Select the Right Groomer

Is your newly adopted dog starting to look more like the Shaggy Dog? If so, it might be time to look for a dog groomer. Dog grooming often means placing your dog for several hours in the care of someone who will be using grooming tools like shears and clippers on him, so it’s important to do your homework and find a groomer you can trust. Here are some tips on how to find the right groomer for your pet.

Do I Need a Professional Dog Groomer?

Apricot poodle getting his hair cut at the groomer.Whether or not you actually need professional dog grooming services depends largely on the type of dog you have, as well as on how comfortable you are handling it yourself. At a minimum, dogs need regular bathing, brushing or combing, ear cleaning and nail trimming, all of which are relatively easy to do yourself at home. If you have a long-haired breed that needs regular trimming, or if your dog has a thick coat that’s prone to matting, you might still be able to groom your own dog. Keep in mind that in addition to specialized tools, such as pet clippers and detangling brushes, you’ll also need plenty of time and patience, and perhaps a partner to help keep your pet still. If you find yourself short on any of these things, it’s probably best to leave more advanced grooming procedures, such as haircuts and removing mats, to a professional. Otherwise, you might run the risk of accidentally hurting your dog and conditioning him to be afraid of getting groomed.

Selecting a Dog Groomer

PetMD recommends following these steps when choosing a trustworthy groomer:

  • Ask around. The easiest way to locate a dog groomer you can trust is to ask for recommendations. You can ask your friends and family, coworkers, and acquaintances, as well as your veterinarian, dog trainer or any other pet professionals you know.
  • Narrow your list. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged against any of the groomers on your recommendations list. You can also check the National Dog Groomers Association of America to see which recommended groomers are members. There are also plenty of online review sites that allow you to read what other people think of the groomer when they took their own dog.
  • Interview potential groomers. Once you’ve narrowed your list, give the remaining groomers a call. Ask about prices and services they provide, any rules or restrictions they have for taking on new clients, hours of operation and any specific questions pertaining to your dog’s needs. It’s also a good idea to ask whether they give dogs bathroom and play breaks, and to ask for references from existing clients. You should also ask if you can tour the facility before bringing in your dog. If they balk at this, you should probably cross them off your list. A reputable groomer should welcome a facility tour.
  • Tour the facility. Pay attention to aspects such as how clean and well-lit the grooming areas are, whether cages offer plenty of room for dogs to move about comfortably, how friendly the staff is and how gentle they are with their four-legged clients. While you’re there, check to make sure that pets left under blow-dryers are monitored regularly to prevent getting overheated, and ask about what kind of records the groomer keeps. Ideally, they’ll not only keep grooming records, but also medical and vaccination records and emergency contact info.

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