Picture this: Luna is a Yorkie who absolutely despises getting groomed, but because of all that long, silky fur, she has no choice. When she was younger, she didn’t mind the glam treatment and thought of her trips to the groomer as a spa day. However, as she grew, she experienced groomers who were a little too rough with her, clipped her nails too short, or pulled her silky fur. Needless to say, she was completely over the grooming process. In her older years, she had had enough of being groomed and wasn’t afraid to let everyone, from her parents to her groomers, know it! Although she didn’t bite anyone, she would growl and show her teeth anytime someone would get close to her with clippers or a brush, and found that when she did this, the grooming session ended immediately. A big win in Luna’s opinion! 

However, as pet parents, we have to disagree on our pups’ opinions on hygiene. Grooming doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom! Before you sedate your dog or strap him into some kind of trapeze device for easy grooming, check out our tips on how to keep your pet calm during grooming. They may actually help him enjoy the process!

Start young

Obviously, this tip doesn’t apply to all pet owners, but if you are bringing a young pet into your home, its best to start grooming techniques early. Brush your pet daily, even if it’s broken up into small chunks of time. This will depend on your pet’s coat, but aim to brush in increments of 5-10 minutes until your fur baby’s coat is completely brushed. 

As far as bathing, you may not have to bathe them frequently depending on your pet’s coat and skin conditions. On the other hand, some breeds need to be washed once a week, or depending on your pet’s daily activities, some may need to be washed more than that. If you have a small dog or a puppy, you can start out by washing them in your kitchen sink or tub.

Touch your pet’s feet as often as possible. By playing with your pet’s paws and holding them will help to get them comfortable when it comes to clipping nails. 

Reward with treats

The goal here is to not let your dog have the upper hand when it comes to the grooming process. So by providing treats and creating a positive reinforcement method, you will help your dog to tolerate grooming. Let your dog get comfortable around grooming tools and when they sniff or touch the tools, give them a treat. Feed your pet treats while grooming, getting a bath, or clipping nails. If you go to a groomer, bring treats to the pet salon and have them put treats on the grooming table. 

Be patient

Remember, this process can be very unnerving to your pet, so it’s best not to get angry or frustrated with him. Until your dog gets comfortable with the process, be patient and calm. Just like when they were a puppy, keep the grooming sessions short. When they are more tolerant of these sessions, you can extend the time you spend grooming little by little.  

Enlist help

Having your spouse, partner, or friend help with grooming your pup is a great idea. Have your assistant hold your dog while you work on bathing and grooming. Remember to keep your faces away from your dog’s face to ensure safety. Remind your helper to be firm, but gentle. If your dog starts to restrain or appears stressed, take a break so your pup can calm down and try again.

Use a grooming table or restraints

Not every pet parent will have a grooming table at their house. However, if you take your pup to a groomer, odds are they will be using one. Make sure your groomer is using  a slip-resistant table and, if necessary, a hip or neck restraint. If you are reluctant about leaving your pet or having a groomer use these tools, you can always ask if you can be present to help keep your pup calm during the process. 

If your pup is still displaying aggressive behavior during grooming sessions, another option you can try using a muzzle. Based on your dog’s behavior some groomers may request you provide one. Make sure that the muzzle fits correctly and isn’t hurting your pup. 

Sedate

If you have tried multiple tricks and techniques on how to get your dog more comfortable with grooming, you may need to enlist the help of your veterinarian. Talk to your vet about your concerns and your dog’s behavior when it comes to grooming. Based on your discussion, your vet will determine if medication is necessary and will provide you with medication. This medication should only be provided by your veterinarian and used under their instruction. If your groomer claims they can provide medication for your pet, find a new groomer immediately!