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How to Find a Good Dog Groomer

 Mon 27 Feb 2017 by Judy

Advice and tips on finding a good and trustworthy dog groomer for your pet.

All dogs can benefit from being groomed. However, for many long coated breeds, keeping their coats in good condition is an essential part of their health care. Grooming can involve a straight forward bath and nail trim to preparing a dog by clipping and scissoring for the show ring. Whatever the needs of your particular dog, you’ll want to be confident of the skills and experience of your dog groomer. Like hairdressers, groomers will each have their own style and techniques. Levels of competence and experience will also vary from groomer to groomer too.
 
So how do you find a good dog groomer? Here’s some tips on finding your dog the perfect groomer:

  • Check out reviews on salons on the internet.
  • Word of mouth - good old fashioned word of mouth is a great way of finding a good groomer.
  • Look out for other well groomed dogs. If you see a dog that is well groomed while out on the dog walk, ask the owner where they take their dog. Dog owners love to talk about their pets and are normally happy to pass on tips.
  • Ask your vet. A responsible and caring dog groomer should be known to your local vet. Indeed, many groomers actually work from vet’s premises.

When you have found a dog groomer

Once you have found a groomer, you’ll want to ask a few questions. It’s important to go into a salon and meet your new groomer in person. A good groomer should take the time to talk to you about the needs of your dog. The salon should be clean and organised.

Make sure your dog groomer is insured

Your dog will be in the care of the groomer, so it’s important that insurance is in place in case of any accident or injury. Ask your groomer how long they have been grooming and whether they have any formal qualifications. Please note that the industry remains unregulated, meaning anybody can set up a grooming business. Many groomers may have worked for 20 years, but not have any formal qualifications. A good groomer will have studied through city & guilds and will have knowledge of canine first aid.

Does your dog groomer have a waiting list?

A good dog groomer will be in big demand, especially in the summer months, so it’s not uncommon to wait several weeks for an appointment.

How many dogs are groomed at the same time in the salon?

Unlike your hairdresser, your groomer may work on more than one dog at a time. This is fairly standard, and a well organised salon will have suitable cages for dogs to rest during their session. A salon with many barking dogs in cages can be a stressful experience for a nervous dog. Avoid salons if dogs are tied to tables or unrestrained.

Experience with your breed of dog

You’ll want to know whether your groomer has experience with your breed of dog. There’s over 200 different breeds of dog, so it’s unrealistic to expect a groomer to have experience on all breeds. A Bichon Frise for example, requires expert scissoring by hand, and results can look pretty dreadful from an inexperienced groomer. A good groomer will often have a portfolio with photos of their work. This also helps show what type of results you can expect on your pet.

What happens in an emergency?

Ask what emergency procedures are in place in the event of accident or injury to your pet. Your groomer should take your full details and also want confirmation of your dog’s boosters being up to date. Always remember to inform your groomer of any health problems your dog may have and medications he/she is on.

Is your dog happy to go to the groomers?

On your next visit to the groomers, be sure to see if your dog is happy to go to the salon. A reluctance to enter the salon could well be a sign your dog is not happy. Most dogs enjoy the pampering of grooming, but there will always be a certain number of dogs who detest the experience.

How you can keep your dog groomer happy!

And finally once you’ve found your perfect groomer, you’ll want to ensure you maintain a harmonious and good relationship. Grooming is a physically demanding job that can be stressful. Here’s a few tips to keep your dog groomer happy.

  • Keep your dog in good condition between grooming sessions – many groomers will charge extra for time spent dealing with matts and tangles.
  • Make sure your dog has been to the toilet before a trip to the groomers – dealing with dog mess is a major gripe with groomers.
  • Keep up to date with preventative treatments – make sure your dog doesn’t attend the salon with fleas, and keep up to date with worming and jabs. Salons are the perfect breeding ground for parasites.
  • Pick your dog up on time – many groomers have limited space in the salon, so make sure you collect your dog on time.
  • Don’t send your bitch to the salon when she is in season – a bitch on heat can cause chaos and stress to the busy groomer, so wait for your dog’s season to finish completely before booking an appointment.

Are you interested in a career as a dog groomer? Read our article on Working as a Dog Groomer.