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The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Fabulous Pet Groomer

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Is your potential groomer friendly, tells you about all the services and glad to show you their salon? Then you have the makings of a great Spa Day for your pet!  See what they have to offer. 

If you’re looking for someone who will use exceptional products, offers things like ‘Spa Packages’ and schedules dogs with specific appointment time slots, then the dedication is to actually have the time for lots of individual time spent with your pet. 

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Finding a great groomer is as easy as asking friends and family. If they can’t recommend anyone, You can always check out online reviews. Be sure and check out their social media pages and check for original grooming photos. Most will have a watermark of their logo.  although, keep in mind that any great groomer will be in high demand and be really busy. Be sure to keep that in mind when calling and asking about pricing, or spa packages. 

By all means, ask if there is a good time to come in for a consultation. This way, you get a chance to see what goes on at the shop. If looking for a mobile groomer, most work alone, so see if they have other ways to contact them besides a phone call.

If you’re looking for someone who has really gone the extra,extra mile, search for a groomer through three of the main professional certification organizations. Any groomer that has gone through a certification program is serious about being the best of the best!

Don’t fall off your chair, but anyone can pick up a pair of clippers, advertise anywhere and say they’re a professional groomer! I know! Crazy! 

So your goal is to find someone who actually knows a pretty good chunk about dog and cat health, structure, dog and cat anatomy, gentle handling techniques and so much more! 

Your best bet would be to find someone with these credentials with any of the organizations listed here. If you Google “Certified Pet Groomer” your search results will show a few online organizations on how someone could get an online certificate of completion, but that in no way means they will have gone through the rigorous written tests and hands-on practical tests that someone has gone through who is actually and truly certified with one of these organizations. 

You can go to the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA)  International Professional Groomers (IPG) International Society

of Canine Cosmetologists (ISCC)  The Professional Cat Groomers Association of America (PCGAA) and the National Cat Groomers Institute (NCGIA)

All these organizations have a way for you to search for a professional in your state.

If you find a groomer that you like, check out their salon and see if they have won any awards in grooming competitions or have actually competed. Competing is fun and rewarding so groomers that have competed are seriously proud of their work. Even if they didn’t place. 

What’s That Smell?

If you have to ask, this may not be the salon for you or your four-legged family member. Unless it’s the scent of a great fragrance or shampoo. Bad odors in a salon are indication cleanliness may not be up to par and can even cause danger for your pet! Make sure that your groomer is aware of the PPGSA (Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance.) If they look at you funny when you ask about it, then they have no idea. 

Time Sensitive

By all means, if you need to cancel or your pet’s feeling under the weather, alert your groomer ASAP. Please don’t assume all we groomers do is play with puppies and kitties all day.  Most groomers will ask for at least 48 hours in order to cancel an appointment. This is a job we take seriously and we usually can’t fill an appointment the same day so this means it hits us hard if you cancel your appointment at the last minute so many of us have a cancellation policy in place.  

Breakfast, Tea and Wee?

Be sure that your pet has had time to enjoy their breakfast or snack with plenty of time to potty.  Imagine how hard it would be to try and relax during a massage or sit through a long appointment at the hair salon with a full belly and an urgent need to use the restroom.  It’s the same for your pet.  

 

Never Wanna Say Goodbye
Make drop off or goodbye short and sweet. If you’ve ever had to drop off a kindergartener at school for the first time, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Remember. You set the tone. Long drama-filled goodbyes are actually more stressful for your pet and actually set them up to be fearful during the time they are away from you. Having the same caretaker is always a plus in this situation. Dogs are all about routine.   

Great Expectations

Be sure that You have a general idea of what kind of style you would like for your pet. A good professional groomer will always do their best to take into consideration your pet’s breed, your pet’s lifestyle, and coat quality. If your pet enjoys hiking, swimming and frequent trips to the beach, a shorter coat may be the easiest style for him or her.  If you have an idea, and the hair is there, any great groomer will make every effort to make a particular style happen. Don’t laugh, but I’ve had many requests for big and fluffy on a dog with barely enough hair for a bow!   

Ask if your groomer grooms to breed standard

 Which means they will aim to preserve the look of each breed. If the groomer you’re interviewing seems unsure, I would definitely question their expertise.

 A true professional will love grooming mixed breeds and love the freedom of getting creative in combining the best characteristics of both combinations.
Open communication is always key. The fun part is seeing a happy dog and a happy pet parent at the end of each groom!  

You Get What You Pay For

Don’t search for a groomer based on the cheapest out there. Any groomer advertising rock bottom, low prices will not have the resources to buy quality products, Keep their tools sharpened and maintained, or their equipment such as dryers, tables and pet areas checked over for rust and wear. 

They also will not be able to afford continuing education and be able to offer better skills or techniques. There are many trade shows every year all over the country for groomers to improve their businesses and education and groomers that are not investing in their trade, will not be able to invest in you or your pet.  

The mark of a great Pet Professional is proud to advertise any new information they have learned. The excitement of learning the very best ways to groom pets is something to look for in the next person spending time with your pet.

 

Staying Consistent

Once you find that favorite groomer, be sure and see about getting on a rotating schedule. Four to six weeks is the best. A good rule of thumb (or paw!) to keep in mind is, the longer the coat, the more frequent your pet will need to be groomed. 

Better yet, make sure that you keep a standing appointment. This will ensure that your pet will be a priority when you need a fresh, clean pet around busy holidays.  

Remember, pets get used to a regular routine. Bonus! Being consistent will also help your pet get used to the process and be able to bond with his or her groomer. Which is always a great thing! 🙂