How to Keep a Dog Safe and Calm During Grooming and Cleaning
Prevent your anxious dog from having a traumatic experience when he’s getting cleaned and groomed by following the below suggestions.

Regular grooming and over cleanliness are important to a dog's general health even if he doesn't need a daily routine. But most grooming related procedures often result in a dog having a negative experience, especially if the pup isn't used to being fussed over and hasn't been train to enjoy grooming from an early age.

Many dog owners groom their pup themselves not only to save money but also because it's more comfortable and less anxiety-inducing for the animal. Since the dog trusts the owner, then he'll likely submit to the process. However, some dogs are more challenging to handle than others and as this takes time and effort, you might be better off sending the pup to the professionals so that everything is done right. If you do, follow these tips.

ALSO READ: 8 Ways to Make Your Dog Enjoy Grooming at a Pet Groomer’s

Before Going to the Groomer's

You have to prepare well before you take your dog to the groomers, especially if this is the first time for the pet. It's highly recommended that instead of dropping by you book an appointment and clearly communicate the type of services your dog will need, according to veterinarian Dr. Evan Antin. This way, the professional pet groomer will also be prepared to handle your dog, especially when the pup becomes anxious in an unfamiliar environment with a stranger.

Don't forget to ask about the groomer's experience and the equipment that will be used to clean the dog. If going to a private grooming business, check reviews about the groomer's shop online or ask for recommendations from your friends. Accidents at pet groomer's studios do happen, so you'll need to pick a groomer that you and your dog trust and will be comfortable with since this will not be a one-time thing.

When at the Groomer's

When at the GroomersIf you can, stay with your pooch during the prep process. Observe the groomer at work so that you'll get an idea of how your dog will be handled. Grooming salons usually have a glass window so people can watch as they work. It's also a safety precaution against (accidental and unintentional) animal abuse.

Then, when it's your dog's turn at the grooming table to go through the procedure, it's best for you NOT to be in the same room. If your dog sees you when he's being given a bath or getting a cut, he might become fussy and cause an accident. He could even try to jump on the table and hurt himself just to get to you. Don't get your pup distracted.

If you know you have an extremely anxious dog and believe he might be jumping or be too nervous about the equipment (dog clippers and hair dryers are loud), consider using these items on him at home first so that he will be familiar with the process and sound.

Grooming Your Dog at Home

How you handle your dog when you're bathing and grooming him will teach the dog to trust the whole process by other groomers. If you train the pup to associate bathing with a positive and rewarding experience then he won't have any reason to be scared of it.

Bathing your dog is actually a great time for bonding because you can give him belly rubs and back massages that he will enjoy. It's important not to rush the pet grooming process to prevent agitating the dog or causing an accident.

FULL GUIDE: How to Groom a Dog – All-in-One Guide for Beginners

Dogs will dry off the water naturally by shaking their body excessively. You can help them by using towels or pet hair dryers. Some dogs even look forward to getting a towel rub because the texture and massage feel nice on their body.

Pet hair dryers make most dogs agitated due to loud sound. However, if you want to prepare your dog for the groomer's studio, then you'll need to get your pooch used to it. Be sure to apply safety precautions when using a pet hair dryer or any other equipment for that matter.

Using Dog Grooming Equipment

Always have dog treats handy next to the equipment. Each time you use dog hair clippers, a pet hair dryer or a nail clipper, give the dog a treat to reward him for behaving well. Repeat the process so that he learns to associate the treat as the reward for staying patient and not panicking.

  • Always set the dryer on low temperature and aim from a good distance so that the warm air and the noise won’t bother your dog.
  • Use proper shaving equipment meant for pets. A No. 10 blade is ideal for shaving faces, groin area, and the underarms.
  • Don't use scissors to cut a dog with matted hair; use clippers instead.
  • Use the tip of the scissors to trim the dog's hair on the feet, face, tail, and ears.
  • Always hold the edge of the ear with one hand when cutting hair on this area.
  • Use a good clipper to cut your dog's nails, as dull clippers will cause nail splitting and chipping.
  • Have a styptic powder handy in case the nail bleeds. It will only take a matter of seconds to stop the bleeding.

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Amy is a writer who lives with her husband and daughter on the United States Gulf Coast. She has a BA in Behavioral Sciences, and volunteered for shelters through various activities, as well as fostering animals. Amy currently has 3 dogs and 5 cats.