How To Choose a Groomer

Have you been grooming your own dog and are now considering using a professional groomer, or do you have a new dog that definitely requires the skills of a trained groomer because its hair is too long, or the dog is too large to handle bathing and grooming it by yourself? If any of these applies to you here are the guidelines on how to choose a groomer.

Whatever the reason or reasons, it’s important that you choose a groomer who not only is convenient to your home and busy schedule, but more importantly, one that will care for your pet as if it belonged to them. Many dogs fear a visit to the groomer because they’ve been mistreated or they were subjected to a groomer who lacked the necessary “dog friendly skills” to correctly handle a pet averse to being bathed or groomed.

Depending on the breed of dog you have, a groomer may be an absolute necessity to keep your dog’s coat neatly groomed and clean.

When searching for a groomer it’s a good idea to first ask your family and friends for recommendations, or ask your vet. Many vets, especially those associated with clinics and animal hospitals, have on-site groomers trained to deal with most any kind of dog – reluctant ones, ticked off ones, and hyper ones.

Before you choose a grooming salon or a groomer in a clinic or animal hospital, ask the person who will be bathing and grooming your dog these questions:

* Does the groomer own a dog? If so, what breed or breeds of dog?
* Do they groom their own dog or dogs and are their dog’s coats kept neat and clean?
* How long have they been grooming dogs?
* Did the groomer go to school to learn grooming or did they learn it ‘on the job?’
* What breeds do they have experience grooming? Be sure your breed is one of them.
* Do they do different styles of cuts for different breeds or are they a “one cut fits all groomer”?
* What hours does the groomer work?
* Will you be notified when to pick your dog up?
* How far in advance do you need to book an appointment?
* What is the fee range for your breed of dog?
* Is the ear hair plucked from those breeds with hair in the ear canals?
* What if your dog ends up needing to be sedated for grooming? Is that service offered?
* If so, will it be the vet who sedates and monitors your dog?
* Will the groomer also trim your dog’s nails during the grooming appointment?
* What type of shampoos and conditioners does the groomer use?
* If your veterinarian recommends a certain shampoo do you need to pay for it?

It is equally as important that you do a self-analysis of the facility you’ll be entrusting your dog to.

* Is it kept clean, neat, and orderly?
* Are there unpleasant odors that bother you? If they bother you, think what the experience will be for your dog with its superior sense of smell.
* Where are dogs kept while waiting for their appointments and also while waiting to be picked up afterwards?
* Are they housed in groups with unfamiliar dogs or will they have their own space? Is it a cage they will be kept in? If so, how large is it and what kind of freedom of movement will they have in the cage? Are the cages or waiting areas clean and free of feces and urine after being used by each dog?
* How are clippers, scissors, nail grooming tools, etc. cleaned between grooming different dogs?

Your relationship with your dog’s groomer should be as important to you as the relationship you have with your own hairdresser or barber. They should listen to what you want and you should get the answers to your questions before making your decision about which groomer fits your needs, and the needs of your dog.