Dog Limping After Grooming [What Went Wrong?]

Zack Keithy, our author, has been a certified veterinarian technician for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers. Learn more about us here.

Is your furry friend limping after grooming?

It can be distressing to see your dog in pain, especially after something as routine as a grooming session.

While grooming is essential for your dog’s hygiene, it can sometimes result in unexpected injuries.

This can be a result of a muscle strain or sprain, an existing joint issue, or it could be that the groomer cut too much of its nails which caused an injury. Whichever the cause might be, you need to keep a close eye on the severity and decide if a visit to the vet is required.

In this post, I will share more about the reasons as well as offer you tips on how you can prevent this from happening again.

Quick note: You might be interested to read more about the most common dog grooming injuries too.

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6 Reasons for Dog Limping After Grooming

Reasons for Dog Limping After Grooming

Seeing your dog limping after a grooming session can be alarming as a pet owner.

It’s natural to think something has gone wrong, especially if your dog is normally very active and agile.

Your dog might start limping after grooming for various reasons.

It could be one of the following:

1. Muscle strains and sprains 

After grooming, your dog may be walking or running strangely. It could be from pulling a muscle or spraining a ligament if held in an uncomfortable position or mishandled by the groomer.

2. Joint injuries and arthritis

When a dog is on hard surfaces after grooming, you’re likely to observe discomfort because of the pressure on its joints.

This can possibly lead to limping.

Dogs with pre-existing joint issues like arthritis or hip dysplasia may experience increased pain during grooming and other repetitive movements.

3. Pad and nail injuries or over-trimming

If the groomer accidentally cuts a dog’s nails too short or over-trims the fur around the dog’s paw pads, it can lead to pain, discomfort, and limping.

Imagine if you over-trim your toenails, I’m sure that would hurt too. It’s the same for dogs!

And if a dog’s nails or paw pads are already injured, grooming may exacerbate the limping condition.

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4. Heat exhaustion or dehydration

Grooming your dog can be physically demanding because they need to stand for long periods and withstand the pull of clippers, nail trimming, and brushing.

And if there is poor ventilation or your dog doesn’t have access to water, it could end up exhausted, dehydrated, and weak – causing them to limp.

5. Allergic reactions or skin irritation

When grooming your dog at a local salon, there’s a risk they may be allergic to some of the products they use.

These products can lead to allergic reactions. When your pet is itching, licking, and scratching its coat, it could be irritated and begin to limp.

6. Abusive groomer

A dog’s skin and coat are delicate, so any damage caused by neglect or poor grooming techniques can cause pain and discomfort. 

An abusive groomer can cause physical and emotional trauma to your dog.

Signs and Symptoms of Dog Limping After Grooming

Not 100% sure if your dog has a leg injury? Watch out for these signs and symptoms.

Obvious limping, favoring a leg or limb

Dog limping after grooming is usually apparent. It can include a reluctance or refusal to put weight on the affected leg or limb, or a noticeable limp when walking or running.

Difficulty standing or walking

Dogs may have difficulty standing or walking if they experience pain, weakness, or loss of mobility in the affected leg or limb.

Swelling or bruising in the affected area

Swelling or bruising of an affected area may show the dog has experienced an injury or trauma, such as a muscle strain, sprain, or fracture.

Whimpering or yelping when touched

Whimpering or yelping when touched means the dog is experiencing pain or discomfort in the affected leg or limb. It may indicate that the dog has an injury or condition that requires treatment.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Limping After Grooming?

How to Prevent Your Dog From Limping After Grooming?

If your dog is limping after grooming, do not panic!

Here are a few simple tips to keep it from happening:

Choosing the right groomer

Reviews and recommendations from other pet owners can help you find a great groomer.

Talk to your veterinarian, friends, or family members who have had positive experiences with a particular groomer.

Choosing a qualified and reputable groomer and communicating your dog’s needs can help prevent your dog from limping after grooming. Only choose a groomer with adequate facilities or equipment. 

Good grooming isn’t just about making the dogs look good.

You need quality, effective grooming services, and well-trained staff to ensure the animals stay calm and comfortable.

Preparing your dog

To avoid constantly worrying and make the grooming session go smoothly, here are some tips.

  • Get your dog used to groomers: Getting handled by groomers or strangers is not something a dog enjoys. It would help if you introduce your dog to a groomer before the first grooming session. 
  • Brush and comb your dog regularly: Brushing and combing your dog’s coat will help prevent tangles and mats. A detangling spray will also help out greatly, making grooming a breeze, and your dog will thank you for it.
  • Trim your dog’s nails regularly: Overgrown nails can cause pain and discomfort, especially when walking or standing. If you observe that their nails are getting longer, don’t wait for the next grooming session and trim them yourself.
  • Bathe your dog before grooming: Bathing a dog before grooming makes the process easier. Not only does it make a grooming session faster, but it can also lengthen the life and quality of your pet’s coat.
  • Choose the right tools: Caring for your dog shouldn’t be a chore. So, it’s essential to use the right tools. Make sure you’ve got sharp scissors and clippers, and replace them when they become dull. Never pull their hair and take particular care with their paws and ears.
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Be present during the session

Your presence during the grooming session can help your dog become more relaxed, at least during the first few sessions. And you’ll also be aware of what’s going on during the session.

Here are more reasons why you should be present:

  • You can communicate with the groomer: By just being in the room, you can provide feedback and help the groomer understand your dog’s personality and any needs or concerns he or she may have.
  • You can monitor your dog’s behavior: Your pet’s grooming session will be more comfortable and enjoyable if you are present. You can also sense if there is something wrong based on your dog’s behavior.
  • You can catch any issues early: Grooming is the best way to spot potential problems early and help maintain a healthy dog. It can prevent minor issues from becoming severe and even life-threatening.
  • You can provide comfort and reassurance: Your actions can affect your dog’s daily health, so you must be present during each grooming session.

Set the right expectations

Setting expectations with a groomer beforehand can help your dog get the best grooming experience.
Many things can go wrong during a session.

If you set the expectations correctly, both you and the groomer can avoid any misunderstandings.

Here are some tips:

  • Communicate your dog’s needs: Many dogs get nervous when they visit the groomer. Communicating any special needs or health conditions will help the groomer provide the kind of care that your dog deserves.
  • Specify the grooming services: Have a list of your dog’s grooming needs and procedures. It will help the groomer to know what you want and what your dog needs.
  • Discuss the grooming tools and products: Ask about the equipment and products the groomer will use on your dog. Find out what they include in their grooming kit and ensure it is appropriate for your dog’s coat type and skin condition.
  • Discuss the grooming process: Talk to your groomer about the grooming process and what they’ll be doing at each step. It will help you understand what your dog will be experiencing and how to best prepare your dog for it.
  • Ask for updates during the session: Ask your groomer to provide updates during the grooming session and monitor your dog’s progress and behavior. It will allow you to address any issues immediately.

When Should I Take My Dog to the Vet After Limping?

Imagine your dog is limping and won’t use his limb. You don’t know why, and you’re worried about it. 

As a dog owner, the first thing that comes to mind is to take him to the vet.

But before you do that, observe your dog first to determine whether it is serious or not.

If your dog shows these signs, take them to the vet right away.

  • The limping persists for more than a day.
  • The limping comes with other symptoms like swelling, bleeding, and lethargy.
  • The limping is severe.
  • The limping is affecting their quality of life.
  • The limping occurs after a traumatic event.

Can You Treat Limping at Home?

The treatment for limping at home depends on the cause of the limping. 

In some cases, you may be able to provide home care for a mild or minor injury. But it’s best to consult a veterinarian to determine the cause and appropriate treatment of your dog’s limp.

Here are some tips on how to treat limping at home:

  • Rest and restrict physical activity: Give your pet more rest and don’t allow him to move a lot to help the area to heal.
  • Apply a cold compress: Apply a cold compress to the affected area for about fifteen minutes. A cold compress can reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Provide pain relief: Give your dog some pain reliever recommended by your veterinarian to ease aches and pain.
  • Check for visible injuries: Gauze, bandages, and other wound care products can help you treat minor cuts and scrapes.
  • Track your dog’s progress: Keep a close eye on your dog’s limping and health. If the limping persists or worsens, or your dog shows other symptoms, you should consult your vet for further evaluation and treatment.


Why is my dog limping after a nail trim?

A dog may limp after a nail trim because the quick, a blood vessel in the nail, got accidentally cut. Other possible causes include injury, infection, or underlying health issues.

Can dogs be sore after grooming?

Yes, dogs can be sore after grooming, especially if they got cut or irritated with the grooming products. They may also be sore if they are over-handled or over-exerted.

Why is my dog not walking after grooming?

Dogs may not walk after grooming for several reasons, including muscle strain or sprain due to overexertion during grooming, pain or injury due to accidental cuts or burns, joint problems, allergic reactions to grooming products, or anxiety and stress related to the grooming process.

How long does a dog limp take to heal?

The healing time for a dog’s limp depends on the injury. A minor muscle strain or sprain may take 1-2 weeks to heal. At the same time, a more serious injury or condition, such as arthritis, may need ongoing treatment and management to reduce symptoms and improve mobility.

In Conclusion: Dog Limping After Grooming

Seeing your beloved dog in pain can be a distressing experience, so it’s essential to take the necessary steps to identify and treat the cause of their discomfort.

Hopefully, by following the tips and advice provided in this article, you can help your dog recover from their limp after grooming and prevent future incidents.

Like this article? Check out a few other related ones here too:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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