Can Dogs Get Depressed After Grooming?

You tried out a new groomer, and things didn’t go very well. The cut is too short, and your dog looks ridiculous. What’s worse, now the pooch is acting depressed. Did the groomer bum out your pet, or are they freaked out over a bad haircut? It can be challenging to know exactly what went on. However, I can help you find answers to why your canine companion is behaving oddly after a shave and clear up some of that confusion for you and your pet.

Can dogs get depressed after grooming? Your dog cannot become clinically depressed after visiting the groomer. However, they can become very clearly upset and embarrassed. Fido may be feeling less like his old self with all that hair gone, which can lead to some bizarre behavior. 

The Science of Doggy Depression

Whether grooming caused depressed behavior or not, there is no scientific evidence behind dog depression. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for your dog to feel depression. However, there are no studies showing significant brain chemistry changes in dogs who display signs of what we call depression. Since clinical depression is marked by chemicals changing in the brain, that means doggy depression is, for now, unproven.

Anyone who knows dogs can tell you that they do indeed show depression. However, the technical term, clinical depression, doesn’t apply in the absence of supporting evidence. That said, we’re going to call it like we see it anyway.

Signs of Dog Depression

Depression or upset in dogs is common after grooming. The signs and symptoms are often similar to what we see in humans who are clinically depressed. Here’s what you should watch for.

  • Drooling & Panting
  • Change in Appetite & Rapid Weight Loss
  • Hiding
  • Howling & Whining
  • Irritability
  • Lack of Interest in Normal Activities Like Playing
  • Low Energy or Oversleeping
  • More Shedding Than Usual
  • Restlessness
  • Upset Stomach

Unfortunately, all of these symptoms can also be indicative of other health problems in your dog. When you notice unusual behavior, you should make an appointment with your vet to make sure that your pet isn’t sick. Attributing the problem to post-grooming depression won’t change an underlying problem. Only a veterinarian can tell for certain.

Canine Feelings

Perhaps you’ve cut a lot of hair off your head at some point. The feeling can be nice, light, and very pleasant for most of us. However, some people, like those with autism spectrum disorders, can find the new sensation distracting and unpleasant. Your dog may have the same issue.

Feeling like there’s something wrong for hours or days affects everyone, even your dog. Grooming can cause this reaction. Your pooch may show their upset with ‘depressed’ actions.

Sometimes the best way to help a stressed pet is with a little stress reliever. No, I don’t mean booking them for a massage at the local pampered pup parlor. Try giving them a Thundershirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket. Until the fur grows back, a Thundershirt can help them feel secure and loved by swaddling them and hugging their body. As strange as it sounds, Thundershirts have a proven track record with doggy anxiety. To find out more, click here

Did You Cause the ‘Depression’

While depression is debatable, your dog is undoubtedly capable of embarrassment after visiting the groomer. Intriguingly, dogs as a group may not have a sense of self the way we perceive it. They fail the mirror test for self-awareness, but that doesn’t change their feelings.

It may surprise you to learn that your dog isn’t necessarily responding to how they feel about a haircut. Canines are sensitive to human moods. If your new groomer sheared off more than you wanted them to, and you threw a hissy fit and indicated there was something wrong with your dog, they know it.

Similarly, if you had fido’s hair done and then laughed at the results, or cringed, then, he saw that. I know you didn’t mean to shame your dog, but the way he’s acting after getting laughed at or scorned by his alpha (that’s you) might be your fault.

Go to the Groomer With Your Dog

In the future, when you go to get your pet groomed, you shouldn’t merely drop them off and leave. Stick around. Watch and encourage your pooch throughout the process. Doing this will help ensure you get the cut you wanted. Moreover, it will make sure your dog knows you love them and support the new ‘do.

If anything goes wrong, you’ll know. A good groomer will always discuss what’s going on with you and be happy to have pet parents stick around. Plus, you might pick up some useful tips on keeping your canine companions’ coat soft and shiny in the process.

Even if you can’t stick around for grooming time, make sure you reward your dog for doing well. Whatever a groomer does, the hair will grow back. It’s never your pet’s fault if the fur was too matted and had to be cut shorter, or someone’s hand slipped.

I suggest bringing a special occasion treat with you. Choose a flavor your dog loves and doesn’t eat very often. Remind your ‘ post- grooming depression’ prone pooch that they always look great in your eyes. For extra anxious dogs, try FurroLandia Hemp Calming Treats for Dogs. They’re a hundred percent safe and natural. Plus, they taste like bacon. To get yours from Amazon, click here

Grooming Accidents Upset Dogs

Your dogs’ after grooming mood may have to do with what happened during the groom rather than the haircut. Even the best groomer in the world has a minor accident now and then. A small nick or cut might lead your pooch to feel skittish for a while, especially if they don’t know the groomer well or see them often, and you left them alone for the visit.

Matted fur can result in more than an extra close shave. Because the tangles are hairs wrapped around each other, cutting them can pull and hurt. On top of that, haircuts can cause itching, and shampoo can get in your dogs’ eyes. There are plenty of minor irritants that might contribute to your canine companion behaving weird after grooming.

The best solution may be to take your dog in a lot more frequently, so they get used to the sensations, sounds, and occasional minor issues that crop up.

Every eight weeks is easier to get used to than two to four times a year. Plus, with a good groomer, you get a dog who looks spectacular all the time. Better still, they get familiar with the groomer and can enjoy visiting.

Good Grooming Starts at Home

Additionally, you can spend more time at home on grooming. Extra brushing will feel good, keep your pooches’ coat healthy and keep the knots to a minimum. Little to no matting will make the groomer’s job easier, and allow them to give your pup the haircut you wanted.

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive brush and comb set, and you should have one, then I recommend the Devin 8-Piece Home Grooming Set by Alfie. It has all the essential brushing, combing, and nail care tools you need for a dog. Check prices and availability when you click here

Bad Groomers

There is another problem that could be causing your dog to act depressed after grooming. Most of us think we’re pretty good judges of character. We don’t like to consider the idea that we could have left our beloved pets in the wrong hands, especially since we’re paying good money for the service.

Although it’s rare, bad groomers exist. They aren’t necessarily ‘bad’ people. Some are too inexperienced or poorly trained to do the job right. This is the other reason I recommend staying with your dog during grooming.

Once you know the groomer well, you can consider leaving your pup alone. Your dog will show when they like the person, and the attention of getting a proper (well rewarded and praised) grooming.

Watch For Signs of Bad Grooming

I want to stress that the groomer seldom causes abnormal dog behavior. However, it still pays to know what to look for. If you pick up a lethargic, groggy doggy, your new groomer could’ve used an illegal sedative to help keep your dog calm. Overheating is another symptom of sedatives for dogs.

Similarly, a dog with blood under their nails, or on their rear end may have a groomer who didn’t know how to do the job correctly. Over-cutting nails can easily cut the quick. Likewise, improperly expressed anal sacks can bleed.

If your dog comes home and behaves extremely aggressively, or seems terrified, it could be the result of lousy grooming. Also, keep an eye out for head shaking, a sign of water in the ears. Finally, you might see more itching than usual, which is likely caused by a bad haircut.


Final Thoughts

Clinical depression in dogs needs further study. It could be that the changes in their brain chemistry are too subtle to detect, or perhaps we have such different brains that humans don’t know what to look for. Regardless of what you call it, doggy upset is very obvious and can happen after seeing the groomer.

Most likely, your dog isn’t experiencing depression. Instead, they have depression-like symptoms as a result of your reaction or some other disturbing occurrence. Have patience and give your freshly groomed dog lots of praise instead of showing upset no matter what their coat looks like.

Every dog has a lousy grooming day once or twice, and that’s normal. When your dog comes home from the groomer and acts weird, remember to keep an eye out for hidden issues, like nicks and cuts.

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