For dogs and dog parents, dog grooming services like baths, haircuts, nail trims, and de-matting aren’t just a matter of fashion or vanity. They’re also meant to safeguard a dog’s health and well-being by keeping it hygienic and comfortable. A carefully groomed dog is also better protected from parasites like ticks and fleas, injuries like infected wounds, and serious health emergencies like heat strokes.
As such, when you become a dog owner, one place that you may frequent as often as the vet’s clinic or the pet supply store is the dog groomer’s salon. That said, your pet parenting instincts will likely keep you from entrusting your dog to just anyone. What distinguishes a trustworthy professional from someone that you may regret taking your dog to?
Here are the factors to consider when choosing a dog groomer.
1. They’re trusted by other dog owners
Perhaps the easiest way to find a reputable dog groomer in your area is to see who people are recommending via word of mouth. The best dog groomers have loyal customer bases, as most dog parents would rather not shop around for other service providers once they’ve found the one they’re happiest with. Ask your friends about which salons they patronize, or look for detailed reviews online or on social media. A pet grooming establishment that locals can confidently vouch for is one that you’ll want to visit with your dog.
2. They know the specific grooming needs of different dog breeds
Next, from the inquiry stage to the time that you actually partake of the service, your chosen dog groomer should demonstrate knowledge, experience, and keen attention to detail. They should be aware of the fact that dog grooming isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of service, and that different dog breeds have different grooming needs. Can the dog groomer recommend certain products or equipment for particular services, like giving puppy cuts or trimming a dog’s nails?
Can they explain the rationale behind their decisions? It’s a green flag if they deliberately factor in details like your dog’s breed, age, and coat type. Give bonus points if your dog groomer can recommend easy grooming and hygiene solutions that you can observe at home, like letting your long-furred dog wear dog bandanas for better flea control.
3. They’re gentle and make your dog feel at ease
You should also take special note of how the groomer treats your dog and, conversely, how your dog reacts to them. Don’t go back to a groomer who seems forceful or pushy in their methods, or a groomer who doesn’t give your dog space or time to warm up to them. Dogs are often great judges of character, and you’ll want to trust their judgment for someone that both of you will see often. If your groomer can establish great rapport with your dog – and if your dog even seems happy to see them – take that as a good sign.
4. They keep their tools and environment clean and organized
In a sense, taking your dog to the groomer’s is no different from visiting a parlor or salon yourself. You likely value cleanliness and order from your barber, hairstylist, makeup artist, or nail technician. It makes perfect sense to demand the same from your dog groomer. Dirty and wet environments, disorganized tools, rusty cages, and cluttered work surfaces are all red flags for a dog grooming salon.
Not only are they unpleasant to look at, but they also put your dog at risk of getting sick or getting into an accident at the location. Consider the opposites – immaculate work surfaces and floors, spacious and clean interiors, and well-organized and safely-arranged tools and equipment – as definitive green flags.
5. They’re transparent and communicative
Lastly, it matters for your dog groomer to be communicative and fully transparent about how your dog is doing. You should depend on them to keep you up to date about your dog’s whereabouts when you leave the latter at the groomer’s, and to be forthright about issues like accidental nicks.
Just like other professionals, dog groomers can make mistakes. While you don’t want to entrust your dog with someone who slips up often, you should expect them to be accountable for the few mistakes they may make. That attitude should merit your seal of approval, as well as your dog’s.
It may take some time to find a reliable dog groomer, but the relationship that you and your dog establish with your groomer could be for life. If you find these green flags in a service provider, you’ll do a lot to ensure your dog’s health, hygiene, comfort, and happiness at expressing their unique paw-sonality.