You’ve taken your pup for a grooming session and he/she is just not the same. Let us just start by saying a dog traumatized after a haircut is perfectly normal. Not all dogs experience this, but it is normal.
Can Dogs Get Traumatized from Grooming?
Yes, dogs most definitely can be traumatized from grooming. Knowing what traumatized them isn’t always easy, though. Below are some of the reasons dogs are traumatized after a haircut or any other grooming services.
Why Some Dogs Are Traumatized After a Haircut
Understanding the reasons a dog is traumatized after a haircut can lead to ways to reduce the risk of it.
Reminds Pups of the Vet
Grooming sessions for a pup are a stressful experience. It’s almost as stressful as going to the vet. It’s likely because a groomer often sets up their shop much like a vet’s office. Why? It’s easier to clean and sanitize.
Fur to a dog is like clothes to a person. When you remove your clothes and walk around, you may feel a bit uncomfortable. While you understand that it’s because you don’t have any clothes on, a dog only knows that they feel uncomfortable.
Anal Gland Expression
Many times, anal gland expression is part of the grooming process. Squeezing of the anal glands is not an enjoyable event for dogs, as you can imagine. So, while pet owners may think it’s the haircut that’s so traumatizing, it may actually be the expression of the anal glands that causes so much stress.
Reduce the need to express anal glands with a change in dog food or using a supplement. Read more here: Best Dog Food for Anal Gland Issues
Some dogs are more sensitive to being touched in certain areas, such as the eyes, legs, nails, paws, etc. It’s a good idea to tell the groomer about these sensitivities to ensure he/she takes extra care when grooming those areas.
A Nervous Dog
Dogs who suffer from anxiety are more likely to have a traumatic experience when getting a new haircut. It’s not anyone’s fault – it’s just because you have a nervous dog.
A change in groomer can cause a traumatic experience. Dogs become accustomed to places and people. Changes can be highly stressful to a pooch, so be aware of that when considering switching groomers.
Rough Grooming Session
Just like people, some groomers simply don’t have the bedside manner they should to make a pup comfortable during the grooming process. This can cause a great deal of anxiety for your pooch. Consider trying a different groomer for the next visit to compare how your pooch reacts.
A puppy should see a groomer after 8 weeks to become used to the process. The groomer may not have a lot of fur to cut, but the puppy will get used to the visit. This experience will make future ones much more comfortable.
Overdue Grooming Sessions
Dogs with long hair that easily becomes matted, especially throughout the body, legs, head, etc. may have a harder time at the groomers. It will take more time to remove the mats (sometimes it can cause discomfort), which can cause anxiety.
Trauma from Other Dog(s)
Most groomers don’t let dogs interact, but some dogs become fearful just seeing another dog across the room. If another dog was barking at your dog, your pup may be really anxious now. Dogs communicate in many ways with one another. It’s hard to know what another dog may have communicated to your pup, which has caused a lot of anxiety.
How to Reduce the Risk of a Dog Being Traumatized After Grooming
Pet owners can do a lot of things to help reduce the trauma a dog suffers from a new haircut. Consider the following solutions.
Schedule Regular Grooming Sessions
It’s a good idea to schedule grooming sessions regularly for your pooch. This way it doesn’t take so much time to remove any mats, snarls, etc. It will also help your pup get used to the groomer.
Speak to the Veterinarian
Talking to your veterinarian about your dog’s anxiety is a good idea, especially if there are full-blown panic attacks. The veterinarian can recommend medications, supplements, or natural ways to reduce the stress your pup feels when at the groomer.
Consider CBD Dog Products
CBD for dogs has been proven to be effective. A dose an hour before the dog’s hair appointment may reduce the risk of severe anxiety or a full-blown panic attack.
Work with the Groomer
Discuss the possibility of remaining with your dog during the session. It may help your dog feel much more comfortable if he/she is able to see you. After a couple of sessions, your dog may be comfortable enough with your groomer for you to not be there.
Touch Sensitive Areas Frequently
It is possible to desensitize areas of a dog’s body. Try to touch areas that may be a bit more sensitive than others, such as the head, paws, nails, eyes, etc.
Brush Dog’s Hair Regularly
Help your pup grow accustomed to grooming by brushing your dog’s coat at least once a week. This will help your dog understand that grooming isn’t such a bad thing.
Provide Love and Comfort
You are your dog’s life. Be there for your pup during stressful times, and you will see that he/she will feel much better after a haircut. Extra cuddles and treats are sure ways to get your dog back his/her old self quickly.
How Long Will My Dog Act Weird After Grooming?
How long your dog will act weird after grooming depends on how traumatized your pup was at the groomer. Some dogs may be back to their regular self in a day or two, while others can act weird for a week or more.
Dogs have a good memory, which we discuss a bit more in this article: Does My Dog Know I Rescued Him?
The longer a dog remembers what happened, the longer he/she will act abnormally. Dogs with anxiety often suffer longer when they’ve been traumatized, so keep that in mind.
How to Eliminate Trauma at the Groomer
The only way to eliminate trauma at the groomer is to avoid it. Many dog owners decide to groom their dogs after experiencing the consequences of a bad grooming session. You may want to consider doing the same. Grooming your pup isn’t as difficult as you may believe. It will take some practice but you’ll master it in no time. To help you with grooming your own pup (if you decide to), consider the below products and read more about grooming on our website – Dog Ownership Guide.
Portable Dog Bath – Bissell Bark Bath Dual– This portable dog bath is perfect for bathing a dog that doesn’t want to get into a tub.
Dog Vacuum Brush – Brush and clip your dog’s fur with a vacuum that collects 99% of the fur.
Dirty Dog Shammy Towel– Dry your dog faster with the Shammy for dogs!
HolistaPet Hemp Shampoo – Calm and relaxing for your pup’s anxiety and skin.
Do You Bathe a Dog Before Grooming?
How Has Your Dog Been Traumatized After a Haircut?
Comment below about your dog’s trauma after a haircut. Dog Ownership Guide is here to help because we believe Happy Dogs ~ Happy Owners.
Dog Shaking Head After Grooming
Why Does My Dog’s Ear Make a Crackling Noise
I Shaved My Dog and Now I’m Scared
June 27, 2022 at 6:24 pm
Our dog got groomed Saturday and when she came back she was not the same. She was behaving kind of weird. She started scratching the the blanket on the bed trying to hide between the pillows. She also went in her crate on her own. Something she doesn’t like to do. She is also looking at us scared. This is her third time being groomed.
July 2, 2022 at 8:27 am
Hi Lillian, I’m so sorry about your pup… I know ours – Barley – will go into hiding whenever we have his hair cut as if he knows that he looks different and he doesn’t like it. He does eventually come out of it, but I am very hesitant to take him to the groomers now, so I wait until I can’t wait any longer. I hope your furbaby feels better soon.
June 28, 2022 at 12:17 am
We just brought our pup from the groomers as well on June 25, 2022. He is definitely not the same either. He cries and is extremely afraid. If we touch his rested he cries. I think they pulled his ears or something terrible happened. I called Petsmart to complain and the manager is going to look at the camera to see if anything happened. I’m taking him to the vet on Tuesday to have him checked out. I feel just terrible it hurts me to see him this way.
July 2, 2022 at 8:30 am
Good for you for calling PetSmart! We’d love to hear if they did ever see anything. It’s important for other dog owners to be aware of it. My heart aches for your furbaby. I hope he recovers quickly from whatever happened there. It’s so sad that we don’t know truly what is wrong with our pups sometimes because it makes it harder to make them feel better.
July 8, 2022 at 11:35 pm
Our dog came back from the groomer’s today and he will not allow us to take his leash off. He sometimes can get in these “moods”, but while during these he might not let my husband near him, he will still allow me, until now. He growls and if I go to take it off he shows his teeth and I know he will bite. He is shaking and won’t move from next to our dining table. This is not the first time with this groomer and we take him fairly regularly along with our other dog who goes with him. We got him to eat, but he won’t move and he won’t go outside to the bathroom. We have both taken him and picked him up from the groomer/vet previously- and this is the first time he won’t let either of us near him afterwards in the 2.5 years we have had him.
July 19, 2022 at 4:50 pm
Oh no…this makes me so sad. Your poor furbaby. Some others have said they called the place where the grooming services were performed. You may want to do the same to see what may have happened. I know that from our experience, it can take a long while before our pup is back his normal self. Hopefully, yours starts feeling better much sooner. ~ Marcie – Head D.O.G.
July 9, 2022 at 7:09 pm
Our dog was shaved at the vets after discovering he had a tick and a week later is still not the same . Our bubbly fun loving outgoing dog who would love going outside is now the complete opposite and trembles constantly not wanting to leave his bed and growls when picked up, he’s a completely different dog. I hope it doesn’t last and he returns to normal soon
July 19, 2022 at 4:51 pm
Hi Peter! Has your pup ever been shaved before? D.O.G. Barley hates getting shaved and when we first did it, he hid in the bathroom for what seemed like forever. It took him a LONG time to get back to his normal self. I could tell that he didn’t like the way he felt with his fur gone. Maybe the same may be going on with yous.
July 26, 2022 at 11:22 am
Hi Peter, is your dog doing better a couple weeks later? Dealing right now with two dogs that seem to be traumatized by a grooming 4 days ago. One explanation is that they are not used to have fur cut short and especially don’t like how their naked rear feels. But I worry that they were treated roughly.
July 31, 2022 at 9:45 pm
Hi Peter! We are on day 4 of the same thing with our pup. It is horrible! I will NEVER get him groomed again after this! It’s not worth putting him through it no way! I.l learn how to do it myself so I know exactly what goes on! I feel like something terrible has happened to him. Please tell me if yours is back to normal🙏🙏🙏
November 13, 2022 at 12:14 pm
guys! Our dog is going through the same thing and it is making me soooo sad. Have your dogs bounced back? Are they ok?? We are on day 4 and I can’t handle this.
March 18, 2023 at 5:17 am
I took my dog poppy to the groomer today and when we saw him he looked really happy to see us but now he is acting strange. I got him shoes and i tried putting them on but he kept biting me and he usually never does that especially when I’m expressing how good of a job he is doing but he bit me harder than usual and i feel so bad for him since he is usually the sweetest with :(. I am extremely sad that he feels this way and I wanna show him comfort and compassion for him but I’m afraid he will try to bite me again but is giving him space the right thing to do? Thank you for this wonderful article extremely helpful!
July 10, 2022 at 8:40 pm
I normally groom my dog at home. But when it’s time for the anal gland excretion I schedule an appt. He comes back home and for a good two days he’s not the same. He won’t eat might drink some water. Doesn’t even want his treat for going to the bathroom outside. When I groom him at home we don’t have any issues.
July 19, 2022 at 4:53 pm
Ugh…I hate that for him. You may want to consider reading this article because I give our D.O.G. Hera a supplement that helps express her glands naturally. Here’s the link:
Hoping your pup feels better soon and his anal glands don’t lead him to another bad grooming experience.
July 21, 2022 at 8:49 am
We took our 2 year old Goldendoodle to a new groomer yesterday. When home we noticed they shaved her belly and “private” parts… she was acting very strange and realized she wasn’t responding to her name when we called her. She appears to have lost her hearing!! No response at all to verbal commands, or sounds at all! We took her back to the groomer yesterday and asked what could have happened. She said Dogs do get traumatized and that nothing happened during the stay other than a large dog in the groomers area was barking a lot. This was not her first grooming and responded well to them.
August 15, 2022 at 8:28 am
I am so very sorry for what happened to your Goldendoodle. If you see this, please let us know what ended up happening with your pup. Hopefully, the stress subsided and you have your furry friend back to herself.
October 15, 2022 at 8:37 am
Frank – did your dog’s hearing ever come back? This happened to us just yesterday and we are so confused as to what happened. She was also very lethargic to the point where we think she may have been sedated.
August 14, 2022 at 7:31 pm
I rescued a dog from a local shelter he had to be neutered I called Petsmart and the groomer made the appointment after I told him that his stitches were not out yet,after I dropped him off the groomer said about 2 hours so I left and ran to a store, after 1 hour i get a call from her and she says I’m sorry that he had stitches and company policy says she can’t groom him, i go back to pick him up and he’s very nervous and someone started cutting his hair, I took him home and they said they would give me 20%off when I bring him back,now he won’t walk on a leash and is very scared i don’t know what they did or how to fix this mess. Any suggestions?
August 15, 2022 at 8:30 am
Hey Nick! First, call the vet. They may have pulled on one of the stitches and hurt him. While I appreciate the store gave you 20% off, it’s a small compensation when it comes to the stress put on your pup and you. I would say give him extra love these next few days and follow your vet’s recommendations. Whatever did happen has spooked your pup, but luckily, the behavior will go away after some time. Thank you for reaching out.
August 16, 2022 at 3:25 pm
Thank you so much for your website and posted questions and answers! I found them very helpful! I took my dog to PetSmart today! She has been many times before! But today was a new groomer! I didn’t recognize my dog! She was trimmed very short with nearly
Any ears! Since she has been home she is panting and hiding
And acting quite odd! She seems afraid of me too! This has never happen before!))
August 16, 2022 at 9:43 pm
I took my 4 month old puppies to the groomer at the vet. They are brothers and have never been apart. They wrestle and cuddle all day. At the groomers one started screaming whenever anyone touched him after the groom. She noted his anxiety when he brother was away from him. I sure hope he comes back to normal soon his brother doesn’t know what to do.
August 22, 2022 at 9:21 pm
We have a Morkie that is 10 months old. She had the most beautiful long flowing blonde hair with dark tips. She has been to a groomer twice for a bath and brush out with minor trimming around her butt and eyes. Never acted any different afterward.
We decided to get her spayed which meant no bath or brushing for the 2
weeks after for healing. Once healed we scheduled a visit to the first reputable groomer we could get an appointment with to get her groomed. Unfortunately she had some matting that we knew would make it a little difficult but not impossible with a little care and a pair of scissors. The groomer however made the decision that she had to be completely shaved. To make matters much worse they cut both ears so bad we had to take her straight to the vet for emergency care. The groomer claimed our baby had hematoma’s in both ears, which we knew was absolutely false! I have spent a lot of time with her in my lap and rubbing her ears was something she enjoyed.
The vet diagnosed that she was cut very badly with whatever they used to trim her ears and that she absolutely had no evidence of any aural hematoma’s. This he even put in writing on his receipt.
Our baby is not doing well. Her ears are still healing but her emotional state is a disaster. She is absolutely traumatized and is not the same dog in any way. She barely eats or drinks. We will find her hiding places where she apparently feels safe like the shower behind the curtain or under the bed or other furniture. She shakes uncontrollably until one of us can hold her long enough to get her comfortable. Once we have held her we can’t put her down. She is like a child you try to leave at school on the first day of kindergarten. She also hasn’t touched any of her many toys since bringing her home and she loved he toys! She would play fetch or tug of war until we are so worn out we had to take shifts. If she finished us both off she would play fetch with herself by tossing her bone with her mouth and then running to pick it up and toss it again
I hope she gets well soon we miss our baby girl.
Can anyone give us an idea of how long it could take?
August 27, 2022 at 11:59 pm
These comments sound like our story. Took our one year old maltipoo to groomers on Tuesday, it’s Sat and he’s still not back to normal. He is as shaved due to matting even though I asked them not to. He shakes, looks fearful hides in his kennel and won’t come out and play, finally went for a walk today but had been laying down when we took him outside refusing to walk up till today!, not the same dog!
February 21, 2023 at 7:02 am
Our 7 year old was shaved and now won’t go outside to walk. She’s loving and plays in the house but as soon as she gets outside she freezes. Won’t walk won’t pee and it’s already going on day 2. We took her someplace else to pee yesterday and she did so reluctantly. How long does this last?
February 24, 2023 at 2:20 pm
Hi Leah, I am so sorry your 7 year old pup was shaved and acts differently now. It’s likely because the air outside hits her skin and she isn’t used to feeling it and is immediately scared about it. It’s going to take some time for your dog to get used to the sensation of either cold or warm air directly hitting her skin, but it’s hard to say how long. I wouldn’t imagine it would take more than a week. Keep an eye on her to make sure this situation isn’t causing any issues that could cause harm to her, such as holding urine or poop due to the fear of going outside. Hope she feels better soon so you can also feel better. Thank you for commenting!
September 10, 2022 at 2:22 pm
Same here,my shizsu got grommed today an now she has ruins an wont eat.I think shes traumatized. I Hate to see this it hurts my heart hurt😥When will she be better could someone tell me.russell
October 13, 2022 at 7:24 am
My 17 year old fixed male was groomed yesterday and now he wines and won’t stop humping , never done this before, grooming said because his back legs are weak, help
November 25, 2022 at 10:26 pm
I took both of our 1 year dogs to the groomer on Wednesday and when they came home one was good. The other one wants to be cuddled and he’s eating and drinking but hasn’t pooped.
February 23, 2023 at 2:01 pm
I took my Multipoo to the groomer for the 3rd time. Upon arriving the groomer looked frazzled. I told her I could reschedule but she insisted she had the time. I left my fluffy Grey & white, 1 year old Multipoo, who was absolutely NOT matted, with her for a bath & clean up. When I returned to pick him up I was speechless. I even questioned if that was indeed my dog! He was shaved down to his skin! This tells me that she did not want to take the time to brush & blow out his fur so SHE opted to shave him! What?!!? In the middle of the cold weather we’ve been having?? He has not been the same. He just sits wherever I am & stares at me & cries. He hasn’t eaten, doesn’t want to go outside or play with his favorite playmate, our Cane Corso. He shakes continuously. The groomer won’t take any responsibility for any of it, not even for the unnecessary shaving of his fur. I keep apologizing to my pup, it breaks my heart to see such a drastically different dog. I pray that his little mind will sooner than later, put this experience behind him. He’s never going back!!!
February 24, 2023 at 2:12 pm
Oh no Martha! That is horrible… It makes my heart hurt for your furbaby and you. That should have NEVER happened. The groomer likely wanted to do whatever was the easiest and fastest, but definitely was not in the best interest of both you and your pup. Your pup will feel better over time, but probably not until he gets some more fur on her. It might be a good idea to get some sweaters and wrap her up in blankets until the fur grows back in. The sweaters may help replace some of the comfort from the fur. And yes, the groomer can’t be trusted again and it’s so sad that the groomer won’t apologize for it. If you feel up to it, you may want to consider leaving a Google review to let others know so other dog owners and their dogs don’t end up having to suffer through the same experience. Thank you for sharing your story, despite it being so hard to deal with… I hope your puppy returns to her happy self soon, so you can also be happy. Thanks again.