No matter how diligent you are in grooming your dog, there will always be instances when you need a more professional hand in giving your pet a more thorough grooming. That’s when you realize that your DIY skills are simply not up to the task. Of course, there are also those who simply don’t have the time or the skills to groom their pets. In either scenario, a professional dog groomer is a must. But the real issue is how you’re going to pick the right groomer for your dog. Here’s what you need to do.
Be Thorough in Your Search
One of the best resources you can ever use when looking for the right dog groomer is your veterinarian or perhaps even the staff at the vet clinic. Through their years of serving pet parents and their respective dogs, there’s a good chance that they already have an idea of where their dog patients are groomed. They can make recommendations based on what other pet parents share with them. Some vet clinics may also have partnerships with dog grooming salons and/or professional groomers. It would be wise to start your search with them.
It is also a good idea to check with the National Dog Groomers Association of America if they have a member within your locality. This is an organization that certifies the professional competencies of its dog groomers while also providing them with continuing education programs to help further the skills and competencies of individual members. They are your best chance of getting a dog groomer that you can expect to give you only the best.
If there are no dog groomers that are members of the NDGAA in your area, you can try checking your local Better Business Bureau. Take note that they can only give you information about dog grooming salons that are registered with them. So, there is a chance that there will be other dog groomers that you may not know about.
Alternatively, you can ask boarding kennels, animal shelters, pet supply stores, and even dog trainers in your area if they can recommend a good dog groomer. Don’t forget your friends and officemates. They might know someone, too. The point is to be exhaustive in your search. Don’t be content on just having one or two recommendations unless, of course, there’s only one dog groomer in your place.
Find Out More about Your Shortlisted Dog Groomers
If you’ve got two to three names in your list, then you should find out more about them. But if you have tons of names being recommended, create a shortlist first. We have to reiterate going for those who are members of NDGAA. Once you have your shortlist, make an effort to dig deeper.
It is important to ask a potential dog groomer about his or her training and experience. As we have mentioned above, not all dog groomers will be members of the NDGAA. However, it would be best if they also received formal skills training for dog grooming. They should have, at least, a certification from a reputable dog grooming school that the person indeed trained at the said school.
In line with the dog groomer’s training, you may also want to ask if he has taken continuing education programs in the past. As professional dog groomers, they are expected to update their knowledge and skills so that they can keep up with current trends. It is not enough that they got their training from a reputable dog grooming school. They must also show a desire to become better at what they do.
Experience-wise, it is advisable to get a dog groomer with at least 5 years of experience grooming dogs. While it is okay to get a newbie, you’ll definitely feel more confident with someone who has been doing this activity for many years. There are certain things that they don’t really teach in training schools that you can only obtain as you serve each client every day.
More specifically, you would really want to know if the groomer is experienced in working with the breed of dog that you have. This is very important because different breeds have different grooming needs. He may have worked ten plus years as a dog groomer, but if his experience involved mostly Shih Tzus, Poodles, and other commonly groomed breeds, he may not be able to groom your Komondor or even Puli in the way that you want.
One very important information you may want to elicit from the dog groomer is whether he has liability insurance. This is not just to protect your dog, but also to protect the dog groomer in certain situations where your dog may have been inadvertently injured.
If you have a brachycephalic dog such as a Pug, Bulldog, or Shih Tzu, you may have to ask the dog groomer how he intends to dry the coat of this breed after bathing. There are certain hair drying methods that are contraindicated in such types of dogs, including elderly canines.
You might also want to ask about his grooming techniques when it comes to behaviorally-challenged dogs or even canines with certain health issues. Hip dysplasia, seizures, skin problems, intervertebral disc disease, asthma, and allergies are just some of the health conditions in dogs that may require some modification in their grooming. You might want to check the dog groomer’s understanding of these conditions before you make any decisions of getting his services.
Pay Your Prospective Dog Groomer a Visit
Ideally, you would want to find out as much information as you possibly can about your shortlisted dog groomers. You can do this on the phone or pay them a visit at their salon.
When you do visit the place where they perform dog grooming services, it is important to look at the setup of the salon. Try to assess if it is clean and well-lit. Adequate lighting is essential in grooming pets as this can help provide better visualization of the condition of the dog’s coat and skin and other body parts that may have to be cared for during the grooming process. For example, you may already want to have your dog’s ears inspected and cleaned and its nails clipped and filed. Without adequate lighting, it would be quite challenging to trim the nails since you don’t want the dog groomer to hit the quick.
Check if it is clean and hygienic. Also check if they have individual crates to place pets in while waiting for their turn at the grooming table. You would want the crate to be safe for your pet. It should also be large enough to allow ample movement from your dog. It is also critical to check if the grooming salon has a separate area or room for crated cats and dogs. Crates that have been used for dogs should never be used to temporarily shelter cats and vice versa.
Also assess the staff of the dog grooming salon. Are they friendly with pets? Do they handle pets as if they are their owners? Do they have what we call the caring attitude of a pet parent? Take note that there are some people who may not really like working in a setting like a pet grooming salon. As such, they may not show the kind of gentleness in handling pets.
This is also true with the dog groomer. Watch how he grooms a particular dog. Does he use force in grooming? Does he disregard the overt cues from the dog telling him to be gentle? Look at his body language and try to ask yourself if this is the kind of person that you would want to groom your pet.
Take note of the tools and equipment that they use. Do they clean the tools before and after every pet that they groom? Or do they have ample stocks of fresh supplies, tools, and equipment for each pet that they work on? You don’t want any item used on one particular dog to be used on another without the item getting cleaned and disinfected first.
Also check if the dog grooming salon keeps a record of all the pets that they have groomed. This can also include pets’ medical and vaccination information as well as contact information of the pets’ owners. This will give you an idea of the level of organization that the grooming salon has.
Lastly, check the different grooming services that they provide, including the cost of such services. You really cannot go too cheap unless you can be absolutely certain that the quality of dog grooming is not compromised. You can always go for the more expensive ones, why not? Just make sure that you are really getting your money’s worth. Not everything that is expensive can be guaranteed to be of high quality. There are those that purposely jack up their prices to create an illusion that their services are of the highest quality.
Choosing the right dog groomer is simple enough. You just need to put a little effort into your search, add a few more to dig deeper, and finalize it by making a trip to the salon before you commit your dog to the lucky groomer.