If you give a dog a bath…
He’ll probably go crazy. No, seriously. There’s a real burst of activity afterward. “My dog, Vera, acts possessed after her bath. She yips, barks, and yodels while she digs around in the carpet. It’s so weird,” laughs Rover editor Irene Keliher.
She isn’t alone in reporting this phenomenon. Dogs go crazy after a bath for a range of reasons from relief, to happiness, to an instinctual desire to return to a more familiar scent. Whether you call it a FRAP, the crazies, or the zoomies, the bottom line is, post-bath hyperactivity is a thing. And we’re breaking it down.
Unless you have a dog who loves baths, you know the situation all too well. Your dog rolled in poop or jumped in a muddy pond, or just hasn’t been washed in a minute, and it’s time. The paw breaks come on the minute your dog knows you’re thinking about getting them in the tub, and it’s all stress from there.
When it’s finally over, your dog is STOKED. The only way to express that is to run around, well, like crazy. It’s their nervous energy pouring out.
If your dog hates baths, check out this trainer’s guide to soothing their bath time anxiety.
Strange New Smell
We’re all familiar with the funk that a wet dog can bring into the house. Humans want their dogs to smell like flowers, or soaps, or linen, or cucumber, or honey, or pretty much anything but dog fur. The American Pet Products Association released a report showing that dog owners spend over five billion dollars a year on pet bath services and products. Safe, scented dog shampoos are in demand.
A freshly washed dog thrills a human, but a dog? Not so much. Not only is their sense of smell stronger than ours (we’ve all seen how dogs greet one another, yes?), but it’s how they perceive the world. And after a bath, they’re now coated in a weird, unfamiliar scent.
The solution? Sprint around and roll in everything possible to rid themselves of the new scent and return to the old. Wanting to smell like poop and dirt and grass is in a dog’s DNA.
The answer to why dogs go crazy after a bath might be as simple as drying off. If you’ve ever seen a dog shake vigorously after a swim, this behavior won’t seem odd. A wet dog will shake, yes, but they may also do things like roll around on the carpet, your bed, or the couch, to get dry.
Simple as that.
You can prevent some of the mess, if not the rolling, by investing in an absorbent dog-friendly towel to soak up most of the moisture before the zoomies begin.
Frenetic Random Activity Periods, otherwise known as the zoomies, happen to pretty much every dog, especially young ones. Everything is just SO FUN, suddenly, and they cannot possibly contain their excitement. Baths may very well bring out the zoomies.
After all, they’ve been contained for a while: it’s time to let loose. The zoomies are an expression of happiness rather than relief, though the running and the rolling may look similar in both cases.
There’s nothing wrong with a case of the zoomies after a bath. If it’s causing problems—wet furniture, messy floors—it may help to keep your dog confined to a safe zone (behind a pet gate, for instance) until they calm down. If not, just sit back and laugh. Dogs are loveable goofballs, aren’t they?