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Why does my dog shake after getting groomed?

Why does my dog shake after getting groomed?

You take your dog to the groomer. You can tell he’s apprehensive, but he seems fine otherwise. You do your shopping, take your merchandise home, and return to the grooming shop to pick him up, but now he seems different. 

He is skittish, and he continues to shake his head over and over. Why is he shaking his head? What should you do? Let’s delve into those answers.

Why does my dog shake after getting groomed?

Sometimes, a dog’s whole body shakes after grooming. These tremors are usually not at all serious, and they usually go away very quickly. However, there can be causes that are more serious.

Here are a few reasons why your dog may shake after grooming.

He may simply be cold.

The most common reason for a dog’s tremors after grooming is that he is cold. He has just been bathed and may not be completely dry all over. Plus, he has probably been trimmed, so he doesn’t have as much “coat” on to keep him warm.

Try wrapping him up in towels or blankets until he is completely dry and can stabilize his body temperature.

He may be scared.

Especially if it was his first time at the groomer, he may have been terrified. He was in a new place with a stranger touching him all over. There was lots of loud noise, like loud clippers and blow dryers, and this stranger used all these tools on him.

The stranger did all this, clipped his nails, and more on a high table. While all this went on, he was leashed and couldn’t get away. Some dogs don’t like baths anyway, especially when administered by a stranger. This would be enough to stress anyone out.

He may be physically injured.

Most groomers adore dogs, and so they take extra special care to not harm your dog during grooming. However, because few dogs cooperate fully with their groomer, no groomer can promise you, for certain, that they will never harm your dog while trying to groom him.

Here are only a couple of injuries that can happen during grooming.


Scrapes are cuts that happen when the clippers dig into the skin. They happen most often in areas where the hair is extremely matted and where the skin is very thin, like between the toe pads and in the armpits. Always tell your groomer about any warts or moles your dog may have, as these areas will get “scraped” very easily.


Nicks are small accidental cuts that happen when the clippers or scissors “nick” the skin. This can happen because your groomer is clumsy, but most times, it happens because your dog wiggles so much.

This is why it is so important to find a groomer that your dog trusts. If he trusts his groomer, he is less likely to be a wiggle worm.

Razor Burn

Razor burn happens when a groomer shaves very close to sensitive skin. This, she cannot help, but sometimes, razor burn is the result of using dull clippers or clippers that have become too hot. This is inexcusable. 

Brush Burn

Dogs get brush burn when they have very tangled or matted hair. When a groomer has to brush across sensitive skin repetitively to remove the tangles, the skin can become “burned.”

Quicked Nails

Quicking a dog’s nail or cutting it into the quick is very dangerous for a dog, not to mention extremely painful. When a dog’s nail is cut too short, he can bleed a dangerous amount of blood.

You should never let a dog’s nails get overgrown because it is very painful when they start to curl under. Plus, the blood vessel in that nail grows longer, as well, making it harder to remedy the problem.

Overgrown nails can lead to split or broken nails, which are even more painful and dangerous. These must be handled by a veterinarian.

He may have a medical condition.

Some medical conditions can cause tremors. Here are a few that may cause your dog to shake after grooming.


DJD (Degenerative Joint Disease), better known as osteoarthritis, is inflammation of the joint that is caused by the deterioration of the joint’s cartilage. Just as in humans who have osteoarthritis, wet and cold can cause pain in a dog’s joints, and pain can cause tremors.


DDD (Degenerative Disc Disease) happens when the outer part of the disc begins to deteriorate spontaneously. This leads to IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease), which happens when a spinal disc is herniated or ruptured. Once this happens, the contents leak out, resulting in a dog with inflammation and pain. Wet and cold can exacerbate this pain.

Nerve Issues

Nerve pain in dogs can be compounded by being in contorted positions the dogs are not used to, like those they are in during grooming. Many times, it is hard to know when a dog is hurting, so nerve pain in your dog can go on for years undetected.

Besides tremors after grooming, look for a decreasing tolerance to activities, decreased vitality, depressed mood, change of behavior, vocalization (whining, whimpering, yelping, howling), change in posture, difficulty walking or maneuvering stairs and such, and lack of appetite.

Why does my dog shake his head after grooming?

Your dog doesn’t shake his whole body, though. He just shakes his head like crazy over and over when you take him home from the groomer. Here are a few reasons why that may be.

He may have gotten water in his ears.

Besides water in the ears being uncomfortable and just weird-feeling, letting water get into a dog’s ears is dangerous.

This is because the moisture provides the perfect environment for bacterial and yeast infections. Both bacteria and yeast fungus need moisture to grow, and when they grow out of control, they become infections.

He may have gotten debris in his ears.

When the groomer was trimming around his head and ears, hair may have gotten in his ear canal. This hair can get trapped by earwax and cause inflammation, irritation, or infection.

He may be allergic to the ear cleanser.

It is also possible that he is allergic to the brand of ear cleanser your groomer uses. Skin allergies can cause irritation and inflammation, which cause pain and itchiness. You may notice that with all the above reasons, he will also paw and scratch at his ears, and this can lead to a secondary bacterial infection.

Why is my dog uncomfortable after grooming?

There are many reasons why your dog may be uncomfortable after his grooming session. We have actually already addressed a few. Here are some others.

Eye Irritation

Many dogs have an eye discharge. If your dog has this, you should clean it off daily with a warm cloth. If it is left for long periods, removing it can involve soap and a small flea comb. If it’s too bad, it can even cause an infection at the root.

Removing a dried-on piece of discharge that has not been tended to for a long time can leave that area raw, itchy, and very sore. Dogs will rub their face on whatever they can find that they think may give them some relief, causing further irritation and eventually an infection.

Ear Sensitivity

Many groomers pluck the hairs out of a dog’s ears, so they won’t become so matted, but this can sometimes cause irritation and itchiness. Some groomers only perform this service upon request, and some don’t provide these services at all. It’s a personal choice.


When an area of tightly matted hair is removed, the blood flow is suddenly restored to that area where it had been restricted. This can cause a hematoma, which is a large blood blister. These are usually found in a dog’s ear. 

An appointment with your veterinarian usually has to be made to help heal a hematoma, so to prevent one, it’s best to brush your dog between visits to the groomer.

Sanitary Matting

When a dog’s vaginal, penile, or anal areas are allowed to become matted, it can become irritated and even infected. These areas should be trimmed short and stay brushed thoroughly.

Even dog owners who prefer to keep their canines’ coats long should keep these areas trimmed short for their dogs’ sakes. Once these areas are let go, the removal of these matted clumps of hair leaves the dog extremely sore, causing him to rub and lick the area to the point of further irritation or even infection.

Anal Gland Irritation

When your dog’s bowels move or when he is very frightened, there are small sacs called anal glands located just on the inside of his anus that empty naturally. Normally, you want to do just that — let it happen naturally. However, there are times when your dog may need to have his anal glands emptied manually.

If you see him straining, scooting, or licking the anal area, or if you notice a fishy smell, it’s probably time to solicit help. Your groomer can express or empty the anal glands manually by simply squeezing them externally. While they won’t be fully empty, the procedure will give your dog a boost.

Groomers will only perform this procedure upon request. If you also notice leaking, swelling, or bleeding, there may be something more serious going on, and you should contact your vet to schedule an examination.

How long do dogs act weird after grooming?

It is quite common for dogs to act a bit strange after grooming. Some cower and hide. Some appear annoyed or angry. Some act sad. Some actually walk sideways. They act in all kinds of crazy ways.

Think about it — How do you feel if you’ve let your hair grow for a while and then, you get it cut short? You know that lighter, airy feeling, like you may come up off the ground at any time or something should be there that isn’t — that feeling. That is how your dog feels, only it’s worse because his coat covers his whole body.

The good thing is that, just like humans do, he will become accustomed to his new condition quickly, and his weird behavior shouldn’t last more than a few days. 

How do I relieve my dog’s stress after grooming?

There are a few things you can do to relieve the stress your dog feels after grooming. One is to shower your dog with love when you pick him up. Let him know you are happy with him. Praise him, and reward him.

Another is to watch your dog’s interaction with his groomer. Find a groomer he really likes, and stick with her. He will learn to trust her, and this will lessen his angst. 

Something you can do beforehand is to make the trip to the vet a fun, happy one. This will help relieve much of his stress before he ever gets there.

Another hint is to start out slowly. At his first grooming appointment, only get him bathed and brushed. Then, next time, get his hair cut. You can progress to clipping his nails and so on. This way, he won’t be overwhelmed by so many things at once.