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6 Ways to Calm Your Dog’s Grooming Anxiety

6 Ways to Calm Your Dog’s Grooming Anxiety

Is your furry friend afraid of the groomer? 

Do they turn into a bundle of nerves at the mention of a trip to the pet salon?

The loud, unfamiliar noises of clippers and blow dryers, the handling of sensitive areas, the dreaded shower — these things can totally freak your dog out! No wonder the groomer can be an overwhelming place for pups to visit, especially if they’re naturally anxious.

Here are some ways to help alleviate the grooming anxiety that arises when your dog is due for a trim and bath.

1. Gradually desensitize your dog to grooming

Introduce your dog to grooming-related experiences at home in small baby steps. Gently touch their sensitive areas like paws, ears, and tail. Familiarize them with grooming tools such as nail cutters. And offer them treats, toys, and praise for being cool with the entire process. Over time, with consistent desensitization and positive associations, your dog may begin to view grooming as an enjoyable activity, reducing their grooming anxiety. 

2. Find an experienced groomer for anxious dogs

Pros understand the unique needs and behaviors of dogs who are afraid of the groomer. They've got the skills to deal with a jittery pooch. Plus, they can easily spot signs of stress or discomfort in your dog and adjust their approach accordingly. 

When you choose a pro, you can guarantee a less nerve-wracking grooming session for your furry buddy. 

Additional things to keep in mind when looking for a groomer with the right expertise:

  • Do they use specialized grooming equipment that’s tailor-made for nervous pups?
  • Do they use soothing aromatherapy to help calm your dog during the grooming ordeal? 

3. Get your dog used to the grooming salon

Before the actual grooming appointment, go on trial visits to expose your dog to the smells, sights, and sounds of the salon. During these visits, let your dog sniff around, meet the groomer, and check out the grooming equipment. These visits can help your dog become familiar with the place, the groomer, and the tools without any actual grooming being done. Additionally, observe how the groomer interacts with your dog to ensure they’re patient and understanding. Don’t forget to use rewards to make your dog realize the grooming salon is a pawsome spot where good things happen.

4. Exercise for a zen grooming session

A little pre-grooming workout can turn a trip to the groomer into a total breeze. So get your dog moving and grooving beforehand to keep those grooming anxiety levels down. Take your dog for a brisk walk or engage in some playtime to burn off excess energy. Try using interactive toys or playing fetch to tire them out. A tired dog is often a calmer dog who’s not afraid of the groomer, making the grooming session much more manageable. 

5. Keep your pup entertained (and distracted) with DOGTV

Next time you're at the groomer, don't be shy to ask if there's a TV in the grooming area or waiting room. Then suggest tuning in to DOGTV — the ultimate distraction for dogs with grooming anxiety! 

Put on some doggy-friendly shows, and watch your furry friend get glued to the screen, forgetting all about being afraid of the groomer. You can also explore various entertainment options for your dog during grooming. Some dogs might prefer calming music or white noise to help them relax. Experiment with different auditory stimuli to find what works best for your dog.

6. Consult your vet about grooming anxiety

When your dog’s anxiety is off the charts, it's time to reach out to an expert for some solid advice. Your veterinarian might recommend behavior modification with the help of an animal behavior specialist. In more challenging cases, your vet might prescribe sedation or anti-anxiety medications to help calm your dog during grooming appointments. Discuss these options with your vet to determine the most suitable for your dog.

The groomer doesn’t have to be a scary place, but you have to find the right way to make your dog comfortable and reduce grooming anxiety. So put these “calm my dog” ideas into practice. Your dog will be wagging its tail all the way to the groomer AND come out looking and feeling good.