When moving to a new area, and I could no longer ignore the daily reminder of fur covering my dog’s eyes, I eventually had to go through the process of finding a new groomer. Just like when you and I have to find a new doctor or hairdresser – there are a lot of options – but, not every one is going to be great.
Why use a groomer?
My dog gets a three-monthly full groom. It’s easier to keep him clean if he’s well clipped and groomed, and being an inside dog, the house also stays cleaner too. Importantly, I say say he looks better too when he’s freshly trimmed. For some people they can handle most of their dog’s grooming needs themselves at home, such as general bathing and brushing/trimming their dog’s fur.
Some breeds are traditionally groomed to a breed standard style, and if this is important to you, it’s difficult to do well without proper practice and training. If you can’t give your Poodle a Poodle standard cut – get a professional to do the job instead.
You may also require professional dog grooming services if you don’t have the right tools, time, experience and physical ability to groom your dog adequately yourself. Your dog may also need specialised grooming i.e. seasonal or regular clipping, flea treatment, removal of odour, removal of matted fur etc.
You may also need the services of a professional dog groomer when you are worried about the safety of your dog. Some dog grooming procedures are very sensitive and can easily harm your dog when they are done improperly i.e. ear and eye cleaning.
Choosing a dog groomer
To avoid choosing a dog groomer who barely knows more than you when it comes to dog grooming, you can follow some simple steps:
- Use referrals: The very best way is to ask other dog owners for referrals. Asking your vet is also a good starting point if you’re not sure. Your other dog service providers, like boarding kennels or dog walkers, can be good sources for advice too.
- I’ve found the Internet and review sites are a second best option to getting a personal recommendation. Try to use them just to build up an overall picture and awareness during the selection process, or if you don’t have anyone that you know in a new area to refer you.
- Speak with those groomers that you’ve shortlisted. This is the most important step. You’re a good judge of character. It doesn’t matter how good a dog groomer seems from third party information, you must do your own research by calling and/or interviewing the groomer. The main aim of the interview is to find out if your potential dog groomer has undergone formal training, how experienced they are, the techniques/tools they use, if they have the proper certification/s, if their staff are friendly, the premises clean, and if they are members of professional dog grooming organisations etc.
- Make a decision on the important factors. Ideally look to professionalism and reputation before choosing on price alone. If you find a good groomer, but the price is a little out of your reach – ask if there’s a way to reduce it by opting out of some non-essential services. For example, you could get a trim rather than a full groom every other visit to save some costs.
- Location is also an important factor to consider since you want your professional dog groomer to be conveniently located near your home or workplace.
These are the steps I’ve used myself when choosing a dog groomer. The steps to follow are simple if you’re methodical and trust your instincts. Perhaps the final tip would be, if you’re unhappy with the choice you’ve made – it always pays to keep looking and experiment with another.