Why is My Dog Itching & Scratching After Grooming? (Solved)

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why is my dog itching scratching after grooming

It’s a special treat to let the groomer deal with bathing and clipping your pooch. But when your pup comes home smelling fresh and clean, he also starts to itch and scratch. Is this normal?

When I got calls from frantic pet parents because their dog started scratching after a trip to the groomer, I explained the behavior can be common. I went over possible causes and how to provide relief.

In this article, we’ll describe six possible causes of itching and ways you can relieve your dog’s itching. We’ll also discuss whether you should switch groomers and what things to discuss with the boutique. Finally, we’ll give you indicators that let you know it’s time to call the vet.

So let’s dive in.

6 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Itching After Grooming

Many pet parents notice their dogs itching after a trip to the groomer. Pups may scratch or rub parts of their bodies. Usually, the irritation will resolve in a day or so, but knowing the underlying cause can help you find ways to provide relief for your pooch. Reasons for itching after grooming include:

  • Irritation from clippers – If the groomer shaves your pooch close to the skin to remove mats, he can suffer from clipper burn. The condition is most common when your groomer uses old, dull-bladed clippers. But it can also happen because your furbaby has extra sensitive skin or an underlying condition like eczema.
  • Sensitive skin – Some dogs have extra-sensitive skin. In addition to reacting to clippers, they may react to the shampoo or any sprays your groomer applies to his coat. If you’re aware of skin allergies to any grooming product, tell your groomer in advance.
  • Dry, flaky skin – Yes, dogs can get dandruff too. If your dog has dry, flaky skin, grooming may loosen the skin. The loose scale on your pup can cause itching.
  • Too much moisture – If excess moisture is on your pup’s skin after grooming, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria or yeast. Your dog may itch or lick to remove the extra water.
  • Fleas – Your pooch may have a flea infestation. Whether he already had the pesky critters before going to the groomer or picked them up there, fleas irritate the skin and cause itching.
  • Skin infection – Although rare, some dogs can get a skin infection if the clippers knick or cut the skin and they haven’t been properly sanitized. If the wound isn’t treated, and your pup gets dirt in the cut, it could become infected. You should suspect an infection if the area is red, hot to the touch, swollen, and seeping pus or serum. 

Dogs often start itching after a trip to the groomer, so it helps to know what causes it. Four reasons that your dog may be itching include skin irritation from clippers, sensitive skin, dandruff, or an underlying skin infection.

Is It Normal That My Dog Is Itchy After Grooming?

Itching after grooming is fairly common among dogs, so you usually won’t need to worry about it being something more serious. However, it’s wise to figure out the cause of your dog’s itching and to help your pup find relief. 

By figuring out the cause of your furbaby’s itching and discomfort, you may be able to prevent its recurrence. Talk to your groomer and check your pal’s skin for signs of clipper burn, an infection, or skin parasites. Your pooch may need treatment or your groomer may need to update some equipment.

When your pup scratches furiously at irritated patches of skin, there’s a chance he could break the skin. So, you should try to find relief for your pooch. 

Many dogs get itchy after grooming, and it’s usually not a cause of serious concern. But you should try to find out the cause so you can prevent further issues and know how to help your pooch find relief. 

What Can I Do to Relieve My Dog’s Itching After Grooming?

When your pup comes home from the groomer and starts itching madly, what can you do? Some ways to help your pooch get relief include:

Run a Warm Bath With Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains soothing chemicals that can help to relieve inflammation. Draw a lukewarm bath and add colloidal oatmeal or a squirt of oatmeal shampoo to the water to soothe your pal’s skin.

Rub an Anti-itch Ointment on Irritated Parts of the Skin

You can apply an ointment to inflamed areas of your dog’s skin. There are a few options you can choose from:

  • Make a homemade 50/50 baking soda and water paste
  • Apply some witch hazel directly to irritated areas of the skin
  • Speak with your vet about using hydrocortisone cream

Use an Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

Make a 50/50 solution of water and apple cider vinegar and store it in a spray bottle. You can spray the solution on your pup’s skin to relieve itching.

Rub Some Coconut Oil Into the Fur

Coconut oil soothes and moisturizes the skin. You can help soothe irritated surfaces by rubbing some of this substance onto your dog’s coat, or you can apply a few drops directly to affected parts of the skin.

Prepare a Tea Soak With Green or Chamomile Tea

You can steep 3-5 bags of green or chamomile tea in a warm water bath and allow your pooch to soak in the water. The tea helps to fight inflammation and calm your pooch for relief.

There are several ways you can help your furbaby find relief when he’s itching. You may use some common household items such as baking soda, apple cider vinegar, or tea. Other options involve over-the-counter solutions like coconut oil and witch hazel or hydrocortisone cream from your vet.

How Long Will My Dog Itch After Grooming?

If your dog has itchy skin after he’s been to the groomer, you don’t have to panic. Usually, the issue should resolve in a few hours to a day or so. But in the meantime, your pal is uncomfortable. You should try to figure out what’s causing the irritation so that you can find a way to offer some relief.

When itching continues beyond a few days, you should contact your veterinarian. There may be an underlying condition that needs medical care. Your pal’s doctor will be able to examine him and may run some diagnostic tests to identify the root cause.

Finding out the underlying cause of your dog’s itching can help you know how to provide relief for his skin irritation. If your baby doesn’t stop scratching within a few days, talk to your veterinarian to determine if there may be an underlying condition.

Should I Change My Groomer to Avoid Itching Next Time?

Provided you brought your dog to a reputable groomer, you probably won’t need to switch. However, you should talk to your groomer about their grooming methods, shampoo, and tools. If this isn’t your first visit, ask if they did anything different this time than may have triggered the itching. Let the groomer know that your pooch may be sensitive to something in their shop and request they use newer clippers with sharp blades for any shaving.

If you took your dog to a discount groomer, you can still have a conversation with the business owner. But, it may be best to look for a more reputable company next time. Check with your pet parent friends for recommendations.

If you were already dealing with a reputable groomer, try talking with them before switching to another business. However, if you tried a discount shop, it may be best to go with a new groomer next time. Fellow pet parents are a great resource for groomer recommendations.

What Should I Tell My Groomer Next Time?

There are several things you can discuss with your groomer to help reduce the chance that your pooch’s skin will be irritated. 

  • Let your groomer know that your pup showed sensitivity to something the groomer used or did last time. They may be able to pinpoint the trigger event and avoid it.
  • Ask about the equipment condition and request they use newer clippers with sharp blades if they need to shave your dog.
  • Check to see if the groomer allows your dog’s fur to dry completely between shampooing and trimming.
  • Inquire about the shampoo and conditioner brands they use and if any sprays were applied so you can investigate the ingredients.
  • If your groomer routinely uses clippers to remove matted hair, request an informed consent or release form. This type of document specifies that the groomer should apply an anti-itch bath or cream to your dog after shaving to help soothe the skin.

After your pup gets itchy following a visit to the groomer, you should plan to talk with the attendant before the next visit. Topics to discuss include the types of products the groomer uses, the grooming procedure and the condition of the tools, and whether you should sign an informed consent form.

When Should I See a Vet?

Although itching and scratching after a visit to the groomer isn’t usually a cause for concern, there are a few indicators that tell you it’s time to call your vet.

Hives or swelling

When your pup shows signs of an allergic reaction such as hives or swelling around the lips and face, you should call your veterinarian. Depending on the trigger, an immune response can be life-threatening.

Fido keeps itching

If your pooch continues to scratch after a few days, contact your veterinarian. There may be an underlying condition that’s triggering the itching. Until you identify and deal with the trigger, the itching is likely to persist.

Itching after grooming is usually not a reason to call the vet. However, if you see signs of a severe allergic reaction call your veterinarian immediately. You should also seek the doctor’s input if the itching continues beyond a few days and you can’t stop it.

Final Woof

Many dogs itch after a visit to the groomer, but it usually resolves in a day or two. There are a variety of explanations for your dog’s scratching behavior. If you know the underlying cause, it may help you find a way to relieve your pal’s discomfort. There are several remedies you can use to help soothe irritated, itchy skin.

Your dog’s itching doesn’t necessarily mean you need to find a new groomer. However, you should speak with them and let them know that your dog has sensitivity to something in their boutique. Review procedures, products, and equipment to try to find the root cause. Anytime your pooch shows signs of an allergic reaction or has unresolved itching, you should contact your vet.

Photo of author
Dr. Libby Guise earned her DVM from the University of Minnesota in 1994. After working in private practice in Wisconsin for two years, she joined the USDA as a Veterinary Medical Officer. In 2011, Libby came home to focus on raising and teaching her adoptive daughter. She lives in Wisconsin with her daughter, husband, and two furbabies: Charis, a lab-mix rescue pup, and Chesed, a Springer Spaniel.

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