Dog Care 101 – Tip #159: How To Choose A Good Dog Groomer

When the air turns warm, we humans shed our winter coats and don filp-flops, tank tops and shorts with the intention being comfortable outdoors. However, humans aren’t the only ones shedding winter coats. Our pups are getting rid of that winter fur too and want to be outside as much as we do!

Best Bully Sticks knows that warm weather and thick fur don’t mix and so it’s up to you, the loving owner, to help your pup shed their winter coat. Many owners groom their pups themselves, but not all owners have the know-how, tools, experience or even physical ability to groom their dogs properly. That’s where a groomer comes in. But how do you know how to pick a good and trustworthy groomer? Best Bully Sticks will help the tips and tricks of choosing a good groomer!

Grooming can consist of brushing, combing, bathing, clipping nails, cutting out matted hair, cleaning ears and medicated baths or treatments. So, don’t just think of grooming as a hair cut. It can meet a lot of different needs.

Finding a groomer should start with asking your trusted friends, your vet, boarding kennel, dog trainer or local animal shelter who they might recommend. All of these people might have a good “go-to” groomer they trust. Checking online for “Pet Groomer” or the National Dog Groomers Association of America’s website is a good option, too. Calling the Better Business Bureau for any registered complaints is also a safe step to take.

Before A Visit

At this point you may have a handful of potential groomers. The next step should be to call groomers and ask a series of questions. (If the groomer has a website, you may be able to find information there as well.) It’s important to find out the full line of services the groomer provides, pricing, how long the groomer has been in business, records kept (vaccinations, medical, vet, grooming, emergency contacts, etc.) and years of experience of employees.

*A Note On Pricing: It’s very important to know what all potential charges will be at the groomer. The average base price for a shampoo and simple cut is usually around $30-$40. However, if you have a large dog with thick hair, the charge can be considerably more. A groomer may also charge separately if they have to de-mat fur or have to use a flea-repellent or other specialty shampoo.

Making a preliminary groomer visit is also a good idea. This way you can evaluate the facility and see if:

  • the facility looks and smells clean
  • pets are handled gently
  • the groomers are friendly and knowledgeable
  • cages are adequately sized
  • cats and dogs are kept separately
  • pets are frequently monitored 

During this preliminary visit to the groomer, feel free to ask questions to understand their process. You’ll also want to let the groomer know your dog’s tendencies and how they react to bathing and grooming. If you and the groomer are still on the same page at this point, ask if the groomer is accepting new appointments and make an appointment that fits your schedule.

The week before your dog’s grooming visit you’ll want to do a few things to prepare your dog for the groomer. In particular, if your dog isn’t used to being brushed, a few times a week brush your dog for 10 minutes to get him used to this routine. This will also help loosen any hair matting that your dog has accumulated.  Don’t feed your dog right before going to the groomer.  Know exactly what your pet’s grooming needs are and communicate them clearly to the groomer. A quick drop-off at the groomer is best as not to create a more stressful situation.

After A Visit

It’s important to note that if your dog acts a little stressed after you pick him up, mostly likely nothing is wrong! It doesn’t mean the groomer did a bad job or your dog wasn’t treated well. The calmest dog in the world might be a little strained after a grooming visit. It’s good to ask the groomer how your dog did and if there were any behavioral issues. Evaluate how you like the cut and look of your dog and adjust your grooming preferences for the next visit. Remember to tip your groomer as well! 

If you’ve recently made the decision to take your dog to a groomer, we hope we’ve made the process a little less stressful. A good grooming will make both you and your dog more comfortable in the spring and summer months ahead!

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