When you think about the health of your dog, perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is making sure his food has high nutritional value, that he’s getting plenty of exercise and goes on regular visits to the vet. But did you know that grooming has a big impact on your fur kid’s health as well? You read that right! Even the simple act of brushing your dog’s coat can help prevent grooming issues such as dirt or dandruff.

Even if most fur parents prefer to groom their dogs by themselves, it’s still a good idea to consider a highly-skilled professional dog groomer. What exactly do you need to find out before you hand over your beloved dog to one? Here are some tips to help you find a groomer you and your pet will love.

Tip #1: Check The Groomer’s Credentials

Although formal schooling and licensing are not requirements to become a pet groomer, it’s still important to choose someone who has studied dog grooming with an expert. Anyone can take a pair of scissors and cut and brush a dog’s fur or clip his nails, but a well-trained groomer goes beyond just the basics.

At a dog grooming school, lessons include safety practices, animal behavior, and control, recognizing skin disorders, proper use of grooming products and where to source them, and bathing procedures.

With a certified groomer, you’re assured that he’s had proper education and capable of giving expert advice. You’d also want to work with someone who belongs to certifying organizations such as the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists, International Professional Groomers Inc, and National Dog Groomers Association of America.

Tip #2: Ask About Products Used at the Salon

One thing to remember when using products such as shampoos, rinses, dental supplies, and cleaning solutions is to make sure that they’re formulated for your pets. Shampoos and other grooming supplies that humans use can cause skin irritation. Take note of the following especially if you are grooming pets at home as well:

  • Use the right kind of brush. Different strokes for different folks and it all boils down to what your pets require. For example, if your pet’s fur coat is long, it’s more likely to get tangled or matted compared to the short-haired beauties. Brushes with wire bristles are ideal for getting rid of tangled or matted fur.
  • Avoid shampoos with weird-sounding ingredients. Harsh chemicals can wreak havoc on our pets’ sensitive skin. Shampoos, conditioners, and rinses should be gentle and natural as much as possible.
  • Cleaning solutions such as ear cleaners should have ingredients that effectively keep harmful bacteria and mites away but are still safe and gentle enough for pets.

Tip #3: Don’t Hesitate to Tour the Premises

You might think that it’s a bit too much asking to see the grooming stations, but it’s important that you get to see if the place is clean, organized, and well-managed. One thing to “sniff” around for is the smell. Sure, a place might look clean and organized at a glance, but you can’t mask foul odors that emit from trash that isn’t being properly disposed of.

Take a look at other pets as well. It’s perfectly normal for some dogs to be clamoring for their owner’s attention. But when the noise is unusual and more than a few dogs are barking unhappily, you might want to rethink about leaving your dog with them.

Observe how they are being groomed. Are restraints too tight? Are dogs able to sit down while being groomed?

 How are the groomers handling other people’s pets? Those are questions you should ask to help you decide if leaving your dog with them is a good idea.

Tip #4: Be Specific With Your Dog’s Needs

Did you know that a simple misunderstanding can lead to a lot of errors? Lack of clarity can lead to heartaches. You have this picture in your mind of what your pooch is going to look like after her grooming session. Unfortunately, you were not specific with your instructions or didn’t bother to check how much it would cost you. 

Instead of being happy and satisfied with the service, you walk away with empty pockets or a dog with a funky hairstyle you don’t like at all!

Miscommunication is one of the world’s most serious problems and the only way to stop communication failure is to be specific with what you want. Bring a photo or two of the exact look you want, so you can be clear about the outcome. Discuss costs so you won’t have a mini heart attack when you come back to fetch your dog from the groomers.

Lastly, it’s also important to ask groomers how long it would take them to groom your pet. Paw Culture asked Linda Easton, executive director of the International Professional Groomers Inc. to share tips on finding the right groomer. She related that “the dogs should be ready in a reasonable amount of time,” and that the reasonable amount should be two to four hours total.

Tip #5 Ask Groomers How They Handle Anxious Pets

Again, this might seem trivial but knowing how the groomer will handle Fido during an anxiety attack can put your mind at ease. Expert groomers are trained to handle dogs’ anxiety and fears through positive reinforcement. However, if your dog tends to be unmanageable at the groomer’s, the next best option is to consider a mobile groomer who can come to your home instead.

Pro tip: To make a trip to the groomer less stressful, pet parents should begin training at home.

It’s fairly common for pets to be mildly anxious as they’re being handled by people they’re not too familiar with. But for some poor pooches, it can be a full-blown anxiety attack that leaves everyone feeling stressed. The best thing you can do is associate the salon with happy thoughts. Ask the groomers if you can bring your pet in for a visit to get him accustomed to the sounds of clippers and his groomer.

The Bottom Line

Every dog is different. What might be a happy trip to the salon for some pets may be a nightmare for your furkid. We hope that these tips will help ease your dog’s anxiety about going to the groomer. How do you handle grooming sessions with your dogs? We’d appreciate it if you can share your thoughts on finding the right dog groomers in our comments section below.