How to Sedate a Dog for Grooming

Wouldn’t it be great if your dog behaved like a little angel during grooming sessions? Life as a pet parent would be so much easier! The truth is many dogs have anxiety and fear when they get groomed. 

This fear causes them to shake, tremble, whine, and run away from you as soon as they see the grooming tools appear. Their fear can actually become dangerous during a grooming session which can lead to injury of the skin or worse. 

As a dog owner, you want to make sure your dog is well-groomed and cared for, but it’s often quite difficult when it comes to a nervous dog. Don’t give up yet because there are a few things you can do to help the situation. 

First, create a soothing environment for the grooming session and speak to your dog in soft tones to help calm their nerves. Reward their good behavior with tasty treats and gently hold them while you attempt to trim their nails or cut their hair. Using pet-friendly hair clippers and nail clippers are recommended because they have safety features that help keep your dog safe. 

If your dog remains to feel nervous, you will need to consider a different approach to the situation. Keep reading to find out how to sedate a dog for grooming.

How to Sedate a Dog for Grooming

Why Sedate a Dog for Grooming

Sedating your dog for grooming purposes is often a last resort used on difficult dogs. dog on a grooming tablePopular reasons pet parents sedate their dogs include highly nervous behavior, shaking, trembling, snapping, biting, and scratching. Some dogs become aggressive towards their owners while they are being groomed because they want it to stop. 

Should I sedate my dog for grooming

There are a variety of reasons pet owners choose to sedate their dogs for grooming, and surely your reason is valid too. Speaking to a veterinarian regarding the issue of sedation for your dog is recommended. Your dog’s current health conditions will play a big factor in the decision if sedation is safe for your dog or not. 

What can I use to sedate my dog for grooming

  • Natural sedation – If your dog has mild anxiety, you might be able to treat it naturally by taking them for a long walk or playing a game of fetch in the yard until they wear out their energy. This is a natural way to lower your dog’s energy and calm their nerves before a grooming session. vet giving medicine
  • Acepromazine – This sedative is taken through injection or orally. It’s a potent drug that has side effects. The main side effect is increasing anxiety and making your dog become more aggressive and hyperactive. This medication should only be administered to your dog under the supervision of a veterinarian. 
  • Benadryl – This medication is utilized in many veterinarian offices. It’s easy to administer to your dog and is a light drug. It acts as a mild tranquilizer that makes dogs sleepy and drowsy. Since this drug is light, there’s a chance the nervousness might not go away completely. Side effects include dry mouth, urinary retention, increased heart rate, excessive salivation, and rapid breathing. 
  • Trazodone – This drug is often used to treat anxiety from a specific trigger such as loud thunderstorms and anxiety caused by grooming. It can be given on an as-needed basis. Side effects include lethargy, sleepiness, dizziness, drowsiness, and fainting. A veterinarian will need to determine if Trazodone is the ideal solution for your pet. 
  • General Anesthesia – This option is usually this last if the others don’t work. It’s often used in severe cases to keep the groomer safe from aggressive behavior from dogs. Under general anesthesia, the dog is oblivious to the situation and keeps them calm and stable. Veterinarians are the only ones who can administer anesthesia for your pet. Side effects include decreased heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. 
  • Melatonin – Veterinarians often use melatonin to treat sleeplessness, anxiety, and other disorders with this drug. It’s a naturally occurring neurohormone that is useful for sedating dogs for grooming purposes. It has minimal side effects compared to other options. Always consult with a veterinarian before administering this drug to your dog. 
  • CBD OilCBD is generally safe to use on pets under the supervision of a veterinarian or holistic veterinarian. It has been legalized in the United States and Canada for use on humans and pets. It produces relaxing effects on dogs and helps reduce anxiety and stress. CBD oil does not contain the component tetrahydrocannabinol, so you don’t need to worry about your dog getting high.

Bottom Line

When you choose to sedate your dog for grooming, you need to discuss the issue with a veterinarian or holistic veterinarian. Your dog’s current health status will help determine the type of sedation that is safe and most effective. 

Your goal is to temporarily sedate your dog to complete a grooming session. The dosage amount is essential to keeping your dog safe and minimizing side effects. Remember, sedation should be used as a last alternative, and all steps should be taken to naturally calm your dog during grooming sessions before making your final decision. 

Sedating your dog is actually easy since most drugs need to be administered by the veterinarian. Sedatives such as CBD oil and Benadryl can be added to your dog’s water or food to make the process easy. Just make sure you wash the bowls afterward so the oil doesn’t linger in the bowl. 

The veterinarian will provide instructions about how to administer sedatives. You will need to do this near the grooming area in your home or at the groomers. If you have a small dog that is easy to carry, you can carefully move them from one location to the next. However, if you have a large dog that you can’t lift, the sedative needs to be administered at the exact location. 

Safety is always the priority when sedating your dog. Do it in a safe, calm environment and make sure you always administer the right dosage and involve a veterinarian! Visit the DogStruggles homepage for more expert pet advice & information. 

Razvan is a dog trainer and veterinary technician with over 10 years of experience working with dog daycares, animal shelters, vet clinics and private dog training. Razvan is one of the lead publishers on Dog Struggles covering the latest product reviews and dog health advice.

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