Sedation Grooming for Dogs

sedation dog grooming

Pet grooming can be absolutely necessary in some cases, such as when the dog’s fur has matted to an extent where removing it is the only solution. But grooming can be highly stressful for some animals, but also for the people tending to the task – if a dog doesn’t stay still, it can take hours upon hours for a person to groom them properly.

In today’s article, we’re looking at a few basics of sedation grooming, when it becomes a necessity, how you should feel about it depending on your pet’s age, and if you can do something at home if you don’t want to take your canine friend to a professional grooming salon.

When should a dog be sedated for grooming?

As previously mentioned, one of the main reasons why some groomers accept giving dogs haircuts only when they are sedated is that they tend to become very rowdy, which makes the whole process very long and tedious.

But that is not the only reason why a dog may need to be sedated for grooming. Hair clippers can make a lot of noise, and the vibration they produce on a dog’s skin can also be very uncomfortable and can cause fear or anxiety – so getting your pet mildly sedated might actually be good for them.

Then, there’s the fact that many dogs become extremely anxious when being taken to the groomer either because they might associate it with bad experiences or because, in their minds, that’s almost like going to the vet clinic.

If your dog has also ever exhibited any type of aggression while being groomed, that could be another reason for the groomer to be a great proponent of sedation.

What types of sedatives are currently being used for grooming?

It depends on every groomer in part, actually. Some animal hospitals come with wings that are specialized for grooming, and since a vet is always around, they may have access to prescription-only sedatives. General anesthesia is rarely used for grooming simply because it comes with its own share of risks, especially in senior animals.

But there are some medications that can sedate a dog without a plethora of adverse reactions and in a very quick and effective manner, such as the following:

  • Acepromazine
  • Alprazolam
  • Diazepam
  • Trazodone

While some articles you might have come across suggest using Benadryl for sedation grooming, we would advise against it.

It is true that Benadryl can be utilized in some cases, such as moving homes, traveling by air, or situations that can generally cause extreme anxiety, but it is not a sedative per se, and it comes with a series of side effects, so it shouldn’t be used on the regular.

How often is sedation safe for dogs?

It depends on the sedative. General anesthesia, meaning the procedure where the dog receives both the anesthetic and the analgesic, can be considered safe twice or three times a year (and the third time should only be used for emergencies).

Naturally, the younger and healthier the dog, the safer anesthesia can be. But before any type of sedation is performed, we recommend getting your dog’s blood tested just to be on the safe side of things.

Every pet owner is required to sign an anesthetic consent form, and more often than not, it includes risks such as the dog having a bad reaction to the medication or them losing their life for another reason.

By comparison, mild sedatives do require a consent form, but they do not come with the same degree of side effects. That doesn’t mean that they’re perfectly safe to use all the time and that you can sedate your dog for grooming purposes once every three to four weeks, for example.

Can you sedate and groom your dog at home?

You can groom your dog at home, but sedation is something that only professionals should do – especially given the likelihood of the dog having some sort of health issue that could lead to some severe complications.

As previously mentioned, avoid using Benadryl on a regular basis and for this purpose. If your dog is responsive to this alternative method, you could try using pet-safe melatonin to induce sleeping before their bedtime or even CBD oil for their anxiety if that’s the reason they don’t want to be groomed.

If your dog really hates the sound and feel of the clipper on their body, have someone to help you and use a brush or a comb and trim their coat with scissors.

How much does it cost to sedate and groom a dog?

Once more, the answer to this question is that it depends on several different factors – the groomer you take your dog to and what they tend to charge, the type of sedative they use, the exact type of grooming they perform, and more.

In general, the sedation itself is likely to cost anything from $50 to $100, depending on the substance. If the dog requires injectable sedation, the cost might be a little higher, such as $100 to $200.

The grooming itself can also set you back around $100, especially depending on how large your dog is. Small and teacup breeds can be groomed for $70, but large and extra-large dogs require more effort and attention, and also, depending on their coat, they can cause wear and tear to the clipper blade (and blades are not cheap at all, especially when it comes to professional grooming machines), so expect to pay anything from $100 to $150 or more.



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