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How To Find A Dog Groomer

Home / How To Find A Dog Groomer

There are no training requirements to become a professional dog groomer. Unlike the human hairstylist industry, grooming is not a field that requires vocational licensing or even professional certification. Though voluntary certification through a few professional grooming organizations is available, it is estimated that only 15% of those working as groomers have achieved the title of Certified Master Groomer. Keep in mind that one may be a member of the organization without being certified. Even the big-box pet stores have minimal training and experience requirements for their groomers. As a pet owner, National Certified Master Groomer, and advocate for mandatory training and licensing, I find this frightening!

For your pet’s comfort and health, he or she should be groomed professionally on a regular basis. Understand that dogs are not born knowing how to be groomed. It is through a repetitive, calm, kind and consistent experience that your pet builds a bond with the groomer and grows to enjoy the grooming procedures. For your peace of mind and pet’s safety, it’s important that you feel confident that your pet is cared for by an experienced and compassionate individual.

There are a few important questions you should ask the prospective groomer before scheduling your pet’s first appointment.

What To Ask


1. How is the pet dried after the bath?

Can you imagine stepping out of the shower all wet, and standing in front of a box fan to dry off?

That sounds like torture. And this is how many salons dry their dogs. This is bad practice, as the outside layer of hair dries, this process leaves a moist layer on the skin which can result in your pet smelling doggy soon after being groomed, or more seriously, developing hot spots and other skin irritations. Ask the salon if the pet is fluff dried or cage dried. Fluff drying is best practice for healthy coat and skin and a longer lasting professionally groomed finish.

2. Does the establishment require proof of vaccinations?

Be aware if the answer is no. The transferring of some canine diseases from pet to pet does not require direct contact. Some pets can be vaccinated and still be carriers. The answer to this one question speaks volumes about how the salon is managed.

3. What type of training does the groomer have?

Does salon staff attend continuing education programs? Is the groomer experienced in your breed? Admittedly it is impossible to surmise a fair opinion about the establishment from a single phone conversation so it is a good idea to visit the salon before making the appointment.

What To Look For


1. Is the salon clean? Grooming is a messy job but working with pets is no excuse for filth and foul odors.

2. Where will your pet be housed when it is not being groomed? Does housing appear to be clean and in good condition? Is the area ventilated and temperature controlled? Are there barriers to prevent your pet from escaping?

3. Does the salon use professionally formulated products? There are salons that actually use dishwashing detergent to bathe your pet. This practice can create a painful ulceration if gotten into the eyes and will cause severe drying and irritation to its skin resulting in excessive scratching.

4. How are salon towels handled? Groomers see pets with skin disorders on a daily basis. Reusing towels without washing and disinfecting is unsanitary and can spread disease and parasites.

5. How are pets with external parasites handled? Are these pets isolated and treated immediately? The transferring of parasites and disease from pet to pet are two reasons why pets should not be allowed to roam around the salon. Roaming pets are a distraction creating a potential hazard when working on a moving object with sharp instruments.

A  Note From Karla


The cost of grooming services is a legitimate concern, and should be a factor in choosing a groomer for your beloved, but it should not be the only factor.

Grooming is a service where experience matters. A skilled and compassionate staff are hard to find, and even harder to keep. That is why skilled and professional stylists and support staff should be compensated fairly. No one wants a broke angry person grooming their dog, working in your child’s day care or your parents’ nursing home.

Professional grooming equipment is expensive… but worth it for the health, safety and comfort of your pet and salon staff. A stainless steel tub with pull-out ramp for the ease and safety of getting a hundred pound pet in the tub, will cost thousands of dollars… the alternative is lifting the pet in the tub and risking harm to staff and pet. Safe, well made, high quality housing for pets is also a huge expense, but again… well worth it.

Maintaining a clean salon is paramount in creating a positive and healthy experience for staff, pets and clients. It is also costly.

High quality products are important too. Cheap, petroleum based products will create skin issues for pets and for those that use them. Gentle, yet effective products are not cheap.

Finding the right groomer for your beloved best friend is important for your pet’s comfort and health. Visit the salon and trust your instincts. Your pet will enjoy the grooming session more if you are comfortable with leaving him. Pets pick up on the parent’s anxiety and apprehension creating a sense of discomfort and fear while parents that feel calm and confident set the tone for a positive and enjoyable grooming experience.

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