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Updated: Dec 16, 2020

Some dogs simply hate being groomed. They may find it uncomfortable or have negative associations from past experiences. Generally, if a dog is being difficult during grooming, it’s due to anxiety; however, there are plenty of ways to help ease your dog’s anxiety and change his response to grooming.


1. Choose a medication or calming aid. There are a variety of products you can use to help calm your dog down for grooming. Some are medications that your vet would prescribe. Others are herbal supplements you can buy over-the-counter, though they should not be used without consulting the vet first. Some common medications and calming aids include:

  • Benadryl

  • Melatonin

  • Acepromazine

  • Zylkene

  • Dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP)

  • Herbs including skullcap or valerian

  • Thundershirt


2. Ask your veterinarian about calming aids. Some medications have side effects or risks. Some may actually produce the opposite behavior of what you’re hoping for. Always run your choice of medication by your vet.

  • Your vet can advise you on dosing, which will vary depending on the size of your dog.

  • In severe cases, your vet may also offer your dog general anesthesia before grooming.


3. Administer the medication before your dog becomes anxious. Many calming aids and anxiety medications won’t work if your dog has already become nervous. Give your dog the medication before you