“I want to find the right groomer, but don’t know where to begin!”
At an initial glance, the above phrase may seem silly. It is just a person who can bathe and blow dry my dog, right?! Unfortunately, it is not just that simple. In my experience and from horror stories, things can go very wrong when your furry companion is not in the right hands. It is so worth the time, stress, and money to do your research on what your dog is going to need from a groomer and what a groomer can do for your dog.
Who exactly is a groomer?
A dog groomer is a professional individual who maintains the cleanliness and physical appearance of a dog. They are able to bathe, dry, cut and shape fur, clip nails, clean out ears, and brush teeth. It is important to recognize that not every groomer is going to know how to properly groom every single breed. Groomers will specialize in sizes, breeds, haircut styles, or temperaments. Additionally, some groomers may be new while others have been doing this for decades. Their skills and your needs as a dog owner are going to vary, so it is worth your time to do the research and make sure that you know your dog is going to be taken care of.
Where do I begin?
Post on a Facebook group, Nextdoor, or ask your friends for recommendations. If you like how your friend’s dog looks and they are the same or similar looking breed, their groomer may be a good fit! Social media sites are also a great way to get experiences or recommendations from a wide net of people, as in the case of using Facebook or Nextdoor. I found my current groomer from friends I have made at my local dog park, and it was a great way to get an understanding of the groomer from their experiences!
Once you have found a list of potential groomers…
do a quick Google search! Some may have yelps or websites where you can get their pricing sheet and what types of dogs they specialize in. I like to look around for bonus add-ons, like facials, teeth cleaning, or mat-removals. Some sites have dogs they have previously groomed, or brands they partner with to use their cleaning products. How they schedule appointments may be virtual or over-the-phone, so definitely keep an eye out for this information.
After you have narrowed your list, get them on the phone!
Ask what their availability is like and if they have experience grooming your dog’s breed, temperament, and hairstyle. Also, it is common to ask what their training is and how long they have been grooming for. My dog fidgets and gets nervous, so I made sure to confirm their experience with these types of dogs and ask how they soothe them during the grooming process. If they seem legit, make an appointment and ask if you can come early to look at the facility or where your pup will be. Be sure to ask where your pup will be housed while they wait for pickup.
Feel comfortable asking the groomer how they handle emergencies and accidents!
Do they have liability insurance? Have major incidents occurred in the past? Do they have a first aid kit? These are a few questions to ask in the case that an accident occurs and your dog needs medical attention. Accidents should not be a “regular” thing or something that comes with the “territory”, so do not brush off a comment like this. You should be comfortable knowing that you are leaving your dog in responsible, knowledgeable hands where they will be cared for in all situations.
After you have made the appointment…
When you feel that this is the right groomer, let the magic happen and make that appointment! It is so exciting to watch your pup get beautified and pampered. After the appointment, your pup should look happy and at ease. They may be a bit nervous after being away from you for a period of time, but they shouldn’t be overwhelmingly distressed. My Yorkie gets nervous even on quick drives, so I know that she may look nervous, but she always wags her tail and barks when she sees me after a groom! If your pup is acting overly upset or anxious, their experience may have not be the best and it might be the right decision to try another groomer. Not everyone clicks, and that is okay! The most important thing is finding the right match so that grooming is a positive experience.
Communication is key!!
The biggest aspect that I can emphasize during this process is honest, positive communication! This is something that you really want to be able to maintain when interacting with your groomer, especially when you first meet them. You should be able to ask questions, specify what you want your dog to look like, get maintenance advice, and learn about their grooming experience. Groomers have an intimate knowledge of this aspect of a dogs health, so it is worthwhile to maintain those communication lines where they can be a resource. Groomers can spot ear, eye, or skin infections, tooth decay, or really anything else that may be superficially hidden by the dogs fur. If the groomer is defensive or unable to answer basic questions or at the minimum point you in the direction of answers, they may not be the best fit.
Best hairstyles for a Pom? Well, that is for another blog post! Be sure to follow our written journey for more Pomeranian care tips.