Do Dog Groomers Use Sedatives? (Solved & Explained!)

No, a reputable dog groomer is not going to sedate your dog. They might use calming candle scents or even a pheromone diffuser, but this will be the extent of the efforts to calm your dog down.

Sedating a dog is dangerous and should only be done by a veterinarian, so if your groomer wants to give your dog a pill or a shot then you should tell them no and consider another groomer. Sedation, improperly performed, could react poorly with an existing medical condition or worse.

If medication is involved, then a veterinarian should always be present… period.

In this article we’ll talk about dog grooming, sedation, and what you need to know about keeping your furry friend calm during the trying-time of the month known as ‘grooming’. Let’s take a look at the most commonly asked questions this week!

How do dog Groomers keep dogs calm?

Dog groomers will usually use very mild methods for calming down a dog. This can include essential oils for soothing scents and often shampoos with ingredients such as lavender that can also help to sooth a worried dog.

Pheromone diffusers, such as the Thunderease Dog-calming pheromone diffuser can also help by filling up the grooming environment with soothing pheromones to help relax a dog that is a little stressed, as well.

Are dogs drugged before grooming?

At a standard dog grooming or mobile salon, no, dogs will definitely not be drugged and if your dog even looks drugged when you bring them in, then most dog groomers will not agree to groom them. That said, some veterinarians that perform grooming services will sedate a dog first, but this is the only safe scenario.

So, if you’re at the vet, it’s okay, but a non-veterinary dog groomer should never administer drugs to your dog. It’s simply not safe.

Can vets sedate dogs to groom them?

Yes, vets can sedate dogs to groom them, and sometimes will do this with a particular aggressive or frightened dog that has bad associations with vet offices.

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From time to time, they’ll even write you a prescription that you can use with local dog grooming sessions, but this is the only likely case where a groomer will allow sedation to occur. Unless the medication has been specifically prescribed for safe grooming sessions, it’s simply too much of a health and liability risk to take.

How do groomers deal with difficult dogs?

Some groomers start off with a relaxing atmosphere, incorporating essential oils or even useful pheromones to help calm your dog a little from the moment that they arrive. This effect can be intensified with certain shampoos, such as lavender or tingly mint varieties if the dog is known to like these. Some dogs will need a little more, though.

For exceptionally panicked or even aggressive dogs, groomers will need to use a restraining loop and often this is accompanied with a safety muzzle. After this, any shearing is done quick, but carefully, and they will wait until your dog stills for safe and careful clipping of the nails.

How can I sedate my dog safely at home?

Check with your vet before doing this, but you can use melatonin and it’s an over-the-counter option that often works well for relaxing a dog. For dogs under 11 pounds, the recommended dosage is 1 milligram, while dogs of 11 to 33 pounds can have 1.5 milligrams.

Again, check with your veterinarian – human medications aren’t intended for dogs and should only be given with the express permission and recommendation of your vet.

How can I put my dog to sleep so I can cut his hair?

While some dog owners used Benadryl, as the diphenhydramine acts as a mild sedative for both humans and dogs, this is not recommended without consulting your vet. Sedation is dangerous when done by a novice, so your vet needs to give you input on this before you attempt it.

If your vet doesn’t recommend it – then don’t do it. Otherwise, if they say it’s okay, then be sure to follow the exact dosage amounts recommended. Sedation improperly done can harm or even kill your dog, as you could aggravate an existing medical condition or overdose your dog quite easily.

This is not something to experiment with on your own!

Why is my dog so sleepy after grooming?

If your dog is super-sleeping after grooming, don’t worry, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your groomer has ‘slipped them a mickey’. Grooming can be highly stressful for dogs, as they are being touched and sometimes even restrained by a relative stranger.

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In other cases, the massaging and brushing can be extra relaxing for your dog and they are simply feeling great. So, if your dog seems extra-tired after grooming, don’t instantly assume that they’ve been drugged. They’re probably just feeling overwhelmed or simply enjoying a Zen-like level of relaxation from the grooming process.

Why is my dog aggressive at the groomers?

Usually if your dog is overly stressed at the groomers it boils down to one of 3 things. First, they might have had a bad experience that they remember, such as a groomer accidentally clipping a claw to deep or the groomer might have had to restrain them before and they haven’t quite forgiven them yet.

Secondly, they might think that you’ve brought them to the vet, and every dog knows that vet trips are not all ‘unicorns and rainbows’. Finally, if you live alone with your dog, they may simply not be socialized to other people or animals.

This will pass over time, but you can bring treats for the groomer to feed your dog or ask if they have some on hand and this behavior will quickly become a thing of the past.

How do you calm an anxious dog for grooming without a sedative?

Making your dog a little calmer for their grooming visits takes a little creativity, but it’s certainly doable. One easy technique is simply a very long walk before going to the groomer. This will tire your dog a bit and then the massaging and brushing from the grooming session will be much more welcome.

You can also make the car trip a little more fun, with a kong toy, which is a hard rubber toy designed so that you can fill it with peanut butter or cream cheese and freeze it. This can keep them calm and occupied on the ride over and this helps a lot with their attitudes when they arrive.

Can aggressive dogs be groomed?

Yes. A seasoned groomer can certainly still groom your dog safely, though a restraint loop and a muzzle may be involved. Alternately, a veterinarian can also groom your dog under the influence of an approved sedative and this will also work.

If you are grooming at home, consider a dog pheromone diffuser and perhaps a little lavender essential oil aroma from candles. This can calm some dogs and it will make the house smell nice in the process.