoomies after a bath? Do you let them run around or try to keep them calm? Let us know in the comments below and leave any questions you have for Dear Labby!