How to Calm Your Dog's Grooming Anxiety PLUS At-Home Dog Grooming Tips
Have you tried to get your dog groomed, but they were so nervous that the appointment didn’t work out? It can be heartbreaking to think that, while your pet is being taken good care of by pet care specialists, they are suffering from grooming anxiety. Help calm your dog with these helpful tips.
How Pet Parents Can Calm a Dog Before a Grooming Appointment
Pet anxiety can quickly turn a routine grooming session into a scary experience if you don’t manage your dog’s stress before they arrive at their appointment. Fortunately, there are some things you can do. It might be easier for the both of you if you start by trying a few things at home to help get them familiar with grooming tasks before a full treatment at a professional groomer.
Exercise Your Dog Before the Appointment to Release Some of Their Energy
When it comes time for dog grooming, you may find that they are much calmer after an exercise session before their appointment. Exercising your dog can help them be more relaxed when in new or stressful situations. A tired dog is a happy dog, so take some time to play with your pet each day.
If you have a particularly energetic breed of dog, you may need to put in some extra effort to help release some energy. Consider taking your dog on a long hike, or making them a jogging companion before your pet's next grooming session.
Take the Stress Out of the Car Ride
If your dog doesn’t like car rides, keep them away from stressful sights and sounds on their way to your groomer by planning ahead. Keep them calm by playing calming music or giving them a chew toy, which keeps their mind off other passing dogs or cars. Also, make sure your pet is secured in their car seat with harnesses designed for dogs, not human seat belts.
Find an Understanding Groomer
Dog groomers provide a vital service for pet parents, but it can be challenging for some dogs to get used to a new environment and an unfamiliar person handling them.
Pet parents should try to find a dog groomer who will accommodate an anxious pet. Some groomers are more experienced with anxious or aggressive dogs than others. Your vet may also be able to prescribe medication that helps your pup stay calm during their grooming session.
Dog groomers like those at Central Pet understand these issues and offer many services that make grooming easier for you and your pup. If your pet experiences grooming anxiety, the dog trainers at Central Pet are always open to discussing specific needs with pet parents. Reach out to one of our trainers today to start a consultation!
Related Read: 7 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Pet Groomer
Get Your Dog Used to Being Handled
Many dogs experience high anxiety levels when taken to a dog groomer because they aren’t used to being handled by other people. The best way for owners to help their dogs relax during grooming is to handle them regularly. This will build trust between dog and owner to be more relaxed when it comes time for a trip to the groomer.
If you don’t have much experience handling dogs, start with simple things like brushing their coat while lying down. As your dog becomes more comfortable with these interactions, gradually increase your handling until you can touch all parts of their body. It may take some time, but in just a few weeks you should be able to handle your dog anywhere without causing them stress. When your dog is comfortable being handled, it’s an excellent time to visit the pet groomer.
Try Some Anti-Anxiety Treats
There are treats with natural ingredients that help them calm down. You may need to give the treats at least an hour before going to be sure they’ve taken effect. Read about how CBD might be able to help reduce your pet’s anxiety.
Try to Play it Cool
Try not to make it a big deal when you’re actually heading out to the grooming appointment. Some dogs get anxious when they realize they’re going somewhere new, which makes sense! They may struggle if they think you are taking them away from something important, like being able to play with their favorite toy or pet parent.
Tips For Grooming Your Dog At Home
If you’re concerned about the response your dog will have on the first trip to the groomer, there are some specific tricks you can use to help familiarize your dog with grooming techniques at home.
What To Do
Tips to help get your dog comfortable with the groomer:
- Brush your dog regularly. Use a brush that’s appropriate for their coat, and don’t pull or yank through tangles.
- Set up a safe environment for grooming. Home grooming should be done in an area that is well lit, and where your dog can stand on a non-slip surface.
- When it comes time for nail clipping, offer them something that distracts them. Some groomers suggest putting some peanut butter on a silicon wall mat near where you’re working so they can put their attention there.
- Try not to take them straight from enjoyable times or activities to grooming. This will help them associate grooming time with positive things like treats and toys rather than negative things like being taken away from what they love most.
The more positive interactions your dog has with grooming time, the better!
While grooming, make sure not to get your dog too excited. It would be best if you didn’t pet them or give them treats until they are calm.
What Not To Do
There are a few factors to avoid for pet parents who cannot get their dog groomed at a professional grooming salon or haven’t tried it yet because they’re concerned about how it will go.
Here is a list of what not to do while grooming your dog:
- Don’t bring along toys while grooming. This may cause your dog to become overstimulated or overwhelmed.
- Don’t rush the process of grooming. Ensure that you have enough time to go slowly and comfort your dog throughout the grooming process.
- Don’t restrain your dog by pulling on their fur.
- Don’t tether or tie up your dog at home when grooming. Tethers used by dog owners have led to unintentional accidents. They should only be used by professionals with training and the right environment.
- Don’t use the wrong tools for your job. If you don’t have the proper brushes or clippers, hold off on that part of grooming rather than risk injury to your pet.
Don’t think you have to eliminate grooming. Grooming at home can be a difficult process, but it is vital to your pet’s health.
If you’re struggling with getting your dog (or cat) properly groomed, contact us for a grooming appointment in the Tucson area. Even dogs with anxiety can often have a good appointment with an experienced groomer. In addition to offering a calming environment, Central Pet in Tucson, AZ offers standard pet grooming services and add-ons you won’t see elsewhere, like mud treatments, specialty shampoos, and paw waxing.