If you’re a dog parent, you know how essential grooming sessions are to your Dog’s overall health and welfare. A professional groomer taking care of your pup at least once a month helps avoid tangled fur and matte and ensures optimum health.
But as seasoned pet owners would tell you- “Owning a dog is a bit like taking care of a baby.” Showers and trims get both children and pups agitated, sometimes even cranky. And thus, it is customary to see your Dog acting weird after grooming.
But before we move on, it must be clear that grooming sessions are essential and don’t hurt your favorite furry friend in any way or form. Unfortunately, misinformation floating around about dogs getting damaged during grooming is likely NOT THE CASE but more likely regular canine behavior.
This article will try to understand why dogs act strangely after the grooming session. And to that, we’ll provide veterinary advice along with answering a few questions:
Do dogs feel better after grooming sessions? Should I be concerned about my Dog acting weird after grooming? Is a dog coughing after a grooming session a healthcare indication? What can pet owners do to overcome dogs acting strangely after grooming sessions?
So let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
Why Do Some Dogs Act Strange After A Grooming Session?
Now, there may be many reasons why your pup feels a bit uncomfortable about the entire situation. However, very few of those are reasons for concern or genuine worry. So, we’ll address each fear at a time.
Why Is My Dog Shaking Their Head After Grooming?
If you see your Dog shaking your head after their grooming session, it may be for many reasons. The most likely answer lies in how the process of grooming takes place. Groomers will often clean your pup’s ear and pluck hair from the ear opening.
As a result, your Dog’s instinct would be heading shake to allow airflow into their ears to keep their ears dry.
So the next time your Dog shakes their head after a trip to the groomer, make sure to check if its ears or head is wet.
Why Is My Dog Walking Sideways (Crabbing)?
No matter how strange it seems, a dog walking sideways is a pretty normal phenomenon. This incident is so common that groomers have even come up with a name for it- crabbing.
Before analyzing why and how crabbing occurs, it is essential to remember that some breeds walk sideways naturally. For example, longer-legged, shorter-bodied species walk sideways to avoid hind leg interference.
You should only be concerned if your pup randomly starts to walk to a side after a long grooming session.
The most common reason for irregular walking patterns after grooming is that their nails were trimmed too short. You can easily verify this by taking their paw and looking from below. Usually, excess trimming is accompanied by redness or bleeding.
Grooming dogs can be exhausting, given the number of breeds and unique requirements. Groomers usually go through years of training and experience to learn about every species. In addition, every Dog has a different body type, and dogs react to grooming in different ways.
A small cut below their nails can be enough trigger for them to walk abnormally. However, there is no reason to panic- as any trimming injuries heal themselves quickly enough.
If your Dog seems to be in genuine pain and there is no way for anyone to provide veterinary advice- apply styptic powder to the wound. Styptic powders are suitable reagents that allow blood to clot after an injury.
But it must be kept in mind that such powders may make dogs feel a burning sensation in their wounds. A bit of rest and a few days with the pressure off the foot should fix the problem pretty quick.
Why Is My Dog Acting Lethargic After Grooming
When I brought home my first Dog, the first thing my more experienced friends warned me about was to expect everything I would from a baby. Over the years, I’ve truly realized what that meant.
Like most babies, some dogs don’t enjoy grooming activities like nail clipping, shampooing, water splashing, or heat from the blow dryer. Additionally, groomers are like strangers to dogs- and getting touched by a stranger can be a stressful experience.
Hence, dogs may act strangely during and after grooming sessions. For example, they might bark or act agitated due to stress. Remember, dogs are sentient creatures and thus are capable of going through emotions. A few common reactions to stress are whale eyes, drooling, panting, yawning, etc.
And thus, all that stress comes down on them when they get home and might lead to tiredness or make your Dog lethargic temporarily. So if they keep acting weird even after some time has passed, make sure to make your Dog feel loved and give them a bit more time to rest.
Symptoms like itchy skin, hair fall, and excess laziness might result from minor grooming accidents like bruising or cutting. However, if you’re getting your Dog groomed at a professional salon- that is unlikely to happen. In case of longer-lasting problems like persisting hair fall, allergies must be considered.
Many products like flavored shampoo, soap, or conditioners have extracts mixed in them which might cause allergic reactions.
However, keep in mind that reactions like vomiting, diarrhea, and appetite loss on a long-term basis are abnormal and might be indications of more significant problems.
Keep your eye out for more minor nicks or bruises that might get infected. Contact your local vet immediately if you see any signs of allergic reactions, gaping cuts, persisting symptoms, or other strange behavior that is strange after grooming.
Why Is My Dog Coughing After Grooming?
After an intense bath or grooming session, it might be regular to see your Dog shaking, sneezing, or coughing.
The most likely cause behind these newfound symptoms is a common cold. If your Dog starts coughing right after your trip to the groomer, it is most likely because they didn’t get tried off properly. Just take a dry towel, blow-dry them if possible and take a trip to a sunny lawn.
If similar symptoms persist, it might be an early indicator for more severe diseases like kennel cough. However, kennel cough is not a condition exclusive to grooming stations as they can be picked up at parks and other places where dogs mingle.
Why Is My Dog Shaking After Grooming
There are many reasons why your Dog might be shaking after their monthly groom. And thankfully, most of them aren’t that serious.
Like most other post-grooming reactions, a Dog shaking after a groom is usually a sign of mild anxiety or fear. Most dogs aren’t fond of a stranger cutting their nails or guiding them through the grooming process. In addition, the sound of other dogs barking, unfamiliar human moods, and new noises often make the salon a scary place and make your Dog uncomfortable.
Thus, they might act strangely after the ordeal. While there are many things you could do to deal with the situation, most solutions revolve around making your Dog feel loved. Praise your Dog before and after each trip and reward them with treats on little progress (e.g., one treat during the car ride up and another treat on the car trip down).
Additionally, taking your dogs’ favorite toy to the salon will make both the groomer and your lives much; much more accessible.
If your Dog acts strangely even to the mention of the salon, try distracting them with some dog food on the way over.
However, do not overdo the treats or food, as grooming is often intense, and overeating may make your Dog sick. Just make sure your Dog feels as comfortable as possible (especially when the groomer is cutting your Dog’s nails), and you should see fewer ‘dog shakes’.
Why Is My Dog Acting Excited After Session?
I know we’ve already talked about tired or lazy dogs in this article, but some dogs act the opposite. This is usually seen as a good sign and the last thing you should be concerned.
But for those of you a bit concerned, feeling energized after shedding weight (almost a few kilos for a few breeds like the Shih Tzu) in the form of fur is normal. Some dogs don’t even wait till they get home. I’ve seen dogs start jumping around right as they get their hair brushed at the grooming station.
For many dogs with long hair, a haircut is just what is needed to get away from the hot weather. Thus, if they’re being irregularly jumpy or excited, it’s not because they’re acting strange or feeling weird. Instead, it is because the new haircut makes your pet feel lighter.
On a side note, if your Dog acts dehydrated even after its regular grooming routine- it might be because its water intake is lower than recommended. Wipe their upper body down with a damp cloth if that is the case.
If the excited behavior is less jumpy and more ‘scared’ or if they seem like they’re a bit self-destructive, it might be because they feel confused about the haircut change. Give it some time and make sure they feel loved (avoid letting negative feelings set in).
Grooming can be challenging for us humans as well. All of us have a hard time adapting to change, and dogs are no different. However, if this behavior persists for a prolonged time, it might be a good idea to visit a vet.
My Dog Is Running In Circles Or Biting Itself, Should I Be Concerned?
Since razors and other electric trimmers usually come outfitted with one or more blades that can cause skin irritation. Dogs have skin that is much thinner than us humans. And thus, it is somewhat regular for them to get rashes or minor nicks during the grooming process.
Mild allergic reactions to shampoo, skincare products, and even fur from other dogs may also cause similar problems since rashes tend to develop on freshly shaved thinner skin.
However, in most if not in all cases- dog skin irritation can be reduced if not completely mitigated with proper diligence and care.
Before you develop an irrational fear of your Dog chasing its tail, it must be kept in mind that ‘chasing a tail’ is normal dog behavior and should not be impeded. However, continuous repetition may be a cause for concern.
Groomers get into some pretty hard-to-reach corners while doing their jobs. So even though the grooming process on your Dog starts by shaving off some easy-to-reach hanging fur on their tummies or backs- if you stick around long enough, you’ll see the professional reaching for everything from the eyes to the testicles.
Certain sensitive areas are more prone to rashes than other areas. Places like the cranial thoracic nipples and anal glands often get shaved to allow air passage to those areas. Even the eyelids are super sensitive on certain breeds.
The grooming store you go to or the professional you’re getting the grooming done by is probably a dog owner too, and thus will usually account for this by being extra careful. However, they probably go through tons of other dogs every day- and thus, it gets a bit difficult to track each Dog’s behavior.
If your Dog is biting its skin regularly or seems abnormally irritated- a skin rash is probably the most common culprit. A home cure to skin rashes is to bathe your pet in room temperature water and oatmeal dog shampoo. There are also tones of bug bite or rash prevention ointments in the market that could help your pet out in the short term.
But if you can afford it, a trip to the vet is the safest bet you can make for your Dog.
Do Dogs Feel Better After Grooming?
As any seasoned dog owner will tell you, grooming your pet is a medical necessity- but it also helps bring out your Dog’s personality a lot more (not to mistake your Dog shaking as a personality trait).
Think about it this way. Imagine how much stress a day at the spa or getting a relaxing pedicure can relieve. As sentient creatures capable of feeling emotions, dogs are the same. Yes, initial trips to a new grooming station or getting a few nicks and bruises here and there might induce a bit of agitation- but who doesn’t like being pampered!
A grooming trip can be a lot more than just therapeutic. Especially if your Dog has developing flea or lice issues or even lumps growing in unwanted places. Grooming store professionals are trained to look for early signs of such conditions.
So, a grooming trip can be fun in the short term and much better for the future welfare of your precious little Dog.
How Often Should I Be Grooming My Dog?
Like how we schedule our shampooing and skincare routines, a good grooming routine is necessary for your Dog’s physical and mental welfare.
All dogs benefit from regular grooming- a short-coated breed or a long-coated one. However, different breeds of dogs have other grooming routines. And as a pet owner myself, I know how crucial specialized care for my little pup is.
A few factors affect what kind of grooming routine is best for your Dog. Breed, skin type, length of fur and coat, condition of fur and coat, skin health, overall general health, and even home environment change each Dog’s grooming routine.
A general rule is to get your Dog to a local grooming salon every 4 to 6 weeks. However, this may even change to as much as 4 months depending on the factors as mentioned above.
Generally, you can find a grooming chart via a quick google search- but getting your own grooming schedule from a vet or a professional groomer is always the best.
Can My Dog Get A ‘shave Shock’?
Ans. Unless you live in extremely cold geographical regions, shaving your single coated Dog a shave is unlikely to cause any massive harm.
However, it is prescribed to stick to shorter trims for a dog with double-coated fur. Shaving them too deep might damage the way their fur grows permanently.
Can a new haircut change my Dog’s personality?
Ans. While your Dog may act strangely after grooming, it is less likely to be permanent.
While a lousy haircut might change how we look at ourselves, dogs are thankfully less self-conscious. So, feel free to take your Dog to that next grooming trip without the thought of any massive personality change.
Do dogs feel bad or hurt when they’re getting shaved?
Ans. If you’re getting your Dog shaved by a seasoned professional, it is unlikely that your Dog is feeling anything at all.
Like humans, dogs lack any nerve connections to their hair and nails. So, the only one who might feel hurt is you if your pup gets a bad hair-do.
To wrap it up, a phenomenon like your Dog shaking, shivering, and showing basic signs of stress are pretty normal after taking your dog grooming- especially if it’s their first time. Here are a few things to remember:-
Most Abnormal Behavior Comes From Going Through A New Experience
Your Dog is getting dropped off in an unfamiliar environment, and they are also getting touched and shaved by strangers. Give them some time and love- and they should recover from the stress in no time.
Shower A Stressed Dog With Love
If your Dog seems too psychologically shaken by the experience of grooming, it is time to restart the entire petting process and make your pup trust you again.
This is a common side effect in some shelter dogs who have gone through traumatic experiences in the past and thus go through PTSD when in stressful environments.
Watch Out For Something More Serious
Even though grooming professionals usually take a lot of care to ensure that your Dog doesn’t get hurt or too traumatized during the process, sometimes even they miss minor cuts, bruises, and rashes.
Ultimately, no one knows or cares about your Dog as much as you do. So, after each trip to the grooming station- take some time off to thoroughly check your pup for unforeseen injuries. Look for bruises in case of heavy breathing and crying.
So there you have it, all of the mysteries of a trip to the groomers’- solved in one article. Jokes apart, here’s to hope you and your pup have healthy, clean, and fun grooming trips from now on. Cheers!