Anxiety and Stress

Not all animals enjoy coming to the grooming salon.  In many cases, animals become very distressed when they come to get groomed.  This stress can potentially develop into a life threatening situation if the animal collapses, goes into shock or even stops breathing.  One of the most important aspects of managing stress is recognizing the signs.  Some common signs that an animal is in distress are:

  • Pacing/shaking
  • Whining/vocalizing
  • Drooling
  • Changes in eye appearance
  • Excessive shedding
  • Panting
  • Avoidance behaviors
  • Hiding or escaping

In severe cases animals will have bright red gums, may have an elevated body temperature, and difficulty breathing.  If you see an animal in distress, you should take their vital signs (discussed in this Module).  If the animal appears to be overheating, put them in a cooler area such as shade, air conditioning, etc.  Keep distressed animals away from other animals and areas with a lot of activity, such as a lobby area or dog park.  Do not leave a distressed animal unattended.  If the animal’s condition does not improve within 15 minutes or seems to get worse the owner should be contacted (if not your animal) and it is recommended that a veterinarian is consulted.  Animals that go into respiratory or cardiac arrest from stress induced anxiety may not recover.  It is important to recognize the signs and act fast to save the animal’s life.