Going to the dog wash, how to find a good groomer.
Grooming is an important part of our pets’ health and hygiene routine.
Any of us who are pet parents can know the struggle of trying to find someone caring and professional to take care of our four-legged children when they need a good bath or haircut. Only, it’s not just about making your pet look and smell better. Groomers are hands on with your pet for an extended amount of time, and many times they can find things we as pet parents, may not notice. As you may or may not know, I was an academy trained groomer for PetSmart for about 3 years and in my years as a groomer, alongside my co-workers we have discovered many issues pet parents had no idea were even there. I have heard many people say this is a result of in-attentive or neglectful pet owners, and usually this is not the case. Your groomer will have your dog in the bath and on the grooming table for approximately 2-4 hours (depending on behavior, size, what groom is being done, etc.) and in that time they feel every part of your dogs body. This is usually how things will be found, between getting the dog wet to see down to the skin and really seeing whats going on with your pet.
But how do you know if your groomer is experienced and will take the time to really be hands on and take care of your pet? Well, most cities and states do not require a license or certification to become a dog groomer so the best way to find out is to do your research. Many pet owners are in contact with one another and are usually eager to share knowledge and information, the best first step would be to ask any friends, neighbors or colleagues who are pet owners for a referral. They will know first hand how the groomer treats their pet and how the pet acts and looks after the groom. Also, Petfinder.com also has a great online tool for finding pet services near you.
(Now do keep in mind, not every dog will act the same while being groomed. The more accustomed to the process your dog is, the better they will usually be. If your dog has never been to the groomer and experienced that kind of environment, it may be quite a shock to them and could cause them to act out in ways you as a pet parent have not seen before.)
If you have found a prospective groomer, the next step will be to see their facility and ask them a few questions. Go see them in practice, see how they interact with their clients and animals. While you may not be able to see all parts of the salon, you can usually see how the groomer handles dogs on the table.
As for talking to the groomer, you may want to ask them:
- Where did they learn to groom? (did they apprentice? did they go to school?)
- How long have they been grooming?
- Do they keep client and pet service histories?
- Do they offer hours of operation that work well with your schedule?
- What is their pricing system?
- Do they have a safety program for handling pets?
- and How do they handle pet emergencies?
A grooming business or independent salon that can answer these questions with the answers you are looking for could be the appropriate fit for you and your pet.
Once you have found your groomer, communication is key. You will need to discuss any health issues, skin allergies, recent veterinary procedures and any medications your dog is on with your groomer. All of these play a factor in your dogs behavior and can affect the outcome of the grooming experience.
Photo courtesy: akaporn
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