How To Groom Pets With Anxiety:
Metro Detroit Dog & Cat Grooming & Self-Serve Dog Wash

It is not uncommon for dogs to experience anxiety when being taken to a grooming salon.

At Scrubbers, our pet grooming experts will do everything possible to make sure your furry friend is relaxed and feeling calm at any of our three Metro Detroit locations.

Some dogs get more comfortable as time goes on, while others always exhibit some signs of anxiety. No matter the size or breed of your pet, our trained expert groomers are committed to making sure everything goes smoothly and calmly throughout your pet’s grooming process.

That said, it is very important for not only the groomers, but the owners to work with their pets to help them deal with their grooming anxiety. Every pet can react differently -- some dogs may have mild anxiety and be irritable and other dogs can have a full-blown panic attack. Signs to watch for include: odd behaviors, extreme shaking or salivation, or constant whimpering.

If you have a new pup, start grooming as early as possible. If you have an older dog, begin grooming at regular intervals so that she gets used to this as a normal part of life.

So, what can dog owners do to help to calm their pets down before a grooming session to make the experience easier for all concerned? To ensure your pet’s happiness and safety, here are five tips for helping your dog reduce the fear of the groomer.

1. Simulate the experience your dog will have at a grooming salon. Grooming includes handling of sensitive areas, including the muzzle, eyes, ears, paws, tail, rear and groin, so making sure your dog is used to being handled is the first step. Pet your dog from head to toe. Play with her paws and make sure you spread her toes apart. Play with her ears and scratch her bottom.

2. Bathe and brush your dog at home, initially. Try working with your dog at home to get him used to being handled before you take him to the groomer and reward your dog with a treat during or immediately after giving the cue. Get your dog used to as many sights and sounds as possible. Turn on a blow dryer so she can hear the sound then give her a treat. Hold up a pair of nail trimmers next to her paws without clipping, then give her a treat. Brush your dog every day, and -- if possible -- give him a bath at home.

3. Bring your dog to Scrubbers for a friendly visit. If you have some free time, do a training visit to Scrubbers without any grooming being done, and follow up with treats and rewards. Use the visit to accustom your dog to the sights and sounds of the groomer, including the noise of clippers or dryers, and to practice being lifted on and off the grooming table. It’s all about making Scrubbers a happy place to visit. We carry a variety of professional grade specialty shampoos, conditioners, rinses and medicated treatments, but you are more than welcome to bring your own if it helps ease your pet’s mind.

4. Try to tire your dog out beforehand. Just as exercise is a great stress reliever for humans, so it is for dogs. Burning off all that extra doggy energy every day through a long game of fetch, a hike, running alongside you while you bike or other favorite activities can go a long way toward reducing problems with issues like separation anxiety or nervous tension.

5. Bring treats. Lots of them. Most dogs can be motivated to behave well or perform a task when they know that there are treats waiting for them. One of the most effective ways to lessen your dog’s anxiety is by giving out rewards whenever they are nice and calm during grooming time. You can give out a small treat when your dog allows you to clean their ears, another when they behave while getting their nails trimmed, and so on. Reward your dog immediately for cooperating, and gradually increase the time between treats. When grooming a dog, do not reward a dog for nipping or biting by letting go of him.