Why Is My Dog Shaking After Grooming? (Decoding The Dog Shiver)

Why Is My Dog Shaking After Grooming

Sending a dog to the groomer for a grooming session can be a dream or nightmare for the dog owner. Some dogs love being groomed while others regard it as ‘soul wrenching’.

As safe and common as grooming is, why is your dog shaking after grooming? Is this even a normal reaction?

Dogs shivering or shaking after a grooming appointment could be likely due to nervousness or anxiety. However, there might also be other underlying health conditions that you might not be aware of.

Let us take a closer look at why some dogs get nervous and anxious during a grooming session as well as other health reasons that can cause shaking in dogs.

Your Dog Is feeling Nervous And Anxious

“All the new sights, sounds and smells can make your dog start to shake or shiver out of fear.”

People who have met my dog tend to comment that he seems very shy for a dog of his size.

And they are correct.

I adopted Bongo from a local animal shelter and he has always been this way.

Not all dogs are boisterous and rowdy. Some are just more introverted

If your shy or nervous dog is at the groomer for the first time, it can be a rather overwhelming experience for the dog.

All the new sights, sounds and smells can make your dog start to shake or shiver out of fear.

Some dogs will even have their tails between their legs. Even humans can shiver when we are feeling fearful about something.

If your dog isn’t used to being groomed at home, the sensation of having its fur and nail clipped won’t be pleasant.

Your dog can even have an itchy bum after grooming.

Some dogs can be disorientated as well if the groomer cut off your dog’s whiskers be it intentionally or not.

The loud sound of the blow dryers is even enough to make some dogs whimper.

Some dog owners hardly even shower their dogs hence getting totally wet and lathered with doggie shampoo can send their senses into overdrive.

Another thing that a lot of dogs are not comfortable with is having their anal glands expressed at the groomers.

It can be an uncomfortable sensation for many dogs. You might find your dog sitting and dragging its butt on the floor due to discomfort.

I can still remember my dog whining and yanking at his leash during his blow dry.

There are dogs that are also not good with strangers and other dogs. Being near strangers and new dogs can up their anxiety levels.

If you have a dog that can’t get along with other dogs, this is something that needs to be corrected.

It can be difficult to find a boarding kennel for anti-social dogs if you need to be away for a few days.

Your Dog Is Feeling Cold

dog cold under blanket

One thing that all dogs have to get at the groomer is a haircut. The groomer will ensure that your dog’s fur is neat and tidy.

Some long-haired dog breeds like golden retrievers, border collies, etc, tend to have their hair cut shorter during the summer months to reduce shedding.

Or it could be that the groomer removed too much of your dog’s undercoat with a Furminator.

It might start to feel a little chilly for your dog if it isn’t used to having its fur trimmed or cut shorter than usual.

Therefore, dogs shaking after grooming could be shivering from feeling slightly cold.

Your Dog Has Water Stuck In Its Ears

Getting a nice refreshing shower is all part of the grooming experience for your dog.

However, there are times when water can get into your dog’s ears, making it uncomfortable.

If your dog is shaking its head and pawing at its ears after coming back from the groomer, there might be some water stuck in its ear canal.

You can try to dry out the ears if you know how to do it properly without hurting your dog’s ear. Otherwise, it is best to take it to the vet to get it done.

Degenerative Joint Diseases

“Dogs with this condition have inflammation of their joints and cartilage.”

Not all causes of shaking are grooming-related, medical conditions can also cause your dog to shake involuntarily.

Some dogs might be having a degenerative joint disease that is responsible for the shakes.

This is similar to humans having arthritis or osteoarthritis.

Dogs with this condition have inflammation of their joints and cartilage.

It can cause some discomfort and pain to the dog when it starts to feel cold while being groomed.

Dogs that are obese, which account for more than 50% of the dogs in America, are more prone to getting joint problems.

This is due to the extra stress that their weight puts on the joints.

Nerve Problems

Nerve problems in some dogs can go undetected for many years.

It can manifest as pain and shakes when your dog is made to be in positions that exacerbate the problem.

Nerve problems can arise as your dog gets older, has been through an accident or even has a pinched nerve.

If you see your dog abruptly sitting on the floor or has a problem coordinating its movements, it could be due to a nerve condition.

What To Do If Your Dog Is Shaking After Grooming?

scared dog

Going to the groomer doesn’t always have to be a doom and gloom affair for your dog.

Here are some ways that you help make it a better experience for your canine companion.

Make Grooming An Adventure

“Get your dog to associate good feelings with the groomers.”

When it’s time to take your dog for grooming, don’t make it sound like it’s all bad.

Dogs might not understand your words but they are intuitive enough to feed off your energy.

If you have a dog that is more anxious in nature, continue to portray good energy during the car trip. Keep talking to your dog in a happy tone.

Even if your dog is acting strangely after grooming from being scared, don’t add to its anxiety by being sad.

Take it for a walk and give your dog its favorite toy or snack.

Get your dog to associate good feelings with the groomers.

Stay With Your Dog

There are some dogs with separation anxiety that can make them fearful when being alone at the groomer.

If you have such a dog, let the groomer know that you would prefer to stick around while your dog is being groomed.

Your dog will definitely feel more relaxed and comfortable knowing that you are around.

Keep your Dog Warm

If your dog has a tendency to feel cold after being groomed, have a blanket or dog sweater ready when you collect it.

You can tuck your dog under a nice thick blanket on the way back.

Or if you are walking back, put a dog sweater on it before the walk home.

Give Lots And Affection

hugging and kissing dog

Last but not least, give your dog lots of love and affection before and after it has been groomed.

Make your dog feel like its birthday all over again.

Giving your dog lots of verbal positive affirmation does help calm it down too.

See A Veterinarian

Medical conditions that are causing your dog to shake like nerve and joint diseases need to be addressed by veterinary care.

This is something that you cannot fix and requires medical attention.

Delaying treatment can make it worsen your dog’s condition over the long term. So please do not hesitate to take your vet for a checkup.

Can Dogs Be Traumatized After Grooming?

“There are also horror stories of dogs being abused during their grooming sessions by impatient or cruel groomers.”

Truth be told, not many dogs enjoy being groomed but they are better at tolerating the experience as compared to cats.

However, some dogs can get traumatized from their grooming session. Incidents can happen while your dog is being groomed.

I know of dogs that have gotten razor burns, nicked or scraped by the groomer.

This can happen when the groomer is trying to groom a struggling dog or a groomer that isn’t very experienced.

This can cause lead to irritated and itchy skin or even a bent nail on your dog’s paw.

Some dogs can also be allergic to the shampoo used by the groomers, making it scratch a lot more than usual or causing adverse side effects.

There are also horror stories of dogs being abused during their grooming sessions by impatient or cruel groomers.

I hope and pray that such a thing doesn’t happen to your dog but such blatant abuse cases do exist.

The last thing you want is for your dog or cat to have PTSD from a traumatic grooming experience.

If you suspect that your dog is being abused by the groomer, get them to show you the CCTV recordings and make a police report if there is evidence of abuse.

Why Is My Dog Not Eating After Being Groomed?

It is pretty normal behavior for some dogs to act strangely after coming back from the groomer.

Some might go into hiding or display some aggression. There are dogs that might not even want to eat after being groomed due to being upset.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it for now. These dogs will take about a day or two to revert back to their normal selves and appetite.

If your dog still isn’t eating after 24 hours, take it to the vet. It isn’t good to let your dog go without food for so long.


Grooming is a necessary activity in a dog’s life. Don’t let ‘what might happen’ put you off from getting your dog groomed.

Many dogs have done so without many problems. Just make sure to address the problem appropriately if your dog is shaking after grooming.

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