Why Is My Dog Itchy After Grooming


why does my dog itch after grooming

Taking our beloved dogs to the groomer is a luxury that saves so much time and exhaustion. Unfortunately, after a day of getting clipped, washed, and treated, some dogs can begin to feel very itchy. What makes your dog so itchy after being groomed?

Dog’s skin relies on the oils that are naturally produced from the hair follicles, these oils give a dog their scent and protect their skin from dryness. Cleaning products can often cause dryness of the skin, with the added irritation of shaving tools. 

Typically, a little skin irritation is nothing to worry about after a day of being groomed, but it is always a good idea to be informed. Continue reading to find out more about your dog’s itchy skin and what you can do about it.

Why Does Grooming Make Dogs Itchy?

Most people have probably noticed their dogs itching themselves constantly after being groomed. This is quite common and rarely ever anything to be fearful of. 

With that being said, knowing why your dog’s skin is itchy is always helpful so that you can help to relieve your best friend’s pestering little problem. Let’s discuss a few of the biggest reasons your pup might be scratching more than usual.

Clipper Burn or Irritation

The most common reason for a dog to have itchy skin after grooming is clipper burn, which is simply just a skin irritation and not actually a burn. It is even more common when dogs with severely matted hair have to be shaved down very closed to the skin.

Clipper burn occurs when the person doing the grooming uses old clippers with dull blades to do the shaving. When the blades are not sharp, they do not simply glide over the hair and cut it. The clippers actually pull the hair out while they are being pushed across the dog’s skin. 

Any human that has ever cut their hair with old clippers knows exactly what clipper burn feels like the next day. The skin becomes irritated, bumpy, and itchy. 

Don’t be too quick to blame your groomer, though, because this can also happen when your dog already has a slight skin irritation, like eczema. The clippers can cut the risen area just slightly and this will also cause some skin irritation.

Some dogs can get clipper burn simply because they have sensitive skin! We’ll discuss some extra tips for that later on.

Most professional groomers are required to have the owner sign a form allowing them to shave your dog’s hair so short. They also often recommend allowing the groomer to brush your dog’s hair weekly if it is unruly and gets into a matted-up-mess. So, be sure that you’re taking your dog to a highly recommended and trusted groomer to get the best care for them.

It’s important to know that most itchy skin can be down to simply using clippers on your dog. Even the best clippers will often cause some irritation when cutting close to the skin.  

Some Dogs Just Have Sensitive Skin

Another common reason why your dog has itchy skin after grooming is because your dog has sensitive skin. Skin sensitivity is quite common for most dogs that are some type of full-blooded breed. With that being said, any dog can have sensitive skin or allergies that causes their skin to break out often. 

Sometimes, the shampoos or treats used at the grooming facility could cause a dog with sensitive skin to have a little flare-up. If your dog has been shaved, then the extra irritation from clippers could also cause your dog to break out a little. 

You could compare this to a person with sensitive skin that shaves and always has breakouts, or razor bumps, for the next few days. 

If you know that your dog has an allergy or is particularly sensitive to certain products, then it is best to inform your groomer before allowing your dog to be treated.

Unfortunately in this scenario practice makes perfect and you will often only know what your dog is sensitive to if you give it to them. For example, our dog Cooper is allergic to chicken…….yep you heard it right chicken. It’s not a serious allergy but he will end up with some messy business if he is fed more than a small piece of chicken. The only way we would ever have found out that a dog is allergic to chicken is by feeding him some and because it was such a go-to treat that he loved, we never understood why he had an upset stomach afterward. Once we stopped he was much better and has never had an upset stomach again.

Skin Infection from a Cut During Grooming

Another reason why your dog may have itchy skin after grooming could be because of a skin infection. This is not very common, so don’t be alarmed. The signs of a skin infection are very easy to spot!

A skin infection could occur from being cut or nicked with tools that have not been properly sanitized. It could also happen if your dog were cut and the wound was left untreated or your dog rolled in something dirty after—which they tend to do!

Here are the signs of a skin infection on your dog:

  • Red, swollen area or areas
  • An area that is inflamed and hot to the touch
  • An area where there are fluids, puss, or blood seeping out

If your dog has been itchy, lost its appetite, or had a change in behavior along with any one of the signs of infection listed above, then take your dog to the vet immediately. Skin infections are not a big deal at first but left untreated, your dog could face serious problems. 

How to Help Your Dog’s Itchy Skin after Grooming

Now that you know more about why your dog has itchy skin after grooming, it is important to learn what you can do to relieve the itchiness.

The first thing to do is just talk to the groomer. Let them know that your dog might have a sensitivity to something they did, and you need to know the shampoo and conditioner brands so you can investigate on your own.

But that doesn’t help your dog now that they’re already itchy, so let’s discuss a few ideas and products that can help relieve their current itching problem. It’s always important to realize that your dog’s skin is covered in naturally occurring oils that are secreted from their hair follicles. This is why your dog smells so bad when wet as these oils get thrown into the air. It s a natural thing that’s supposed to happen, to learn more about these oils, check out our article called “Why Does My Dog Smell After a Walk”.

How to clean your dog after a walk

Try Itch-Relieving Shampoos

An itch-relieving wash is the first thing you should try to use to soothe your dog’s skin. These washes typically contain oatmeal and/or aloe vera which are known to relieve irritated skin.

Oatmeal contains tons of necessary nutrients that help to soothe and soften skin, while aloe vera gel contains a huge amount of vitamin E which heals skin.

While looking for a good wash for your dog, be sure to look for products that contain one or both of these ingredients.

Find Dog Safe Anti-Itch Ointments

The next thing you could try is to apply ointments to your dog’s itchy skin. For most ointments and for an irritation that your dog will not leave alone, it is best to give them a cone so they can’t keep picking at the itch (as well as keep them from licking the ointments, which can be dangerous).

Here are some ointments that you can apply to your dog’s skin, so long as they are not allergic:

  • Witch hazel: Only apply to small areas and not the whole body. 
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Baking soda mixed with water to make a paste

Always test a small, penny size patch of any ointment on your pup before putting more on. Give it a day or so to make sure they aren’t also allergic to the very cream or topical you are about to put on.

Don’t forget, if you worried about applying anything to your dog, have a conversation with your vet and they may suggest other treatments your could use. Most vets will offer some limited advice over the phone for free.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Veterinarian

If you have tried everything you can and your dog is still itchy and has some irritation, it is time to go to the vet.

Your dog could be allergic to something it is being exposed to at home, have seasonal allergies, or there could be an issue going on inside the body that could be causing the itching. It may only have been a coincidence that it began after grooming.

The best way to find out is to let the vet run some tests so that your dog can be as healthy and comfortable as possible.

As an extra tip when it comes to skin allergy or irritations. Drying your dog well is so important, as bacteria love nothing more than a warm moist environment to thrive on, which is what your dog will inevitably produce if they are dried sufficiently enough. Check out our article on “5 Ways To Dry Your Dog”, for some great tips and advice on effective drying.

Why Is My Dog Depressed After Grooming

Some dogs will love having a pampering session, all that attention, splashing around, and having fun. It’s safe to say though that this is more rare than common. Most dogs won’t enjoy grooming, even if they appear to stand there contently.

If you find your dog is acting weird after grooming, they may be depressed or traumatized. Of course, you hear these words and it feels like you have tortured your dog. You must remember though that dogs are very resilient and will often forget about the experience quickly. If your dog is scared of the groomers and comes home acting weird then try to spread grooming sessions out.

Grooming can also tire your dog out which can manifest itself as being depressed. Your dog will often wake up just as they usually do, happy and content. The best thing to do if your dog is depressed after grooming is to comfort them, let them rest and play with them when they are ready.  

Remember you don’t have to take your dog to the groomers every time they need a wash. Dogs will get muddy and smelly and it’s something you can do yourself. You don’t have to put much effort in to keep your dog from tracking mud inside your house and so cleaning them after a walk can be the best thing to do. Have a look at our article on “How To Clean Your Dog After a Walk” for more information on post-walk cleaning.

how long is a day for a dog

Conclusion 

A dog could be itchy after grooming due to clipper burn, sensitive skin, or a skin infection from getting cut while being groomed. You should try itch-relieving shampoos and ointments to help your dog but go to the vet if the itching doesn’t stop after a couple of days. That’s likely a sign of a deeper issue, like a seasonal or contact allergy.

Always remember to take your dog to a groomer with a great reputation that has your dog’s well-being in mind. Talk to your fellow dog owners and see which ones they use and what they think.

If you enjoyed this article don’t forget to check out more great content on our homepage, all about dogs and the amazing life we live with them.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

Recent Posts