Choosing a Groomer
• Consult your pet’s veterinarian. As with most issues regarding your pet, the vet’s office is a good place to start. Asking for a referral or if your vet prefers a particular groomer can save you time in looking for one. Your pet’s vet may even have a groomer come each week for appointments or have a full time in house groomer. This all depends on what kind of office your vet runs – hospital, emergency clinic, full time vet, etc.
• Speak with other pet owners. Ask around in your neighborhood and friends who have pets. They may be able to point you in the right direction of someone they use and their pet likes. You may also be able to find recommendations in neighborhood Facebook groups.
• Ask your local pet supply store. Many pet stores have grooming centers in them. In the US, PetSmart and PetCo have groomers in their facilities. If you prefer independently owned pet stores, you can ask if they have their own groomers. If not, they are likely to have recommendations for groomers and may even partner with some for discounts.
• Research potential groomers on Facebook and the Internet. Once you have a list of groomers from your vet, other pet owners, and pet stores, use Facebook and review listings to research ratings and what other pet owners are saying. The groomer’s Facebook page and/or listing should give you a good idea as to what services they provide.
• Ask potential groomers for references. Don’t hesitate to ask for references. They may not be able to give them to you right away because they have to ask other owners if they can give out their information. Try to get the names of regular customers that you can contact for a reference and questions.
• Visit the grooming facility. Once you have narrowed your search down to three or four groomers, schedule a time to visit their facility and ask questions. They should have no problem walking you through their grooming process and showing you where they keep pets awaiting pickup. Below is a list of things to look for when visiting a facility:
• Are animals caged or kept in separate areas? Some facilities house animals together and this can lead to problems. You also need to find out if cats and dogs are kept in separate rooms. If not, this can be stressful for your animal.
• Is the facility clean and does it smell? Unless a groomer has just finished grooming an animal, the floors should be swept, grooming areas clean, etc. It may not smell like roses simply because this is a grooming facility for animals. However, there should not be overpowering smells.
• How does the staff treat the animals? Good groomers love animals and are not just in it for the money. They are gentle, kind, and compassionate when handling animals. They should also be able to explain how they restrain your animal to groom it. Some dogs and cats require more restraint than others.
• Do they keep records? Does the groomer keep records of your pet’s vaccinations? Do they keep a record of the way you like your animal to be groomed? Are they accommodating of extra requests, even if it costs extra.
• What type of dryers do they use? Are the animals monitored to make sure they don’t overheat? Have they ever had any deaths because of an animal overheating?
Some things to remember:
In the US, groomers are not regulated by any government agency. They are not required to register in any sort of groomer registry. However, some groomers have actually gone to school and are registered. There is a National Dog Groomers Association of America if you want to find a registered groomer. You may want to check with your particular country to find out their rules and regulations. Even though groomers aren’t required to be registered, pet salons can have licensing requirements they must meet.
Keep in mind that grooming is not cheap. If a groomer is cheap, chances are there is a reason for it, unless they are running a special. You should expect to spend between $40-100 or more depending on your pet and their fur type. This can also depend on any personal services such as the groomer coming to your home. Just like with any other service, some groomers are only in it for the money. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if any potential groomers have complaints and what those complaints are.
You have a responsibility too. It is your responsibility to make sure that your pet is up to date on its vaccinations and medical exams. Many groomers require proof of vaccinations from your vet before they will accept you as a customer. This is for their protection as well as the other animals your pet may come in contact with.
This article in no way begins to cover the entire topic of pets and grooming. It’s important to always do your own research into groomers and pet salons. Remember, your pet cannot speak for itself so you must be its voice.