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Dog Itching After Grooming: 6 Reasons Why It Happens

Dogs itch after grooming because of the small trimmed hairs that remain on their skin afterward. They may also itch because of stress or contact allergies to the ingredients in the used grooming products. In rare cases, dogs can get bacterial or fungal infections if the tools aren’t disinfected.

Grooming is essential for dog care. Through grooming, you shape the appearance of your dog, especially if it is a breed that needs it.

Long-haired dogs should be groomed regularly if they cannot be brushed daily. Tangled hair and knots in the fur are breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi. Long and tangled hair also makes a good home for parasites. 

All of this can lead to irritation and itching after grooming.

Many dog owners think their dogs start itching after grooming because the groomer did a bad job. But this is usually not the case.

Why Is My Dog Itching After Grooming?

Itching after grooming has numerous causes. The most common reason is that your dog isn’t bathed after grooming to remove the freshly cut hairs. Other causes include stress, tangled hair, allergies, or skin infections.

There are several reasons why dogs itch after grooming. Here are the main ones:

  1. Freshly cut hair
  2. Stress
  3. Tangled hair
  4. Cutting knives alloy
  5. Allergy to grooming products
  6. Bacterial or fungal skin infections

1. Itching After Grooming Due to Freshly Cut Hair

Itching After Grooming Due to Freshly Cut Hair

When dogs aren’t washed after grooming, the short, sharp, freshly cut hairs penetrate the skin and cause itching.

It is recommended to bathe your dog at home (if your groomer doesn’t do it) to avoid itching.

2. Itching After Grooming Due to Stress

Itching After Grooming Due to Stress

Another common reason dogs itch after grooming is stress. Stress occurs when dogs are scared, which many dogs are at the groomers.

There are many things at the groomers that causes stress:

  • The sound of the clipper
  • Strangers
  • A new location
  • Other dogs

It can also occur when you put your dog into the car to take it to the groomer.

Stress can also cause red, itchy bumps or spots on dogs’ skin a few hours after grooming.

It’s usually stressful for dogs the first time they are groomed as they aren’t used to short hair or a new hairstyle. This can lead to itching and scratching uncontrollably. 

It’s important to act if your dog exhibits this behavior, as it can lead to severe consequences, such as bacterial or fungal skin infections or bloody lesions. 

Make sure your dog gets used to regular grooming when it’s a puppy to avoid problems.

3. Itching After Grooming Due to Tangled Hair

Itching After Grooming Due to Tangled Hair

Tangled and knotted hair creates a great environment for bacteria, fungi, and external parasites. These can make dogs itch and scratch before and after grooming.

If dogs are free of skin infections or external parasites, knots and tangled hairs can also cause itching. This is due to the effort and pressure groomers need to put on the hair and skin when trying to loosen them. 

This causes microtrauma on the skin, making dogs itch and scratch for a short time after grooming.

Brush your dog daily or every other day to avoid the formation of knots and tangled hair. 

You can also use detangling sprays to loosen the knots at home before going with your dog to the groomer.

4. Itching After Grooming Due to Hypersensitivity to the Cutting Knives Alloy

Itching After Grooming Due to Hypersensitivity to the Cutting Knives Alloy

occur when they come into contact with the skin. This causes their skin to become red and inflamed, resulting in itching and scratching.

One of the most common contact allergies to metals is that caused by nickel. This metal is found in the alloy used to make clippers, causing allergic reactions (skin rashes) in sensitive dogs.[1]

If your dog is sensitive to certain metals, there is not much you can do other than avoid letting your pet come into contact with the metals.

If it is a must to groom your allergic dog, you can try to prevent these local reactions to metals by improving your dog’s skin health and immune system. Do this by administering omega-3 supplements and probiotics.

In case of allergic reactions to metals, the vet can also prescribe corticosteroids and antihistamines to reduce inflammation and itching.

5. Itching After Grooming Due to an Allergy to Grooming Products

Itching After Grooming Due to an Allergy to Grooming Products

During grooming, the groomer uses many solutions and substances (shampoos, cleaning solutions, perfume) that can cause allergies in dogs with sensitive skin.

This can happen at any point of complete grooming:

  • Bathing before grooming
  • Use of detangling products
  • Grooming
  • Bathing to get rid of freshly cut hair
  • Drying
  • Perfuming
  • Ear cleaning
  • Anal gland expression
  • Nail trimming

There’s an increased risk of developing allergies to hygiene products when your dog goes to a new groomer for the first time. They may use other products and trimming techniques than your dog is used to, which can cause itching after grooming.

Contact allergies to hygiene products manifest with the following symptoms:[2]

  • Itching all over the body
  • Discomfort
  • Excessive scratching, biting, and licking
  • Hair loss
  • Blisters
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Head shaking
  • Pawing at the face
  • Rash
  • Red bumps
  • Skin infections
  • Red and swollen paws

If you know your dog has sensitive skin, specify this to the groomer to use hypoallergenic products on your pet’s skin.

If your dog is already used to other products, ask if they can use the same brand or offer them the care products you use successfully at home.

Use veterinary products (including perfume) to prevent contact allergies when grooming your dog at home.

6. Itching After Grooming Due to Bacterial or Fungal Skin Infections

Itching After Grooming Due to Bacterial or Fungal Skin Infections

There is a risk of cross-contamination when the clipper, scissors, and the rest of the grooming tools are not disinfected properly and are used on another pet. 

For example, if a dog with bacterial or fungal dermatitis was groomed before your dog, there is a chance your dog become infected.

Skin infection after grooming is called furunculosis (also called post-grooming furunculosis). This infection is caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that is found in soil, water, and skin flora. 

It can also be found in some hygiene products, especially shampoos.[3]

The most frequently affected by post-grooming furunculosis (PGS) are large dogs with thick and short fur:

  • German shepherd
  • Labrador retriever
  • Golden retriever
  • Welsh
  • Corgi

The symptoms of PGS appear in 1-7 days and include:[4]

  • Red, crusty lesions mainly on the neck, back, and tail
  • Local pain
  • Itching and scratching (sometimes)
  • Lethargy
  • Digestive symptoms
  • Fever

Here’s what you can do to prevent PGS:

  • Do not use diluted shampoos.
  • Bring your own products if you’re not sure what groomers are using..
  • Do not use expired shampoos.
  • Do not brush your dog vigorously before or when you bathe it.

Contact the vet if your dog already developed these symptoms.

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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