Why Is My Dog Scared Of The Dishwasher? 6 Reasons And Solutions

Being a dog owner is an experience filled with happiness and companionship. Our canine family members, Bella and Duke, have brought tons of smiles and laughter to our lives.

With Bella’s serenity and Duke’s high energy, there’s never a dull moment. From mountain trips to games of chase to the dogs laying on our feet in the evening – each moment is a testament to the unique bond we share.

These pets are not just animals; they’re stress-busters, confidantes, and sources of unconditional love that make our lives brighter.

But with all the fun comes responsibility. Part of owning a pet is understanding their fears and helping them navigate through those scary moments.

I remember when Duke experienced his first thunderstorm with us; he was terrified. His eyes were wide with fear and he tried to hide behind the couch.

It was heartbreaking to see him so scared, but it was our duty as his owners to reassure him, to provide the safety and security he needed in that moment.

Thunderstorms are one thing, after all, dogs are notorious for being afraid of them.

But what do you do when your dog is scared of something out of the ordinary?

Why is my dog scared of the dishwasher? The quick and easy answer is your dog is afraid of the dishwasher because it is new and unknown, the smell, your dog had a negative experience(s) near the dishwasher, your dog is old and having a hard time adapting, the dishwasher is noisy, your dog has health issues (unlikely).

The Unknown

Your dog might simply be nervous because the dishwasher is so foreign to him. The appliance rumbles, beeps, and may even cause light vibrations in the floor, all of which could be confusing and unsettling for your canine pal.

He probably doesn’t understand what the dishwasher is or why it’s making all these noises, causing him to feel anxious or scared.


The fragrances in your dish soap could be off-putting to your dog. Just as some humans can be sensitive to strong smells, so too can dogs, especially considering their much stronger sense of smell.

The scent of your dishwasher detergent may be unpleasant to him, which could cause him to avoid the area when the dishwasher is in use.

Negative Experience

Your dog could have had a negative experience near the dishwasher in the past. For example, he might have been locked in the kitchen when the dishwasher was running, causing him to associate the appliance with isolation or confinement.

Another possibility is that he was punished for getting into the dishwasher, like licking the dishes or attempting to climb in it.

When we first adopted our dog, Duke, he couldn’t resist walking by the open dishwasher and giving the dishes a few quick licks. We had to train him not to do that. We didn’t use punishment as part of the process, so he never developed a fear of the dishwasher.

However, if your dog’s previous owner punished him for similar behavior, this could be the cause of his fear.

Old Dogs Can’t Always Adapt

As our furry companions age, it can become more difficult for them to adapt to new or unfamiliar situations.

If you’ve recently purchased a new dishwasher, your dog might feel uneasy about this new addition to your household.

Just like humans, dogs can be set in their ways and may need extra time and support to adjust to changes.

Help ease your good boy’s transition by offering reassurance and comfort.

It’s Noisy!

Many dogs are sensitive to sudden or loud noises, and your dishwasher might produce a ruckus that’s unsettling for your pup. Keep in mind that dogs can hear sounds beyond our human capabilities.

From your pup’s perspective, your dishwasher could be emitting high-pitched or other discomforting sounds that you’re not even aware of.

Health Issues

Another possibility to consider is that your dog could be experiencing cognitive dysfunction or other health-related concerns that contribute to his fear of the dishwasher.

If you’ve ruled out the alternatives, and your dog is displaying other unusual behaviors besides his dishwasher-related anxiety, it may be a good idea to seek personalized advice from your veterinarian.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Afraid Of The Dishwasher?

If you haven’t gotten a new dishwasher or recently moved, then it’s likely that something from the list of reasons I just covered occurred.

A big possibility is that your dog is having new, negative experiences near the dishwasher that you’re not aware of.

Let’s take a closer look at common reasons why your dog is suddenly scared of the dishwasher:

  • New or different noises: Your dishwasher may be making a new noise that you can’t hear, but your dog can. Remember when we talked about dogs having more sensitive hearing range than humans, and how they can easily pick up on noises that we don’t notice? It might be a good idea to have the dishwasher checked for any issues or loose parts that could be causing this new sound.
  • Slipping on the floor: Did you recently get new flooring? Or are your kids doing the dishes now and leaving water everywhere? If the floor near the dishwasher is slippery, your dog could be frightened of losing his footing. To help combat this issue, you can use non-slip mats or rugs in the area to provide extra traction for your furry friend.

If you’ve gone through these possibilities and are still puzzled as to why your dog is suddenly afraid of the dishwasher, consider consulting with a professional dog trainer or a veterinarian.

They can offer valuable guidance on identifying and addressing any underlying issues that might be causing your dog’s newfound fear.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Scared Of The Dishwasher?

If you suspect that your dog may be frightened of the dishwasher, there are several obvious signs of fearfulness to look out for.

Keep in mind that each dog may react differently, so not every dog will show their fear the same way.

Here are some common indicators that your dog may be scared when the dishwasher is running:

Hiding or Running Away

When dogs feel scared, they often try to find a safe space to take refuge. If your dog suddenly disappears or runs to another room when the dishwasher is turned on, it’s a clear sign that he’s uncomfortable and feeling fearful.

Whining, Pacing, and Panting

Dogs may also exhibit signs of noise anxiety if they’re scared of the dishwasher. Your dog might start whining, pacing back and forth, or panting heavily when the appliance is running. These behaviors indicate that your dog is not at ease and that the noise may be distressing him.

These are just some of the more apparent signs that your dog might be frightened of the dishwasher.

Always pay close attention to your dog’s individual behaviors and reactions to determine whether he’s genuinely fearful or just momentarily startled.

How Can I Help My Dog Overcome His Fear Of The Dishwasher?

Dealing with a dog’s fear might seem challenging, but with patience and understanding, you can help your canine pal overcome his dread of the dishwasher.

Creating Positive Experiences

If your dog has had negative experiences around the dishwasher then the key to helping him overcome his fear is to create positive experiences around it.

Follow these steps to gradually familiarize your furry friend with the appliance:

  1. Start with the dishwasher turned off. Stand near the dishwasher with your dog and give him a treat or some affection. This will help him associate the area with positive feelings.
  2. Repeat this process regularly. By frequently rewarding your dog when he’s near the dishwasher (when it’s off), he’ll become more comfortable around it over time.
  3. Introduce new elements. Once your dog seems okay being near the dishwasher when it’s off, try opening the door, putting soap in the tray, or doing anything else that seems to be bothering your dog. 
  4. Reward him for staying calm during these new experiences.
  5. Move on to the running dishwasher. After your dog has become comfortable with the dishwasher in various stages of use, start providing rewards and positive experiences when it’s running. This will help him understand that the dishwasher isn’t a threat, even when it’s making noise.

Remember, this process can take time, so be patient with your dog. Consistent positive reinforcement will work wonders to help him overcome his fear of the dishwasher, making life more comfortable for both you and your four-legged friend.

Run The Dishwasher When Your Dog Isn’t Around

It might be challenging but try to operate the dishwasher when your dog is playing outside or on a walk with someone.

While this doesn’t address the core issue, it can offer both of you a temporary reprieve.

Adjust The Dishwasher’s Sounds

If possible, alter the beeping sounds and other noises your dishwasher makes. If these noises are severely distressing your dog, you might even consider disconnecting the sound module altogether.

Seek Professional Help

Sometimes, unique situations may require personalized advice.

Even the best dog owners might need help now and then, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional dog behaviorist or trainer for assistance.

They can offer valuable insights and guidance tailored to your dog’s specific needs and circumstances.

By working on these strategies, you can help your dog gradually overcome his fear of the dishwasher and regain his confidence in your home.

Remember, patience and consistency are vital to helping your furry friend adapt to new experiences.

Final Thoughts: My Dog Is Afraid Of The Dishwasher!

While a dog’s fear of the dishwasher may seem perplexing, there are several reasons your canine companion might be feeling scared.

The causes can range from the dishwasher being something new and unfamiliar to having an unpleasant past experience nearby. Older dogs might have a tougher time adapting, and the noise or even certain smells could trigger their anxiety.

The sudden onset of fear may be due to new negative experiences or changes related to the dishwasher.

To help your good boy overcome his fear, focus on creating positive experiences around the dishwasher and try adjusting the sounds it makes. If necessary, involve a professional to address any deep-seated issues.

Remember to observe your dog’s behavior. Hiding, running away, whining, pacing, and panting are signs of discomfort.

By understanding the root of his fear and taking proactive steps, you can ensure your good boy feels safe and comfortable in your home.

So, if your dog is afraid of your dishwasher, take action today! Identify the reason behind your dog’s fear and work together to overcome it.

There’s nothing better than seeing your loyal dog at ease, knowing that you have successfully helped him conquer his fears and overcome his apprehensions.

With the right approach and patience, your dog can learn to live harmoniously with even the most daunting of household appliances.

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