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  • Writer's pictureAdonis Maglis

Can I sedate my anxious dog before a grooming appointment?

Updated: May 10, 2023

Some dog owners with nervous or reactive dogs who dislike grooming often ask groomers how do we feel about calming herbal remedies and/or over the counter or prescribed anti-anxiety medications. There are no easy answers on this. It’s a case-by-case situation and best to be discussed with your vet as well as other pet health professionals.

While in some cases it can be helpful medicating a pet prior to a grooming appointment to ease the stress and anxiety and make it safer for both the dog and the groomer, it can also be counterproductive due to side effects such as lethargy, irregular heart rate, bowel and urinary changes, vomiting, reduced muscle control, weakness and lower blood pressure etc.

Even some herbal remedies may interact with medications and/or have side effects that may affect the grooming process. It may be better to have an initial grooming appointment without medication so the groomer can assess the situation and observe how the pet reacts during the various aspects of the grooming process and then work a plan for future visits.

It is the responsibility of pet owners to inform the groomer upon booking if a dog bites, has bitten, or is aggressive towards people, other pets or reacts in certain grooming procedures (eg. when drying with velocity dryer). Groomers will try 'humanity over vanity' and put the wellbeing of your dog and their safety first which means we may have to use a cone or a muzzle if necessary. Muzzling does not harm your dog. It helps your pet become calmer and submissive and also protects both your pet and the groomer. If we see that your dog is getting stressed, anxious and/or aggressive we may stop the grooming process. At those times we may need to discuss calming remedies or medications or not be able to groom your dog again.

Our first and foremost priority is always the welfare of the dog. Please understand that although all necessary caution is taken in every situation, there is always a risk of accidents when you work with live animals and particularly if the dog is not staying still, tries to bite etc. Additionally, the grooming process can expose hidden medical concerns or undiagnosed conditions and/or inadvertently aggravate existing problems.

If your pet shows symptoms or signs of stress, reactivity etc we may reschedule their appointment at a time more suitable eg first thing in the day etc . We are unable to accept dogs that may be pregnant and/or in-heat/menstruating. We recommend our clients have pet insurance and ask you to have signed and agreed to our policies and procedures prior to grooming.

Ultimately, groomers want what’s best for the pet. We also want to have dogs to groom and to survive financially! However, not every pet is a good fit for every groomer. Honesty and communication is the best policy. 🐩✂️💕✨🙏

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