Why Are Dogs So Happy After a Bath?

Why Are Dogs So Happy After a Bath?

Every time I give my Labrador a bath, she's got the energy of a puppy after bath time. She gets the zooms and seems extra playful. Why is my dog so happy after a bath?
~Sarah in Nashville, Tennessee

Ahhhh…Indulgence!

The marketing slogan "Calgon, take me away" was a smashing success in the 1980s, and it's easy to see why. There's just something magical about a good soak in the tub. Think about it: After a long week at the office or a grueling hike, isn't a long, hot soak in a bubble bath a decadent thought to you?

Après Bath Happiness, or Just a Dog Trying to Get Dry?

Anybody who has given a dog or bath, walked a dog in the rain, or let a dog splash in the lake knows a dog's first action after getting wet is often to shake all that water off. It's an instinctive action to help your pup dry herself off and avoid the chills. It might be easy to assume all that commotion after a bath is about happiness, but biologically speaking it might simply be an effort to stay warm. Of course, a good dog towel goes a long way.

Is Post-Bath Happiness Actually a Case of the Itchy-Scratchies?

A word of caution is worth keeping in mind: It's easy to mistake a dog's energy as playfulness or glee, when it might be irritation instead. What you perceive as happiness might be your pup's squirmy response to itchy, irritated or sensitive skin caused by shampoo or tingling from the massage. The zooms can be your dog's way of trying "shake it off."