Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Do Dogs Feel Better After Grooming? What You Need to Know

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

dog Spitz at groomer salon

Does your dog look sad and mopey after a grooming session? Or do they get the zoomies after a trip to the dog salon? You’re probably wondering, do dogs feel better after grooming? The truth is that it depends. Some dogs absolutely enjoy being groomed, and others dread it.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 5


Some Dogs Love Being Groomed

For some dogs, grooming is a luxurious spa day. They love the feeling of being pampered and fussed over. They might even enjoy the process of getting their nails trimmed and their fur brushed.

If your dog is one of these lucky pups, they’re probably feeling pretty amazing after their grooming sessions.

A few reasons dogs might feel happier after getting groomed include:

  • They were introduced to grooming from a young age. This helped them develop good associations with grooming activities,so they continue to enjoy them as adults.
  • Your groomer knows how to work with your dog’s energy and preferences. They know how to be gentle when needed and know when to stop when your pup is feeling overwhelmed.
  • They’re confident and comfortable around humans.
labrador dog in grooming salon
Image Credit: fetrinka, Shutterstock

Why Other Dogs Hate Being Groomed

Unfortunately, not all dogs feel the same way about grooming. Some dogs find the experience stressful and unpleasant, especially if they’ve had a bad grooming experience in the past.

For these dogs, grooming can actually be quite traumatic.

There are many possible reasons for this, but some of the most common include:

  • They got hurt or injured while they were being groomed, such as getting nicked by the nail trimmers or getting soap in their eyes.
  • They had a bad experience with a previous groomer who was rough or unkind.
  • They weren’t introduced to grooming activities as a puppy. As a result, they’re not used to having humans touch them in certain ways or handling their feet.
  • They’re generally anxious or fearful around humans.

This is often the case with rescue dogs who’ve been neglected, abused, or mistreated. However, some dogs are also predisposed to anxiety due to genetics or other factors.

Keeping your pet's skin and coat clean and healthy is very important, but finding a great shampoo can be harder than the actual grooming! We love our Hepper Pet Shampoos because they makes grooming so much easier. These pH-balanced formulas are made with natural ingredients like oatmeal, cucumber, and aloe. They are free of phthalates, sulfates, and soaps and very gentle on your pet's skin. Now you just need to decide which formula is best for your fur baby! Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right option for your pet’s next bath!

Hepper Oatmeal pet shampoo
Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo

Hepper Waterless No Rinse Pet Shampoo
Natural cucumber & aloe scent
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Safe for cats & dogs
Safe for cats & dogs:
Safe for cats & dogs:
Rinsing required
Rinsing required:
Rinsing required:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Lathers easily
Lathers easily:
Lathers easily:




How to Soothe Grooming Anxiety

There are things you can do to help your canine pal enjoy the grooming process and feel better afterward.

Here are some tips:

Find a Qualified Groomer

dog deep cleansing bath
Image Credit: karlinimrie0, Pixabay

The most important thing you can do is find a competent, gentle, and patient groomer. They can make or break the grooming experience for your dog.

Ask around for recommendations, read online reviews, and even observe the groomer interacting with other dogs before you let them work on your pup.

Brush Your Dog at Home.

Man Brushing Dogs Hair
Image Credit: Ron Lach, Pexels

Brushing your dog regularly at home can help them get used to the feeling of being touched and handled. It’s also a great way to bond with your dog and build their trust in you. Remember to shower your dog with praise and treats while doing this. Eventually, they will look forward to their daily brushing sessions.

Take It Slow and Stay Calm

Regular Brushing
Image Credit: sonsart, Shutterstock

If you have a nervous or anxious dog, take it slow when introducing them to the grooming process. It can be as slow as simply letting them sniff the brush and taking it away immediately. You might also want to get them used to having their paws touched by gently massaging them for a few seconds at a time.

The most important thing is to be patient and keep calm. Never punish or force your dog to do anything they’re uncomfortable with.

For instance, if your dog becomes tense when you try to clip their nails, stop immediately and try again another day.

Use Positive Reinforcement.

a dog biting a treat
Image Credit: James Lacy, Unsplash

Whenever your dog does something you want them to do, whether it’s allowing you to brush their fur or sitting still for a nail trim, be sure to praise them and give them a treat and a belly rub. They’ve been a good pup, and they deserve to know it.

Another good idea is to reserve an extra-special treat just for grooming time. Does your dog love peanut butter? Or maybe cheese is their weakness? Find out what your dog loves and only use it during grooming sessions.

Try Working With a Professional Dog Trainer

dog trainer vet talking to man with dog
Image Credit: Cultura Motion, Shutterstock

In some cases, dogs can be so reactive to grooming that it triggers them to act aggressively toward the groomer or anyone else who tries to touch them. If this happens, it’s best to consult a professional dog trainer for help.

Trainers can teach you how to desensitize your dog to the grooming process and help them develop a positive association with it. Most importantly, a professional trainer can help you read your dog’s cues, understand their body language, and learn how to best communicate with them.

Prepare Ahead of Time

When the big day finally arrives, there are a few things you can do to help your dog—and yourself—feel more relaxed.

groomer brushing labrador puppy
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Do Your Research

Whether you’re booking an appointment with a new groomer or preparing for your dog’s first trip to the nail salon, spend time doing research. For example, contact the groomer in advance and ask questions about the process. Visit the grooming salon to see if it’s a clean and calm environment or if it’s chaotic and stressful.

In addition, remember to brief the groomer about your dog’s temperament and what you’d like them to do or not do to them. Also,

give your dog tons of exercise beforehand.

A tired dog is a more relaxed dog. So, before they have to face a day full of unfamiliar experiences, make sure they’re already worn out from playing and running.

Pack Your Pet’s Favorite Items

These will come in handy if your dog needs to be distracted at any point or just needs to feel more comfortable. These items could include their favorite treats, toys, or blanket.

Consider Using Calming Aids

If your dog seems particularly nervous or anxious about grooming, you might want to give them calming aids before you go to the groomer.

Some items that help calm dogs include calming treats, anxiety medication, and CBD oil for dogs.

Before giving them any of these aids, however, you should consult a veterinarian to confirm that they’re safe and appropriate for your dog.

hepper-dog-paw-divider 5


Final Thoughts

Dogs have feelings too, and they can get just as stressed out as we do. Remember that your dog is not trying to be difficult—they’re just trying to survive a situation that feels overwhelming and scary.

By following the tips above, you can help your dog feel more comfortable and relaxed during a grooming session, whether that means a trip to the groomer or a brushing session at home.

With a little patience and practice, you might even find that your dog starts to enjoy, or at least tolerate, the grooming process.

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database