Choosing the Right Dog Groomer in 5 Steps
Grooming is a very important aspect of canine care. It is part of our responsibilities as pet parents. Not all of us, however, have the skills and the knowledge to give our pet dogs the proper grooming they deserve. The good news is that there are people who show exceptional skill and commitment in grooming the dogs of others. If you’re on the lookout for the best person to groom your dog, then you should know how to choose the right dog groomer. Here are 5 easy steps to determine the right groomer for your Fido.
Ask for a Recommendation from a Reputable Entity or Someone You Trust
The very first step to choosing the right dog groomer is to create a list of prospects. This will help you narrow down your choice to only the best. Do not be content with having only one name in your list. Today, there are more pet parents than ever before. This also means that the number of dog groomers is also growing.
Your best chances of picking the right dog groomer is by looking at the list of dog groomers of the National Dog Groomers Association of America. The NDGAA is an organization that aims to uphold the professional competencies of dog groomers in the country. It offers certifications and continuing professional advancement courses to its members. You can, thus, expect its members to have all the necessary competencies of a professional dog groomer.
Check the database of the NDGAA if they have members who serve your community or locality. This will help you identify who among the dog groomers in your area has the right competencies to handle the job. Try to make a listing of these NDGAA-members in your area. The next step should help you narrow your list further.
Once you have a shortlist of local NDGAA-members, your next stop is the Better Business Bureau. This is does not offer 100% guarantee, however, since there are questions about how the BBB rates its members. The point here is to determine if there have been issues about the dog grooming service in the past. Customers can lodge a complaint against erring BBB members and you can determine if the dog grooming salon you have in your list has such a record.
If there are no local NDGAA members in your area, the next person you can ask is your veterinarian. They interact with dogs and their pet parents every day. There’s a good chance that they will come across a neat-looking dog groomed by someone in the community. You can ask your vet if he can recommend to you a dog groomer. It is best if he can recommend a dog groomer that has the experience working with the same breed as your dog.
Don’t stop at the recommendation of your vet, though. You also have to ask other people. Your best bet is the dog park. You’ll see dogs with their pet parents there. Chances are you’ll also see a dog with the kind of grooming that you’ll want for your own Fido. You can always strike a conversation with the owner of the dog and find out who the dog’s groomer is.
You can also check your neighbors who have dogs. But don’t limit your asking to only one neighbor. Ask your neighbors within your block. There’s a good chance you’ll have one or two names of dog groomers that always pop out.
Your friends, officemates, and relatives may also know of a dog groomer. Heed them, too.
Find Out More about the Dog Groomer You are Entertaining to Get for Your Pet
The first step in the process of choosing the right dog groomer should result in a list of potential dog groomers. There’s a good chance that these recommendations will result in 3 to 5 names. The next step now is to further trim the shortlist. So if you have 3 to 5 dog groomers in your shortlist, make an effort to find out more about them.
You can give each prospective dog groomer a call and find out how long they have been in the business. If their business is BBB-listed, you can also get the information from there. But it’s always best to ask. The length of their dog grooming experience should give you an idea of their reputation. Dog groomers with ill reputation will not last that long in a very competitive industry. If the dog groomer has been in the business for at least 5 years, this is telling you something.
Also ask about the dog groomer’s experience with your dog’s breed. You may have a dog breed that is quite rare or uncommon. You don’t want someone who doesn’t have any experience with such a breed handle your dog. If you have a dog with a breed that is quite common, then there shouldn’t be any issues.
You can also ask the groomer about the most challenging pet he has ever groomed and how he managed such a challenge. This will give you an idea of the resourcefulness and patience of the dog groomer. Patience is a virtue not only among dog trainers but also among dog groomers. It is best to ask how the dog groomer intends to manage a dog with hip dysplasia, skin problems, asthma, seizures, spinal disc disease, and many more. Asking about the grooming needs of a dog with serious behavioral or aggression issues is also important.
If you happen to have a dog with a short snout or a flat face, you may want to ask about how the dog groomer wants to dry its coat after bathing. This is important since blow dryers are never good for Chihuahuas, Pugs, Bulldogs, and other snub-faced breeds.
You may also want to ask for three of the dog groomer’s current clients. Reputable dog groomers will have no problems giving you references. In fact, they are happy since they know that they have a potential client in you. They know that their clients can vouch for the dog groomer’s expertise. A dog groomer who doesn’t want to give you references may be hiding something. You can strike his name off your shortlist if that’s the case.
Make Time to Visit the Dog Groomer’s Salon Before Making Any Commitments
Don’t finalize your decision without getting a chance to visit the dog grooming salon. It is best to bring your pet during this initial exploratory activity. Remember that your pet is the one that will get groomed, not you. As such it is important to take note how your dog behaves in the dog grooming salon.
There are some salons that have friendlier atmosphere than others. They may come with a miniature playground for pets to have fun while waiting for their turn at the grooming table. Take note of your dog’s behavior. Is it anxious or is it as rambunctious as ever? Take your cue from your dog. If it is calm, composed, and friendly at the grooming salon, then maybe this is the best for your pet.
But don’t stop there. You have to observe the grooming salon yourself. Make sure that the grooming area is well-lit. This makes it easier for dog groomers to perform their trade. Look at the different sections of the grooming salon. Is there a waiting area for both pets and pet owners or are pets carried by their owners themselves?
If there is a pet waiting area, do they segregate dogs from cats? Do they have separate waiting rooms for dogs that are challenging to work with? If the pets have their own crates, is there ample space in these crates for dogs to stand and move about? These may seem like trivial things, but they matter a lot to your dog.
Try assessing the dog grooming staff. Are they courteous, amiable, and approachable? Do you see them going the extra mile so as to make the stay of a particular pet more comfortable and stress-free? How do they handle pets? Do the dog grooming personnel carry pets as if they are their own? Do they wear the appropriate uniforms? Do they have a different attire when grooming and another attire when interacting with pet parents?
How about their pet records management? Is it complete and comprehensive? Do they have all the pertinent information about pets such as grooming history, vaccination and medical information, and others?
How a dog grooming salon is set up will give you an idea whether it’s worth bringing your pet here.
Ask for Appropriate Certifications
Members of the NDGAA always make sure that they update their skills. This means that they can give your dog the best kind of grooming it deserves. It is unfortunate that NDGAA membership does not always guarantee topnotch dog grooming services. There will always be members who may not see the value of continuing education. Hence, it is always best to ask for proof of their certifications.
Depending on where you live, there may be existing laws that pertain to the regulation of dog grooming. If there are, then you should try to find out about these. If the law states that all dog groomers should possess a kind of license, then you can ask for such a license from your potential dog groomer.
There are also certification courses for different types of grooming services. There are those that certify skills that pertain to clipping or trimming a dog’s coat. There are also those for styling canine coats. From nail care to the manual expression of anal gland secretions, each of these comes with its appropriate certification.
One very important yet often overlooked aspect of a dog groomer’s skill set is his understanding of veterinary conditions. You would want a dog groomer who has a background in veterinary medicine or at least proficiency in the biological sciences.
There are short courses for certain health issues like hip dysplasia, skin problems, asthma, spinal disc disease, skin allergies, seizures, and many more. These conditions can make grooming more challenging. If the dog groomer has medical or veterinary training in terms of handling pets with these conditions, then you’ll feel a lot safer for your pet.
Analyze and Understand the Cost of a Single Session of Dog Grooming
There’s one last thing you have to consider before you pick the right dog groomer. It is important to look at the price of each grooming service that the salon provides. Some of these providers can give you a complete package. This can include bathing, trimming, nail care, and ear care for your dog. Some may also include the manual expression of anal gland secretions. Others may provide deworming and teeth cleaning as well.
The important thing to do here is to analyze the different prices for each item. Try to compute whether having a service package is more cost-effective than going for individual services. The problem with a package is that there may be some services that your dog doesn’t need.
In such cases, you might want to ask the dog groomer if it is possible to customize a package for your dog. Some dog groomers allow for customized options, sort of having a personalized service. The issue here is that the cost may come out higher than getting the individual treatments.
Standard dog grooming will set you back by about $30 to $90, often depending on a number of factors. Smaller dogs and dogs with short coat will often cost less to groom than large breeds and double-coated dogs. If there are additional services such as dog dental care, anal gland care, and flea and tick treatments, then these will cost you extra.
Make sure you have an idea of the prevailing dog grooming costs in your area. This way, you will have a basis whether the dog groomer’s prices are within the norm or a bit overpriced.
Choosing the right groomer for your pet dog is not that difficult. Always remember these 5 steps and you’ll be able to choose the right one for your pet.