Dog Keeps Licking Anus After Grooming – Why Is That?

Many pet parents wonder why their dog keeps licking his anus after grooming.

Or why does the dog’s bum look all red and irritated?

Not exactly what they were expecting.

After all, for us, humans going to the beauty salon is a most pleasant experience and we walk out all glowing and happy. 

The big difference is that a grooming session is way more intrusive than your regular visit to the salon, not to mention that your pooch cannot complain if he was a bit rough-handled or the groomer nicked his skin.

So, let’s see what could have gone wrong during the grooming session and what makes your dog lick his anus like there’s no tomorrow.

Close shave

Some pet owners are very specific and ask the groomer to cut a bit of the hair over the dog’s eyes or on their legs.

However, if your dog has a thick coat you may want to get rid of it all when summer comes.

This means the groomer will shave the dog all over, including his most sensitive areas.

It may not be the groomer’s fault at all.

How many times have you cut yourself while shaving?

If you see your dog licking his bum excessively after grooming, you can safely assume there is a small cut that’s bothering him.

Or it may be some sort of skin irritation and he’s simply focusing on the area around the anus which is more sensitive. 

What to do if the dog’s bum is red after grooming?

If the dog’s anus is red after grooming, he’s dealing with some sort of skin irritation.

It may very well be caused by the grooming process or the redness is caused by his obsessive licking.

Either way, you have to help the poor guy. You can do this by preparing a soothing bath, something with oatmeal, for instance.

Your dog won’t be too happy to have to take another bath so soon after the grooming session but ignore his protests.

Make sure the water is only lukewarm. He doesn’t need hot water when his rear end is already irritated. 

On the other hand, you’ll have to stop your dog from licking himself as this can only make the situation worse. 

A surefire way to stop your dog from licking his bum is to put an Elizabethan collar around his neck, but he may view this as adding insult to injury. Most dogs hate this type of device. Obviously.

If you’ve got time on your hands, you can try to take his mind off the annoying sensation of itching and burning in his privates. 

  • Take your dog for a long walk, only do not allow other dogs to get too close to his butt. For dogs this is a get-to-know-you ritual, but, under the circumstances, your dog may react angrily. 
  • Play with your dog. Get out his favorite ball and engage in a Fetch game.
  • Throw a dog a bone. That never fails to distract a dog. If you have a nice juicy bone in the freezer now would be a good time to get it out. It will satisfy his chewing instinct, get him something to think about, and exhaust his energy. 

This is the whole point, get the dog so tired he’ll sleep soundly and let the irritated area heal.

Watch out for signs of infection

Skin irritation is unpleasant but it will go away on its own. On the other hand, if the dog keeps licking his anus after grooming, there’s the risk he’ll draw blood and leave the area vulnerable to bacteria. If the situation doesn’t improve and you notice swelling or pus, it’s no longer a wait-and-see type of situation. Try to disinfect the area as best you can, using betadine solution or, failing that, a saline solution. Don’t use alcohol! 

Once the area is reasonably clean apply an antibiotic ointment, preferably a canine preparation, but, in a pinch, you can use anything you have in your medicine cabinet. Don’t worry if the dog licks his anal area after that. A bit of antibiotic ointment won’t harm him.

Still, if you see no improvement in the coming days, do take the dog to the vet.

Why is my dog dragging his bum after grooming?

If the dog is dragging his bum or scooting, it’s probably to relieve itchiness. Even if there’s no cut, the recently-shaved area may feel weird.

You also have to consider the possibility that there’s a problem with his anal glands. If you asked the groomer to take care of this icky problem for you, the dog may be upset with the intrusion. Also, the groomer may have been a bit too rough or inexperienced and hurt the dog while trying to express the anal sacs. 

If the area appears red and sore, you may again try a soothing bath or taking the dog out to make him forget about the things they did to him at the grooming parlor. 

Watch out for the next bowel movement. See if your dog seems uncomfortable while doing his business if he yelps in pain or seems to be straining more than usual. If there’s blood in the dog’s feces, take him to the vet. This will mean another examination of his rear end, but it cannot be helped. You have to rule out a ruptured sac which could easily lead to an infection. 

Why is my dog sitting after grooming?

Same thing. If you notice your dog just sits there, with his butt pressed against the floor he may be doing it to relieve irritation. It’s one way of making sure no one is going to do anything to his bottom. Also, the area dog’s butt may be a bit irritated by the whole procedure, and sitting on the floor just calms him down. At least he’s not licking himself so there’s no risk of irritating the area further. 

Or maybe he’s just sitting there staring at you to make you feel sorry for what you’ve done. After all, you took him there and paid for the groomer to do those unspeakable things to him. If the dog is angry with you, be extra nice to him, pat his head and explain you only did that for his own good. And, yes, offer your dog a juicy little treat as a peace offering. 

Obsessive licking as a defense mechanism

Maybe you’re just blaming the groomer for nothing. Maybe they did nothing wrong and the only reason your dog is licking his butt with a vengeance is that he’s trying to relieve stress. When a dog licks himself, his brain releases endorphins, and these help combat anxiety, stress and pain. A bit of self-grooming will do him good, especially as his saliva is full of bacteria-killing enzymes.

Yet, if it becomes too much he may lick himself raw, which is not good.

Try to help him relieve anxiety by showing him some love. Give him a good belly rub, scratch his ears, or try to interest him in his favorite chew toy. 

Reinforce positive feelings about grooming

If your dog is too sensitive or easily scared, you should try to make him more comfortable with the whole grooming idea. Ideally, you should try this early on, before the first visit to the groomer.

  • Teach the dog it’s OK to be handled by expert hands. This will also help with the inevitable visits to the vet. You can do this by touching the dog all over, very light and casual as if it’s another way of playing. Frequently touch his paws, inner thighs, and ears, play with his nails and stick a finger in his mouth. It may sound weird, but your puppy will learn that it’s normal to be touched all over so he won’t be stressed when the groomer does it.
  • Accustom your dog to the idea that bath time is fun. If you have a garden, turn the water hose on him, but only if the water is not too cold and the pressure is low. Make it look fun and use soothing language. Or you can put a bit of water in the bathtub, throw in a couple of toys and just let the dog play there. No washing at this time.
  • If your dog is already used to getting a good wash every now and then when you take him to the groomer, bring your pet’s usual shampoo so he knows the smell at least and remembers bath time at home.

Closing Thoughts

If your dog keeps licking his anus after grooming, there’s no need to be worried. Chances are it’s nothing but a skin irritation caused by the grooming process or maybe a little cut. Try to relieve the itchiness by giving your dog a soothing bath. If you notice any sign of infection, apply an antibiotic ointment and check his privates every now and then to see if there’s an improvement. 

At the same time, if your dog is scooting after grooming, you have to assume he didn’t appreciate the groomer expressing his anal glands. There’s a big difference between the dog being upset and him being in pain. If you notice signs of discomfort, maybe the groomer didn’t do such a good job after all and it might be a good idea to have the vet check your dog’s anal sacs, just to be sure he’s OK.