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Why Is My Dog Itching After Grooming? Asked & Answered

Why Is My Dog Itching After Grooming

We know how distressing it can be to see our pups itching after a grooming session, so obviously we need to know why. It’s awful watching your pup scratch all over in itchy frustration. Naturally, you want to find appropriate solutions to stop their discomfort and help them return to their happy, healthy selves.

One of the most obvious reasons is the shampoo. Quality shampoos can help maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance, soothe irritation, and promote a healthy coat. They are also less likely to cause adverse reactions or trigger allergies.

To answer your questions, we have consulted our expert source, Skin Diseases of Dogs and Cats, Dr. by Steven A. Melman, DVM. Let’s look at why your dog is itching after grooming.

10 Reasons Your Dog Is Itchy After Grooming

10 Reasons Your Dog Is Itchy After Grooming

1. Inflammation of the Skin (Dermatitis)

Inflammation can cause itchiness because it triggers a response in the immune system that releases histamines. Histamines can irritate your pup’s skin, leading to itching sensations. It is an immune response with possible causes like allergies, parasites, immune disorders, and injuries.

Additionally, inflammation can disrupt the normal balance of moisture and oils in the skin, making it dry and more prone to itching. Inflammation plays a role in many of the other potential causes.

2. Using low-quality or harsh shampoos with irritating ingredients 

Using low-quality or harsh shampoos can lead to itching after grooming. These products may contain chemicals or additives that irritate the dog’s sensitive skin, causing itching. They may also cause dry skin. You should always choose high-quality dog shampoos specifically formulated for their gentle and nourishing properties.

3. Allergic reactions to grooming products

Dogs can develop allergic reactions to the products used during grooming. These allergic reactions can manifest as itching, redness, or skin irritation. Be aware of any known allergies your dog may have, and choose hypoallergenic or fragrance-free grooming products.

4. Skin irritation from excessive grooming or handling

Excessive or rough handling during the grooming session can cause skin irritation. Over brushing, aggressive combing, or excessive use of grooming tools can lead to redness, inflammation, and itching. Scratching the itch can also lead to a secondary skin infection like a hot spot that can make the whole situation worse.

Shaving a dog can also lead to itching and skin issues. See the video below of a dog with razor burn.

5. Underlying skin conditions 

Dogs with pre-existing skin conditions like dermatitis or contact allergies are more prone to itching after grooming, and can lead to issues like patchy hair loss and scabs. Grooming procedures, such as bathing or brushing, can exacerbate these conditions, leading to increased itchiness. 

6. Not rinsing your pup properly

Not rinsing properly and leaving the shampoo on your dog’s skin and coat can lead to itching. Residual grooming products can dry out the skin or cause irritation. 

7. Sensitivity to specific grooming techniques or tools 

Sensitivity to specific grooming techniques or tools 

Some dogs may have specific sensitivities to certain grooming techniques or tools. For example, they might be more prone to itching if you use a particular soap or grooming tool. Observing and understanding your dog’s individual sensitivities can minimize discomfort and itching.

8. High-temperature blow drying 

Excessive or high-temperature blow drying can dry your dog’s skin, causing itchiness. Use a low-heat setting and maintain a suitable distance when blow-drying the coat to prevent excessive skin drying.

9. Inadequate grooming leads to matting or tangles

Not grooming your pup frequently enough can result in matting or tangles in their coat. These mats can pull on the skin, leading to irritation and itchiness. 

10. Stress or anxiety caused by the grooming process

Some dogs may experience stress or anxiety during grooming and it is possible that they start to scratch out of stress (canine pruritus). There are many reasons a dog may get anxious during grooming. Examples include past negative experiences, a fear of water, or terror at the sound of a hairdryer. However, separation anxiety is most likely the main cause if they are left at the groomer.

Prevention Of Itching In Dogs After Grooming

To prevent itching in dogs after grooming, consider the following measures:

  • Choose high-quality, hypoallergenic dog shampoos and grooming products.
  • Test grooming products on a small area of the dog’s skin before using them extensively.
  • Ensure proper rinsing during and after bathing to remove all shampoo and conditioner residue.
  • Use gentle grooming techniques and avoid excessive brushing or handling.
  • Regularly inspect the dog’s skin for any signs of irritation or skin conditions.
  • Maintain a consistent grooming schedule to prevent excessive matting or tangles.
  • Regularly check for and address any flea or tick infestations.
  • Seek professional grooming services from experienced groomers who prioritize the dog’s comfort and well-being.
  • Consider using natural remedies for soothing products, such as oatmeal-based shampoos or conditioners, with aloe vera to soothe inflammation.
  • Monitor the dog for signs of stress or anxiety during grooming and provide a calm and reassuring environment.

Treatment For Itching In Dogs After Grooming Or A Bath

Here is a list of treatment options along with a brief description for addressing itching in dogs after grooming:

  1. Consult a veterinarian: Seek professional advice to diagnose the underlying cause of the itching and receive appropriate treatment recommendations.
  2. Medicated shampoos: Use specialized shampoos prescribed by a veterinarian to alleviate skin irritation and treat underlying conditions.
  3. Topical treatments: Apply vet-recommended creams, ointments, or sprays to soothe and heal irritated skin.
  4. Anti-itch medications: Administer oral or topical medications designed to relieve itching and reduce inflammation.
  5. Allergy management: Identify and manage potential allergens through dietary changes, hypoallergenic products, or allergy shots, as recommended by a veterinarian.
  6. Parasite control: Treat for fleas, ticks, or mites using vet-recommended products to eliminate infestations that may cause itching.
  7. Dietary adjustments: Switch to high-quality, hypoallergenic dog food that promotes skin health and addresses potential food allergies.
  8. Moisturizers and skin supplements: Use vet-approved moisturizers or supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, to nourish and improve the skin’s condition
  9. Preventive measures: Regularly groom and maintain your dog’s coat to prevent matting, which can contribute to itching and skin irritation.
  10. Behavior modification: Employ techniques to reduce stress or anxiety during grooming, such as positive reinforcement training or desensitization exercises.

When to See a Vet If Your Dog is Itching After A Bath

Here are some key points regarding when to see a vet if your dog is itching after grooming:

  • Intense or prolonged itching despite home remedies or over-the-counter treatments.
  • Visible signs of skin irritation, such as redness, inflammation, or sores. Also see our article on pink bumps on a dog’s eye.
  • Pale gums, struggling to breath, or signs of anaphylactic shock from an allergic reaction to a grooming product like a shampoo.
  • Rashes, lesions, or hot spots accompanying the itching.
  • Self-inflicted wounds, excessive scratching, or hair loss.
  • Changes in behavior, appetite, or overall health.
  • History of allergies or pre-existing skin conditions.
  • Frequent recurrence of itching episodes after grooming.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do haircuts make dogs itchy?

Haircuts themselves do not necessarily make dogs itchy. However, grooming involves using tools, excessive brushing, or low-quality products. In that case, it can cause skin irritation and itching in some dogs. Proper grooming techniques and gentle products can help minimize the risk of itching after a haircut.

Do dogs normally scratch after grooming?

Some dogs may scratch after grooming, especially if their skin is sensitive or if there is an underlying issue. Scratching can be a natural response to relieve itching or discomfort caused by grooming.

Can dogs be allergic to grooming?

Indirectly, yes. Dogs can be allergic to grooming products, such as shampoos, conditioners, or sprays. Allergic reactions can manifest as itching, redness, swelling, or skin irritation. It is important to choose hypoallergenic or fragrance-free grooming products specifically formulated for dogs with sensitive skin or allergies.

Why does my dog keep licking her private area after grooming?

There can be various reasons why a dog may lick her private area after grooming. It could be a sign of irritation or discomfort in that area, potentially caused by residual grooming products, sensitivity to certain grooming techniques, or underlying skin or urinary tract issues. 


Itching after dog grooming can be caused by various factors, including low-quality or harsh shampoos, allergic reactions to grooming products, excessive grooming or handling, or underlying skin conditions. 

The presence of parasites, improper rinsing, sensitivity to grooming techniques or tools, and over-drying of the skin could also be the culprit. If the itching persists or is accompanied by concerning symptoms, it is advisable to seek veterinary care for a proper diagnosis and guidance.


Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

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