How To Sedate A Dog For Grooming: A Concise Guide

How to sedate a dog for grooming- probably not with a lollipop!
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As a fellow dog owner, I know first-hand that nothing can set off a dog quite like a bath, hair cut, and nail trim.

If I wanted a surefire way to skyrocket my pup’s blood pressure into the stratosphere, I don’t need much more than to say, “Max- it’s time to go to the groomers!”

As soon as he hears that notorious “G” word, he’s off to the races to one of his numerous hiding spots around the house. Delayed appointments ensue.

Since you’re reading this article now, I’m guessing that you have a similar problem with your pooch. So here it is: How To Sedate A Dog For Grooming: A Concise Guide.

Below, you’ll find all you need to make an informed decision of what medications or methods to use on your dog before grooming- or whether to use them at all.

While calming medications can range from Benadryl to general anesthesia, you may find that for some dogs more natural approaches such as CBD or calming collars may be a better approach.

Some may just be more comfortable around people that they know and trust, so if you find that to be the case it may be time to get out the scissors and have a few practice grooming rounds!

(Side note: I am a member of the Amazon Associates program. From time to time I like to recommend products in my posts that I feel may truly be helpful to readers and their pets. If you do end up buying something by clicking the links on my site, I may receive a tiny amount of commission from the big guys. 

And if you do end up buying something- Thank you! I really appreciate your support and I’ll always do my best to put out more quality content for you 🙂 ) 

Should You Sedate Your Dog For Grooming?

Max with bowtie on his head
Max not overly pleased with his post-groom accessory.

If your dog is anxious or aggressive when it’s time to take your monthly trip to the groomer, you might want to have a conversation with your veterinarian about sedating your dog for its next grooming session.

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When a dog is overly anxious about getting their nails clipped or fur shaved, they can pose a safety risk to both themselves or others. Some pets experience anxiety during their grooming visits, and may be unable to stay still except for short periods.

Excessive motion can make them more challenging to groom and can result in your dog accidentally injuring itself. Your dog may also try to “escape” because of the anxiety they experience at the groomer.

Another reason you might think you need to sedate your dog during grooming may be that they have acted out aggressively in the past due to fear. This behavior can result in your dog’s groomer getting hurt, especially if your dog reacts to fear by biting.

If you are experiencing any of these issues with your pet when you visit your groomer, it could be time to make a plan with your vet. By doing so, you can ensure that you are keeping your animal and the people around them safe.

Please remember that sedating your dog is a decision that should only be made with the advice of a professional as you need to make sure you have assessed any potential risks before sedating your animal.

Here’s how to sedate a dog for grooming:

Start Small

If you are starting to think that your dog may need some help calming down at the groomer, don’t jump straight to the heaviest sedation for your dog.

The rule is to always slowly and gradually increase any dog sedative administration in order to avoid any unwanted side effects.

If the behavior isn’t extremely severe, there are less intense medications, or even behavior modification methods, that can help calm your dog down during these visits.

Talk to your vet about treats and medicines that are designed to calm your dog down. You might find something that works and be able to avoid having to use the heavy stuff on your furbaby.

Picking the Right Medication for Your Dog

Picking the right way to prepare your dog for grooming begins with a conversation at the vet’s office.

Face it, you love your pup, but your vet knows best!

Deciding what medication will work best for your unique pet and situation is based on several factors:

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● Age

● Weight/ Size

● Health Concerns

● Pre-Existing Conditions

● The Severity of the Situation

● Success/ Failure with other methods in the past

What Can I Use To Sedate My Dog For Grooming?

Pink pills in heart shape

Your vet should always start small in dosage. They will have an idea of what a healthy starting dose will be for your dog based on the factors above.

If you and your vet decide to medicate your dog, there are milder treatment options that can be prescribed. These medications are typically used to cause your dog to become a little bit more relaxed or experience a sleepy feeling.

Some of these medications include:

  • Melatonin
  • Benadryl
  • Dog appeasing pheromones

Medications like these, such as the right dosage of Benadryl, can make a substantial impact on your dog’s anxiety level at the groomer without completely knocking them out.

When less heavy medications have been tried and aren’t doing the trick for your pup, your vet may refer to stronger medication such as:

  • Acepromazine
  • General Anesthesia

Remember, it’s a good idea to explore all of your other options before you resort to heavy medication or sedation.

Under certain circumstances, sedation can be used. Make sure if you make that choice, you have utilized your other options first. You and your vet should both determine that this option is safe for your pet.

Alternatives to Medicine: What Is A Natural Sedative For A Dog?

Artulano Anxiety Hemp Calming Chews
Click on the image above to buy this product from Amazon!

Recently, the use of hemp and CBD products has become increasingly popular among humans as well as with pets. A prescription is not necessary to obtain hemp products for your animal.

Still, you should always consult with your vet before introducing a new product into your pet’s diet, especially if the product is designed to change or modify your pet’s behavior.

Again, when using a new product you should always start with a low dose, and increase the amount as necessary with the guidance of your veterinarian.

In addition to hemp products, several other options can provide calming relief for your dog. Some of these include:

Calming Collars

OTC Calming Relief Supplements

OTC Anxiety Relief Supplements

There are tons of different companies that offer various kinds of calming aids for dogs. Do your research and have a conversation with your vet to determine which ones would be the best option for your pet.

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How To Calm A Dog For Grooming: Other Options

Woman lying on brown leather couch comforting dog

In addition to starting small with the types of medications or supplements you give your dog, you also might want to consider alternative options to modify the situation.

If your dog acted out once during a grooming session, it could simply be a one-time thing. There are a few factors to think about when trying to understand why your pet may have had a bad experience at the groomer.

Make sure to rule out any medical issue, injury, or illness your pet may be suffering. Dogs tend to be more likely to act out when something is wrong. (They can’t tell us what’s the matter any other way!)

If the behavior your dog displayed at their last grooming is out of character, you should have them checked out at your vet as soon as possible. Getting to the root of the issue right away will help prevent any future incidents and will help your dog get back to feeling like themselves!

You can always try grooming your dog at home. When your pet is in their own environment and with someone they trust, they may not feel as uncomfortable as they would in a strange environment with an unfamiliar person.

Plus, grooming your dog at home will save you money! If you need a little extra help, recruit a friend to come over and help you.

When it comes to how to sedate a dog for grooming, you should always consider what would make their experience the most pleasant, and how you can keep them safe.

Every dog is different, and there’s no right or wrong option for everyone. Be informed and whatever decision you make, do it with your dog’s happiness at the forefront.

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