Choosing a Good Dog Groomer
By Shelley Williams
Does the thought of battling your dog into the bathtub one more time make your back ache and head hurt? Well, it might be time to find a professional dog groomer. However, finding the right pet groomer can be as difficult as finding the right hairdresser. Sure, you want your dog to look great and feel fabulous, but you also want to be sure she is safe throughout the grooming process.
When selecting a groomer for your pet, it is very important to ask about the groomer’s experience. Ask how long she/he has been grooming. What breeds is she/he proficient at grooming? Ask if the groomer attends continuing education seminars. A good groomer will always be interested in staying up-to-date. A good groomer will also be able to provide you with a list of clients you can contact for references. Remember, while groomers are not licensed by most states, they should be certified by a dog grooming school.
Check Out the Salon
When visiting a grooming salon, it is very important to take note of the surroundings. Here are some questions to ask: Where are the dogs kept? How are clippers, scissors and blades, etc., cleaned between uses? Do you require pets to be up-to-date on vaccines?
If you own one of the brachycephalic breeds, such as a bulldog or pug, you need to ask the groomer how she/he will dry your pet. A breed of this type should not be left with a hot dryer blowing on the kennel. The same applies for an elderly pet or a pet with special health needs.
Request Grooming Fees in Advance
Grooming fees vary from salon to salon and it is important to make sure you know what is included in the cost of the grooming service. Will the groomer cut nails, clean ears, brush teeth, etc.? What type of shampoos and conditioners are used? If your veterinarian recommends a certain shampoo, do you need to supply it? You might want to ask if the groomer will express your dog’s anal glands. (If your dog does have a problem with his anal sacs, this is something that should be checked by your veterinarian.) By asking what is included, there will be no surprises when you pick your dog up after her appointment.
Let the Groomer Know Your Specific Needs
Remember that groomers are not miracle workers. You need to do your part in keeping your dog brushed between visits. Be sure to explain how much you want cut off of your dog’s coat. Also, if you have allowed your dog’s coat to become matted, they might need to be cut out, which you will be charged for.
Most groomers will not allow you to stay while your pet is being groomed. Your dog will most likely be calmer and remain still on the grooming table without you there. The more excited and jumpy the pet is, the greater the risk for an accidental cut.
Lastly, be considerate of your groomer’s time. Be sure to cancel appointments you cannot keep. Also remember your groomer spends a lot of time going over your dog’s skin and coat, which is much longer than your veterinarian will spend. A good groomer will find things on your dog you might have never noticed, such as lumps, growths and infections.
These are just a few things to remember when looking for a groomer. It may take a few tries to find a groomer you are happy with. Your relationship with your pet’s groomer is essential. She/he should listen to what you want and you should listen to her/his advice before making your decision.
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