The Zen Factor: Handling grooming anxiety with care

Grooming your beloved pet at home can be a challenge, if your pet is anxious or scared of grooming. Read on and find out how you can ease grooming anxiety and make the process calmer for your pet.


A lot of times grooming anxiety in pets is overlooked or confused with bad behavior. Grooming anxiety is the state of stress, discomfort, or fear that your pet may experience during grooming activities including – bathing, nail trimming, brushing, or any other grooming process. It is a misconception that dogs show grooming anxiety only when taken to professional groomers. They can exhibit signs of resistance even when you are grooming them at home. Each pet can have individual sensitivities and fears related to grooming, so we cannot generalize this condition.

Signs to lookout for

Common signs that might indicate grooming anxiety include –

  • Rapid and excessive panting
  • Avoiding behavior like running away, hiding, or resist being approached
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Restlessness
  • Body language signs – ears pulled back, tucking their tail
  • Aggression
  • Excessive vocalization

It is best to talk to your vet if you notice any of these signs and your pet shows them repeatedly for every grooming session.

Doggie de-stress with gentle grooming

Grooming anxiety can result from various factors, including negative or traumatic experiences in the past or during a young age, excessive stress, and sensitivity to specific grooming procedures. As a responsible pet parent, you need to be aware of the signs and don’t look beyond them. Also, if you prefer professional grooming for your pet, make sure to inform the groomer that your pet feels nervous and anxious so that they can alter the procedures accordingly and make it a positive and comfortable experience for your furry friend.

Fluff and relax –helping your pet stay calm during grooming

Regular grooming needs to be a part of your pet’s physical and mental well-being. It is the time when you and your pooch bond and spend some quality time together. But for those pets who are anxious or nervous during grooming, pet parents need to be extra cautious. Not to forget, patience is the key and you need to cling to.

  • Start young

Experts say that you should start the grooming process from a young age. Whether it is at-home grooming or taking your pet to the salon, make sure you start it from an early age. Regular nail trimming, brushing, and ear cleaning will put your pet in the flow of things. At-home grooming is a lot more relaxed as the pet is in a familiar environment. Beginning grooming while your puppy is still small and manageable will also help you to become more confident in handling him.

  • Keep calm and carry on

When you remain calm and composed, the energy radiates to your pooch as well. If your pet senses that you are nervous or stressed, he feels something is not right and may become more anxious.

Try and visit the professional groomer beforehand so that you know the hygiene of the place, their work ethics, and the overall vibe of the place. And if you are grooming your pet at home, then you need a lot of preps. Keep all the tools handy, sit in a calm and quiet room and you can play some ambient music for that zen feeling, and always remember to keep the sessions short.

  • Go slow to win the show

Take things slow when grooming your pet who feels uncomfortable or nervous. Do not rush with the steps as this might seem to be a hassle for your furry friend. Take time out for each step, keep talking to your pet in between to make the process easier and laidback, and the constant supply of belly rubs would be surely helpful.

This might sound absurd, but when you get your pet tired through exercise before the grooming session, it is easier to manage him. Take him for a long walk, play fetch, or just run around so that he can spend that excess energy and then during the grooming he would be dozing and snoozing making the entire process easier for him and you!

  • Aromatherapy

Just like after a tiring day when you light your favorite candle you are engulfed in a relaxed and unperturbed feeling, the same goes for your pet. Aromatherapy works wonders not just for humans, but for dogs as well. Light a candle diffuser with some lavender oil or light a mild lavender fragrance candle in the area where you are grooming your pet. The relaxing scent of lavender combined with some soulful ambient music and of course your presence, will soothe your pet’s anxiety and reduce his stress as well.

  • ‘Paws’itive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is an effective way to train your pet to stay relaxed during grooming sessions. Talk to your pet through the grooming session and talk in a positive tone with appreciation towards his good behavior. Keep his favorite treats handy and offer them when he stays calm and lets you groom him. Just make sure to give treats in moderation. Just be slow and patient even if it means clipping one nail at a time or just brushing one section of his body at a time.

  • Muzzle training

It is time that we let go of the stigma of muzzles. If you put a muzzle on your pet, it will make the grooming process simpler and convenient for your pet as well as for the groomer. Muzzles work really well for dogs who don’t like to be touched. Train your pet to willingly put his nose in the muzzle. Smear some peanut butter or a creamy treat in the muzzle and see the magic happen.

Medical consultation

If your furry friend is extremely anxious or fearful during grooming it may be necessary to visit your vet to discuss medical situation.Ask yourself these questions –

  • Has your pet always shown signs of distress towards grooming or has his behavior modified in recent times?
  • Have you tried switching the groomer for your pet?
  • Have you tried to take your pet to a professional if you have always groomed him at home?
  • Has he shown any signs of aggression during the grooming session?
  • Is your furry friend extremely anxious and nervous during grooming?

It is best that you discuss this with your vet and rely on his/ her expertise.