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How to Sedate a Dog for a Hair Cut

Updated February 21, 2017

Getting your dog groomed can be a challenging task if he is very hyper, or if he doesn’t react well to visits to the groomers. Thankfully, there are some safe products and methods you can use to sedate your dog in preparation for his haircut. If you’ve got a dog who may need a little sedation to get him through his next grooming, learning the safe way to sedate him can help make your dog’s next haircut go smoothly.

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  1. Obtain a mild sedative from your veterinarian. Never try to use a sedative you find on your own, as this can be harmful to your dog. Sedate your dog only with sedatives provided by your veterinarian. Talk to your veterinarian about rationing the dosage and the effectiveness of the lowest dosage, such as half a pill versus a whole one.

  2. Take your dog out for some activity, such as a long walk or a short run, prior to grooming. This will help your dog burn off energy, which may help him act a little calmer during the haircut.

  3. Remain calm prior to the haircut. Don’t get overexcited with your dog. She can sense if you’re nervous or anxious, and in turn will react the same way.

  4. Ration the lowest dosage of the sedative prior to grooming. Grooming is a quick process and you don’t want your dog to be over-sedated.

  5. Place the sedative inside a dog treat and give to your dog. If you are taking her to the groomer, do this prior to the trip, allowing about 10 minutes for it to take effect. If grooming at home, give your dog the sedative and wait 10 minutes before beginning the haircut.

  6. Pet and speak to your dog in a calm voice during the haircut to further calm him. If you are going to a groomer, ask that you be allowed to stay in the room for the grooming, or inform him that the canine is sedated.

  7. Tip

    Instead of resorting to sedating your dog every time she gets a haircut, try tapering off the sedative with each haircut until she is able to sit calmly. Often, your dog is reacting excitedly because she isn't sure what is happening, but as she gets used to haircuts, she'll slowly react more calmly without sedation. Try to avoid switching groomers, if you use one; your dog will likely calm down as she gets used to the groomer and salon you’ve selected.


    When you get your medication, try giving your dog a test dose at home to insure he won't have any negative reactions to it, such as vomiting or diarrhoea. Never leave a sedated dog by himself, as he needs to be monitored for bad reactions to medication, and may need assistance with movement. Following the haircut, your dog may still be under a little sedation, so place him in a quiet, calm area to rest and wait for the sedative to wear off. Do not overly excite him or put him with other dogs or children. If taking your dog to the groomer, make sure that the groomer will groom a dog under sedation, as some groomers will not attend to a sedated dog. Always follow all instructions that accompany your pet’s sedation medication, and never try to give him more than the recommended dosage. Save sedating your dog for very rare occasions, as constant sedation can have negative long-term effects on your dog.

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Things You'll Need

  • Mild sedative

About the Author

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.

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