How to Sedate Your Dog for Grooming? Insights!

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Author: Jacob Kay

Grooming is essential for a dog’s health and hygiene maintenance. Grooming a dog on a regular basis is a must and you can either do it at home or take the help of professionals. But does that require sedation if yes then “How to Sedate Your Dog for Grooming?”

The main concern of pet parents is their dog not cooperating with the grooming process. Dogs tend to get anxious and aggressive during grooming, to control this there are several ways. Giving your dog treats and positive reinforcement usually works but what if it doesn’t on your dog?

The one last resort used to control such over-aggressive and anxious dogs is to sedate them. In our blog, “How to sedate your dog for grooming?” we will try to provide you with all the required information.

How to Sedate Your Dog for Grooming

How to Sedate Your Dog for Grooming?

For those asking ‘what is dog grooming?‘, it refers to hygiene care and cleaning of a dog’s hair, nails, ears and teeth. Grooming a dog on a regular basis is a must and you can either do it at home or take the help of professionals.

There are various types of sedatives that can help you sedate your dog. Here are some of those:

Prescribed sedatives


Prescribed sedatives are generally the sedatives prescribed by the vet. These sedatives are prescribed to reduce anxiety in dogs or to control aggression in dogs.

This sedative is powerful and should only be given upon the vet’s recommendation. Some of the prescribed sedatives are Trazodone[1], Diazepam or Acepromazine. These sedatives are powerful and have some negative effects too.

The common side effects of these sedatives are dizziness, increased appetite, drowsiness or lack of coordination. If your dog is already on some medications or is suffering from prevailing health issues then do not feed the sedatives to a dog without medical guidance.

Over-the-counter sedatives

Over-the-counter sedatives typically don’t require any prescriptions. Some of these sedatives are CBD oil, Benadryl, or Melatonin. Unlike the prescribed sedatives these are mild in nature.

These sedatives are free from any kind of synthetic drugs and help to calm your dog. Though these sedatives are not that powerful yet have some side effects like dry mouth and low blood pressure. These sedatives are available in various forms and effects differently.

Natural sedatives

Natural sedatives

Lavender, valerian or chamomile are the forms of natural sedatives. This sedative consists of mostly floral and natural extracts. This natural sedative contains anti-inflammatory properties which help to relax the dog’s muscles and nerves.

Though these sedatives are natural they may not suit all dogs. The dog’s allergic to any of these natural ingredients may face digestive issues, skin irritation and allergic reactions.

These are the three sedates you can use for your dog while grooming. While sedating your dog for grooming always consult a vet and seek medical guidance. Sedating a dog without a vet’s recommendation is not advised.

Why You Might Need to Sedate Your Dog for Grooming?

Here are the following reasons why you might need to sedate your dog[2] for grooming:

  • Sedatives while grooming a dog are used if your dog is extremely aggressive. If your dog is aggressive, difficult to control or poses harm then he needs to be sedated.
  • For dogs suffering from medical conditions, skin diseases or allergies, grooming can be difficult. These health issues can cause pain and discomfort to your dog. To prevent this pain you might need to sedate your dog.
  • To control anxious and restless dogs, sedatives can be used. Anxious dog may not cooperate during the grooming process, which can lead to injury. To avoid unwanted issues or harm to the dog it is necessary to sedate the dog.
  • If your dog has long fur or you have opted for several grooming services like flea treatment, ear cleaning, or any other service apart from the basic one. This advance service requires a time of about 2 to 3 hours the dog might not keep calm for this long hour, which requires sedating him.

Choosing an experienced groomer is also important if you are wondering ‘how long does dog grooming take?‘ An expert groomer will be able to finish the grooming in a shorter timeframe, reducing stress for both you and your dog.

How To Administer Sedatives to Your Dog Safely and Effectively?

Here are the ways you can administer sedatives to your dog safely and effectively:

  • To give your dog a sedative you can either give it as pills or chewable sedatives. If your dog doesn’t consume it then you can try giving it by wrapping it in treats or any other eatables.
  • You can sedate your dog by rubbing the sedative topically. Some sedatives are available in spray, lotion or collar form. By spraying or applying the sedative on your dog’s body, it will release the sedatives gradually.
  • Another way and actually the quite risky way of administering the sedative is through injection. Sedatives in the form of injections are injected under the skin, veins and muscles this requires the proper medical supervision and knowledge.
As mentioned by Dr. Jennifer Coates DVM, in petmd, "Your dog’s veterinarian can determine which sedative is best for your dog based on the problem that needs to be addressed and your dog’s overall health. Whichever medication is prescribed, make sure to closely follow the dosing instructions that are provided, never give more sedative than is recommended, and talk to your veterinarian about any questions or concerns that you might have."

Tips and Tricks To Calm Your Dog Without Sedation

dog treats

Here are some tips and tricks you can use to calm your dog while grooming without sedation:

  • Choose a well-trained, professional and experienced groomer, who can handle your dog well without sedation and can calm them down.
  • Carry your dog’s favourite treats and toys along for grooming. When your dog is not listening and showing tantrums give him those treats and toys to distract them.
  • Use positive reinforcement to control your anxious and aggressive dog. You can also use muzzles or play some soothing music to calm down your dog while grooming.

Having the proper equipment like the best dog grooming table uk can also help keep your dog calm during grooming.


Can I sedate my dog at home for grooming?

No, you should not sedate your dog at home. Though you can sedate your dog at home it is generally not recommended. Sedating dogs at home risks dog’s health. It should only be done under the supervision of a vet or any professional.

How to sedate your dog for grooming?

Before sedating your dog for grooming, consult a vet. Under the supervision of the vet, you can sedate the dog. You can either sedate the dog with the prescribed drugs or use some other suggested ways or products too. You can even use the natural remedies to sedate your dog.

How do you groom a dog under sedation?

Grooming a dog under sedation is not easy, and usually not recommended too. But if you are still doing it then follow the precautionary measures. Consult a vet on the way to sedate the dog, once done wait for at least 30 minutes before you sedate your dog. While grooming the vet should keep check on the dog’s vitals.

Is there a natural sedative for dogs?

Yes, there are natural ways to sedate your dog. To sedate your dog naturally you can use chamomile, lavender, valerian, passion flower or CBD oil. Before using this natural sedative for a dog, make sure your dog is not allergic to any of these ingredients.

Is it safe to sedate older dog for grooming?

No, it is absolutely not safe to sedate an older dog for grooming. Older dogs are as it is suffering from pre-existing illnesses in such a situation if you give them the sedate then it can have an adverse effect on their health. Apart from this the older dogs are a lot more sensitive and can react negatively to the sedative.


Sedating dogs is generally not recommended as it has some ill effects associated with it too. But after trying all the possible means if still your dog is not calming down then sedatives can be used to prevent injury or harm to your dog.

We hope that through our blog, “How to sedate your dog for grooming?” we have provided you with much-needed information. We have tried to be informative and cover all aspects regarding the sedatives and how to administer them.

Always remember to sedate your dog under medical supervision only to prevent any harm to them.


  1. Anxious behavior: How to help your dog cope with unsettling situations. (2023, November 27). Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
  2. Guidelines on Anesthesia and analgesia in Dogs | Research A to Z. (n.d.).
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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