Baths every 2 months, nail clipping every 2 weeks, ear wax removal every week, fur and teeth brushing 2-3 times a week—imagine squeezing all that into your already busy life. If it sounds impossible, now is the time to select a professional groomer for your dog.
You may say that you can groom your dog on your own. This is definitely doable and can indeed be a rewarding experience, but it takes time and, in some cases, special equipment and learned techniques. For instance, you may find that your dog’s undercoat is matted and you don’t have the tools or skills to fix the problem. What if your dog is a breed with a long silky coat which gets all tangled when you try to dry her off following her bath? Whatever the case may be, it certainly doesn’t hurt at the very least have a professional groomer on standby.
Choosing a professional groomer for your dog is, in some ways, not that dissimilar to choosing a hairdresser for yourself. Start out by asking around. Ask your vet, friends, co-workers, and other dog owners whose dogs look particularly well groomed. Check Yelp, Angie’s List, and other similar sites which feature predominantly honest reviews by actual clients.
Once you have a few potential groomers in mind, go pay a visit to their locations. Does it matter to you whether they work out of their garage or have a fancy storefront? Is it important for there to be a viewing area where you can watch your dog’s grooming session from? Do you want a location close to your work, home, or gym? Know what you are looking for and then assess each groomer’s location based on your criteria.
While not strictly necessary, it can provide some peace of mind to know if your dog’s groomer is affiliated with and certified by a professional groomer’s association. International Professional Groomers Inc., for example, operates in multiple countries and has three certification tracks, each with prescribed curriculum and testing. An endorsement by this or a similar association is a good indicator that the groomer you are considering is legitimate and has the skills you would expect in a professional.
Feel free to ask potential groomers some questions to better get to know their capabilities, experience level, and business structure.
Some useful questions are:
- How long have you been grooming dogs?
- What experience do you have grooming my particular breed of dog?
- What pricing structure do you have? Are services provided individually or as part of a package? If they are a package and my dog does not need some of those services, can I make substitutions?
Once you have done all of the above homework, trust your instincts and choose the groomer which you have the most positive overall impression of. If possible, stay and watch your dog’s first few grooming sessions to see how your dog and the groomer interact.
Finally, enjoy having time for the fun things like going for walks with your dog while someone else does the nasty things like removing earwax.