Can dogs get PTSD from grooming?

  • Date: September 11, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Do you ever wonder if your dog’s grooming experience could be causing them anxiety or even PTSD? It’s possible that dogs can experience PTSD from grooming, just like humans can from traumatic events. Grooming can be a stressful experience for pets, but it doesn’t have to be. By understanding how dogs can develop PTSD from grooming and what steps you can take to reduce their stress, you can ensure that your pup has a safe and enjoyable experience.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after someone has gone through a traumatic event. Common symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, avoidance of certain situations, and emotional numbness. PTSD can occur in both humans and animals, and dogs are no exception.

Can Dogs Get PTSD from Grooming?

When it comes to dogs and grooming, there is a potential for them to experience PTSD-like symptoms. This is especially true if they have had a traumatic experience while being groomed. For example, if a dog was restrained too tightly or suffered physical trauma during the grooming process, it could lead to the development of anxiety and fear-based behaviors.

It is important to note that even if a dog does not experience a traumatic incident while being groomed, the act of being groomed itself can be a source of stress for some dogs. This is due to the fact that many dogs do not enjoy being handled, having their fur brushed, and having foreign objects close to their face and body.

How to Identify PTSD in Dogs

In order to identify whether or not a dog is suffering from PTSD, it is important to look for signs of anxiety and fear. Common signs of anxiety in dogs include panting, trembling, pacing, and excessive vocalization. Fear-based behaviors may include cowering, aggression, and freezing.

If a dog is displaying any of these behaviors, it is important to take them to the vet to rule out any medical conditions. If no medical issues are found, it is possible that the dog is suffering from PTSD.

How to Help a Dog with PTSD

If a dog is suffering from PTSD, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. A veterinarian or animal behaviorist can help create an individualized treatment plan for the dog. This plan may include medication, behavior modification, and other forms of therapy.

It is also important to create a safe and comfortable environment for the dog. Make sure that their space is free from any potential triggers and provide them with plenty of comfort and support.


Although it is possible for dogs to experience PTSD-like symptoms from grooming, it is important to remember that not all dogs are affected in the same way. If a dog is displaying signs of anxiety or fear, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. With proper treatment and care, it is possible for a dog to live a happy and healthy life.

### Common Myths About the Effects of Grooming on Dogs

1. Myth: Grooming can cause PTSD in dogs.
Fact: Grooming can be a stressful experience for some dogs, but it does not cause PTSD. PTSD is a severe mental disorder that is typically caused by a traumatic event. While a traumatic grooming experience could contribute to the development of PTSD, it is highly unlikely that routine grooming alone could cause the disorder.

2. Myth: Dogs can become traumatized from a single grooming experience.
Fact: While some dogs may become anxious or stressed from a single groom, it is unlikely that this would cause long-term trauma or fear. It is important to be aware of the signs of distress in your dog and to take steps to make future grooming experiences more comfortable for your dog.

3. Myth: Grooming can cause physical harm to a dog.
Fact: When done by a qualified and experienced groomer, grooming is generally a safe process that will not cause physical harm to your dog. However, it is important to do your research and find a groomer who is knowledgeable and experienced in working with dogs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs get PTSD from grooming?

Yes, dogs can get PTSD from grooming, especially if they have had a traumatic experience during a grooming session. Dogs can experience fear, anxiety, and stress during grooming, and this can lead to PTSD if the experience is particularly traumatic. It is important to ensure that your dog is comfortable and relaxed during the grooming process to prevent them from developing PTSD.


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