Bathing an anxious or scared dog – preparation and how to overcome the anxiety.

Bathing an anxious or scared dog can be like re-enacting a scene from a horror movie. Bathing as we know it is not a natural thing for a dog to do in the wild, so instinctively, it is understandable when they are afraid of having one. Also, bath time shouldn’t be a terrible ordeal every time your fur-child is a bit muddy. let’s look into what causes a dog to be anxious during bath time and how to overcome this.

The process of bathing can cause anxiety in many dogs and this leads to the fear of being bathed. The key here is to try to identify where this anxiety stems from and look at ways to overcome it with your dog.

Dogs are highly sensitive creatures, often more so than we think. An experience of bathwater that may have been too hot or even a hostile environment (angry owner for example) during a previous bath experience would create anxiety in them. 

However, it’s often things far more insignificant to us that could create this anxiety for them. As an example, a bathtub is a slippery surface and many dogs do not like the feeling of being unbalanced. They begin to panic because they know that feeling of not having control is coming. 

So how do we help our dogs overcome this fear, I mean we cannot have them running around dirty all the time, even though they might want to! There are many health reasons why it’s vital to keep your pets clean, but that’s a blog for another day. Before you run and fill the tub, you need to help prepare your doggo. Practise is what will help you obtain the best results here.

how to bath an anxious dog

Make the bathroom seem less scary

  • Make the area where the bath will take a place, a safe and happy environment. This can be done by feeding them their dinner in the bathroom where you would usually bathe them.  
  • Calling them into that room, once they come inside on their own reward them with a treat. Then sit on the floor with them and give them lots of cuddles and scratches. They will soon start to associate the bathroom as a happy place.

Rub a dub dub, now work on getting in the tub

  • If your dog starts to panic as soon as you put them into the tub, then this is for you. Make sure that there is NO water in the tub. Put a rubber mat or even a damp towel down inside the tub to prevent your dog from slipping. Gently pick them up and place them into the empty tub. Once your dog is in the tub, praise and reward them with their favorite treat and a cuddle. Leave it at that, take your doggie out the tub and go do something fun. 
  • When you feel your dog is starting to relax with the idea of being in the tub, before taking them out again, introduce something else they enjoy like a brush. 

Now to add some water

  • Keep a small bucket and sponge on hand for this step. Once your doggie is in the tub and calm, using the wet sponge, start to wipe down your dog’s paws and legs. Just enough that they can feel the water, remember to keep talking to your dog in a calm and soothing voice. Reassure them that they are being not “a good dog” but “the best dog”.  
  • When your dog has relaxed to this idea, run a small amount of water in the tub, just deep enough to reach halfway up your dog’s paw, don’t cover their paws yet. Make sure you run the water slowly so you do not cause your dog to panic. If your dog is calm with the water then continue to use the sponge and wet a bit higher on their legs. 
  • Each time you do this, increase the water level slightly and continue to use a sponge to wet your dog until they are comfortable. 
  • Try to avoid using a shower head extension if you can, the noise and the water pressure can be quite daunting to a timid or anxious dog. If you have to use one, keep the water pressure as low as possible and slowly increase this if needed. 

A few additional tips and tricks

  • Rome wasn’t built in a day, so this will take time and practice to overcome BUT it is something that can be resolved.
  • Remain calm at all times, your dog will pick up on your mood and this can potentially take you a few steps back. 
  • Reward EVERY small achievement. 
  • Always avoid getting water in or near your dog’s eyes.
  • The best time to bathe your dog is after a long walk or run. They will be in a happy, relaxed and slightly tired state of mind which will make them easier to handle overall. 
  • Some dogs have a toy that they treasure and often act as their ‘security blanket’. If this toy is waterproof, introduce it to your bathtime routine, it might help them to relax a bit more. 

Remember if your dog is calm and happy about bath time it becomes a happy experience for them. This also helps their anxiety when they are being professionally groomed as well. 

To book a professional grooming session please contact us. 

bath anxious dog toys


Bunnies as gifts during Easter

Bunnies as gifts during Easter

Something that happens all too often around this time of year is the gifting of bunnies. The gesture of gifting a small bunny to a child over the Easter period seems wonderful and picturesque, however, bunnies are a 10-year commitment at the least, and research should be done first before making that purchase.

Often when a bunny is bought as an Easter gift, it is because people see this cute little bunny and believe it’s going to stay small and fluffy forever. The thing is, most bunnies don’t stay that size for very long. The majority of breeds that are sold are in fact large breed bunnies.

“But isn’t a bunny a “low-maintenance” pet to keep?” or “They’re small and you just keep them in a cage.” These are some of the misconceptions that most of us have about keeping a bun as a pet. Bunnies are by no means “low-cost pets”. They require just as much time, money, and effort you would invest when owning a dog or a cat.

Bunny rabbit present
Let’s look at some of the things that involve owning a bun:
  1. They have to be house trained as well as litter box trained. Bunnies kept in hutches outdoors have an average life span of about 1 year, where Bunnies that live indoors can live up to 8 to 10 years. So they must live inside and become part of the family.
  2. The house must be “bunny-proofed”. This means pick up everything that you don’t want to be chewed up. Bunnies love to chew everything they can find, especially electrical cables so keep those away from them.
  3. Bunnies must be spayed or neutered or they will start “marking” inside the house.
  4. There are the initial costs, which include adoption or purchasing fees and money spent on food/water dishes, housing, and more, it all adds up very quickly.
  5. Food, bunnies need to be fed a very specific diet, they cannot be left to just eat a lettuce leaf and some hay as many people are lead to believe.
Bunnies and children


Child with bunnies

Most bunnies are gifted to children, and as we know it’s no secret that children love a pet they can hold, carry and cuddle. Most of us believe that bunnies love to be cuddled and that they are very passive animals. This is not entirely the case. They are ground-loving creatures who can feel frightened and insecure when they are held and restrained.

If a bunny feels threatened their main defense is to use its hind legs to kick out and get away from the situation. This could result in the child or bunny being hurt. All too often, if the child is badly scratched it causes them to loses interest, and the bunny ends up neglected or abandoned. This is no fault of the child, it would be unfair to expect a young child to understand the complexities of such a pet.

However, bunnies can be the most amazing pets and wonderful additions to a family. They can help teach children a sense of care and responsibility as most pets do. Like any long-term commitment, a bit of research is required before jumping in headfirst. This will help you to prepare for your little bun(dle) of joy and be the best bun parent you can be. Bunnies are wonderful companion animals and work very well in a home that understands their needs.

We are here to help

We at Paws N Claws specialize in the caring of and overnight pet sitting of bunnies for our clients. Should you need any help to look after your bun while you are away, as well as having that complete peace of mind that they are being well taken care of, then contact us today. We will help you book a sitting for your bun through our website or Facebook channels. Contact – Thank You

Cat grooming – is it really necessary?

Cat grooming – is it really necessary?

Like most cat owners, if you were to ask me the question “is it necessary to have your cat groomed?”, my answer would have been no. I used to be under the impression that cats are the most self-sufficient of all pets. Apart from the obvious things like not being able to use a can opener, they really can look after themselves.

That was until one day I was woken up to the truth that they are not as “independent” as they would like us to believe. My cat had developed an ear infection and the vet asked how frequently I have them checked and cleaned.

So what are the benefits of having my cat professionally groomed?

1) Professional groomers work with cats daily, so they understand that these experiences can be scary for some cats. Their first priority is to help keep your loved one as happy and relaxed as possible. They are specially trained to do exactly that. No procedure is ever “rushed” as this will cause your pet to become stressed.

2) A professional groomer will focus on the areas that we as normal pet owners may miss, like ears. They need to be cleaned regularly to remove any type of wax and dirt build-up, which may result in a nasty and painful ear infection.
The groomer will also take note of any signs that there may be a problem building up and advise you to seek veterinary care. These are things such as bald spots, redness, discharge, swelling, debris
, odor, caked ear wax or even bleeding.

3) Trimming and general claw care. A cat’s claws are their main form of defense and are used for hunting, BUT, that’s mostly required in the wild, where they will naturally be worn down.
A domestic house cat’s claws will also suffer the normal daily wear and tear of climbing walls, trees, digging, and walking on harder surfaces. However, that alone is not enough to keep them healthy, they should be trimmed down regularly. This might also help save your furniture from becoming a scratch post. When a cat’s claws become too long and start to split, they need to remove the old bits of claw somehow and this is often when a cat resorts to “clawing” carpets, curtains, and even chairs.

4) Regular grooming eliminates discomfort in many ways for your cat. Firstly brushing is something that they enjoy, it’s has a massage effect on their coat.
Brushing also promotes healthy hair growth and stimulates the production of natural oils within the coat. This will help to remove dead and dry skin which may become itchy when the seasons change and the air becomes drier.

By using the Paws N Claws team you can rest assured and have peace of mind as the overall well-being and care of your pets is always our first priority.