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Some dogs are more frightened of grooming practices than others. Unfortunately, they cannot understand what is happening to them when we are trying to clip their nails, trim their hair, or perform other grooming tasks. They do not realize we are simply trying to care for their needs, and they become afraid. While some dogs simply shake a little or tuck their tails between their legs, other dogs can become highly frantic. Because some dogs become overly anxious, learning how to sedate your dog for grooming is often necessary. But, how can you do it safely?
If a dog listens to commands and does not become overly anxious during grooming sessions at home, sedation is unnecessary. However, if a dog’s anxiety over grooming makes him continue to play, bite at you, or become sick because of his fear, it is time to learn about your options for sedation.
What Is Dog Sedation?
Many people think sedating means putting a dog to sleep so he can be groomed. While some dogs do have to be made sleepy to get groomed, most simply need to be calmed.
You must know it is dangerous to sedate a dog without your vet’s advice. If you do not know the proper dose or which dog sedatives to use, you could place your pup in danger. Make sure to proceed with caution and talk with your vet before attempting any sedation methods, including those we will discuss below.
How Do You Sedate Your Dog at Home for Grooming?
If you’ve tried many times to groom your dog at home, only to discover it goes badly, you are not alone. One of the biggest complaints of dog owners is their dog’s inability to remain calm while grooming. Dogs seem to especially get upset when their nails are being trimmed.
You have multiple options available to sedate your dog for home grooming. As discussed above, please do not attempt any sedation without the advice of your vet.
Using Medications for Sedation
One of the most common methods of sedating a dog for grooming is medication. Certain types of medication can be given to a dog to sedate them quickly and for a short time.
True sedative medications are only available through the vet. You will need a prescription to administer them to your dog. Common sedative medications for dogs include Diazepam and Acepromazine.
Your vet will prescribe these medications according to your dog’s level of anxiety, weight, age, and health. If your dog is given these medications, please make sure to follow the vet’s instructions precisely. If any adverse side effects are noticed, discontinue use and contact your vet right away!
Many dog owners also use Benadryl because it is milder and does not require a prescription. Although it is safe to administer Benadryl to a dog, too much can make him very ill. You should only give one milligram of Benadryl for each pound your dog weighs.
Take a Long Walk
While this may not be an appropriate method for full sedation, taking a long walk with your dog allows him to get tired and helps to calm him. Many dogs enjoy long walks, and you will not have to worry about any side effects from giving them a sedative medication.
Take your dog on a long walk that gets him tired. Once he comes in from the walk, your dog is likely going to be ready for a nap. During his resting period, he is going to be calm and ready for you to trim his nails or do any other minor grooming tasks that may be necessary. Be sure to use only the best dog nail grinder to ensure safety and well-shaped doggie nails.
If you don’t have a way to take your dog on a long walk, perhaps you can play with him. A rousing game of fetch or tug-o-war may be just what your dog needs to unwind, get sleepy, and become deeply relaxed.
Dogs, like many animals, are much calmer when they are tired. Playing games like Frisbee or catch gets him running, jumping, and moving all his muscles. Did you know that today’s best indestructible dog toys offer brain stimulation for your pets too?
Try to find something your dog loves doing. Get him excited, and make sure he has had plenty of tiring fun before taking him indoors to relax and have his grooming chores taken care of at home. Cleaning a dog’s ears will even be easier when he is so worn out from playing.
Gentle Petting Helps
The goal of any sedation technique, whether with medication or without, is to get a dog to calm down long enough to take care of his grooming needs. There are many ways of behavior modification to make your dog calm and one of them is through gentle touch.
Before, during, and after the grooming session, make sure to use a gentle, calm voice and a soft touch. Pet and massage your dog as you get ready to groom him. He will feel the gentle touch, and it is likely to begin making him sleepy.
While grooming your dog can be stressful, try to remain calm and never yell at your dog, even if he will not cooperate. If your dog is not getting calm with gentle petting, this may not be the right sedation method, and it may not be the right time to groom your dog. Wait until he is calmer and try again.
Aromatherapy can help to calm dogs just like people. Using aromatherapy before and during your dog’s grooming session can give him a sense of relaxation. By reducing his excitement and making him relaxed, you will find he is much more apt to listen and allow you to groom him at home .
Using natural and soothing essential oils is the best approach to aromatherapy. Lavender oil is highly relaxing to pets. You have a couple of options for aromatherapy.
One: you can rub a small amount of lavender oil on your hands and pet your dog before grooming. Two: you can use an essential oil diffuser to scent the room with lavender so your dog can breathe it in and begin to relax.
As a word of caution: Never use any lavender scented oils that are not true lavender oil because they could contain chemicals that are harmful to dogs.
Dos and Don’ts of Sedation for Dogs at Home
As a dog owner, you do everything possible to keep your dog healthy and safe. Sedation is not something you should try without careful thought. The following offers information on some dos and don’ts you should follow as you attempt to use the above methods for sedating your dog for at-home grooming. By practicing caution, you will keep your dog safe and secure during the grooming process.
Dos of At-Home Sedation
The following are some dos you are going to need to consider when sedating your dog for at-home grooming.
- Always work to make sure your dog is as relaxed as possible before you start grooming him.
- Make sure you use a pleasant and soothing voice tone when working with your dog.
- Play with him and get him tired before attempting to groom your dog.
- Introduce all dog grooming tools at an early age. Get him used to see the tools well before you begin the grooming process.
- Remain cautious and careful throughout each stage of grooming. Make sure your dog is safe, secure, and comfortable.
- Maintain a high level of patience with your dog. Never yell at him or become overly frustrated.
Don’ts of Dog Sedation at Home
While the dos are important, learning about the dont’s is even more critical. The following tips will help to ensure your dog’s grooming experience is a safe and happy one for you both. The following are some things you should never do when attempting to groom your dog at home.
- Don’t attempt to groom your dog without first getting him accustomed to grooming. You also need to try different sedation methods and see which ones will offer the best results.
- Don’t yell at your dog or become angry. If you are getting angry, take a break and try grooming later.
- Don’t put scissors in front of your dog’s eyes when grooming him. Practice extreme caution in this area!
- Don’t feed your dog any treats during his grooming session. Only give him a treat when you are finished.
- Don’t rush the process of grooming your pet by yourself.
- Don’t lose hope if the grooming session does not go well at first. With practice, it will get easier.
FAQ About Sedating Your Dog for Grooming
Dog owners can become frustrated when they attempt to groom their dog and he or she is not listening, has become overly playful, or is even getting aggressive. As noted in the above information, your dog needs to be as calm as possible before you attempt to groom him. Grooming a dog takes practice and should not be entered into lightly. The following are some FAQs that may help you better understand dog sedation at home.
Should I sedate my dog for grooming?
When deciding on whether to sedate your dog for grooming, it is important to take time to consider the options. This is not a process you should embrace without careful thought. When in doubt, talk with your vet if you have tried the various non-medication options above and they are not working. Your vet may be able to prescribe your dog a sedative that can truly help him to relax deeply when it’s time for nail trimming and other grooming tasks at home.
How do groomers deal with difficult dogs?
Dog groomers are professionals who have been highly trained to groom dogs. A part of the job of a dog groomer is to keep the animal calm during the grooming process. Dog groomers employ a range of tactics to manage dog behavior. They will first get to know the dog and establish a relationship with it, so the dog remains calm. Many dog groomers use a soothing voice and may even use lavender oil on their hands as they massage the dog before and during their grooming session.
See Which Sedation Method Works Best for Your Dog
While sedating your dog may seem like a frightening thing to do, it is completely safe as long as you work with your vet before giving any medications. Try to employ non-medication sedation types first. If these do not work, you may need to get your vet involved and see which type of sedative prescription they recommend. By using sedation, you can safely and effectively groom your dog at home. If all else fails, bring Fido to a dog behavior specialist.