Americans spent an estimated $17.13 billion on their pets in 2018.

Providing for our fur-babies’ needs, such as food, bedding, and training, is more than just basic care. We are helping our animals feel loved, healthy, and spiffy-clean.

Many also take their dogs for regular trips to the groomer for baths and tooth-brushings. This way, they will be well-coiffed and sweet-smelling when it is time to get out for a stroll.

Professional dog-grooming seems like a great way to keep your loyal friend living in your home without an accompanying odor. Yet how can you avoid wasting your hard-earned cash on a groomer who does a half-tailed job?

Here are some ideas:

Certification

No license is currently required for pet-grooming in the US, although some states are working on bills that would make this a prerequisite to practicing grooming.

Some states do currently necessitate that their dog-groomers be licensed in order to perform flea or tick applications. Others require freelance groomers with their own facilities to hold a Pet Grooming Facility License. The individual groomers, however, do not need licenses.

Your groomer may, however, be certified by the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGA.) This is a national standard that requires a candidate to pass written, as well as practical, tests.

NDGA “master groomers” have demonstrated knowledge of safety procedures and health and hygiene practices. They have been trained in first-aid and dog-handling techniques. They also have knowledge of dog anatomy and know how to handle pesticides.

Proper Training

Your groomer may have spent months in training, or they may have only trained for a few hours.

Those who are serious about becoming career pet-groomers usually start off as bathers. They watch the experts and learn the ins and outs of prep work, proper bathing, ear-cleaning, nail-clipping, and brushing.

Ask a prospective groomer about their training period before making a final decision.

Organizational Membership

Up-to-date groomers may be members of the National Dog Groomers Association of America, or they may belong to a state organization. As a member, they are constantly getting updated the latest research and information on health, safety, and styling issues.

You may also want to check with the Better Business Bureau and see if your groomer has any complaints filed against them.

Ask Plenty of Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask a prospective groomer plenty of questions before taking your pup in for a visit. Find out if they have worked with breeds similar to your dog’s before.

You will want to ask about the price of your groomer’s services, and how long the grooming will take. Most basic services include bathing, nail-cutting, hair-trimming, brushing, and ear-cleaning. Add-ons such as deshedding treatments, tooth-brushing, and dematting are also available.

Grooming sessions range from $30-$90 each, depending upon the number of treatments your dog receives, as well as its size. If your groomer comes to your home, expect to be charged more. The price should be clearly outlined from the start.

Ask about any insurance your groomer may have, and find out if they keep records for their clients. Some groomers require immunizations for certain animals, and you will want to be sure that their shop is a good fit for your pup.

If you have a nervous or aggressive dog, you should ask how the shop handles them. Some outfits have only one groomer who takes care of aggressive animals, and others won’t handle them at all. If your dog is nervous, find out if it is possible for you to stay with them during the grooming.

A good groomer will take the time to talk about the needs and concerns of your particular pet. Choose someone who will listen to you, and patiently explain exactly what services your dog will need.

As always, your instincts should not be ignored. If a prospective groomer seems positive, knowledgeable, and caring, chances are you are moving in the right direction.

Look Around the Shop

A careful dog groomer’s shop should be clean and well-lit. Animals should have room to move comfortably in their cages, and dogs and cats should be crated in separate areas.

A good test is to wear white shoes and socks the first time you visit. If you find any fleas, you may not want to return.

Drying cages are standard for larger, heavy-coated dogs. If your groomer is a professional, they will not recommend a drying cage for dogs with flat faces and short noses, called brachycephalic breeds. They are also unsafe for older dogs.

Drying cages should not be heated over 80 degrees, as this is unsafe and potentially fatal. Be certain to ask your groomer about drying cage practices before choosing them.

Get Some References

You can get references for super groomers from your vet. If it is their policy not to make recommendations, you can still ask them if they have heard anything negative about a groomer you are considering. Find out if they have treated any cuts or abrasions caused during grooming from that particular shop.

You can also ask your pet store worker, kennel owner, dog-walker, or trainer for recommendations for great groomers. Float the question around your social media communities, as people often love to talk about their positive pet experiences.

Time For Professional Dog Grooming

If you are ready to seek out professional dog-grooming, ask other pet-lovers you trust to recommend some excellent groomers. Proper training, certification, and a tidy shop are all indicators that your canine beauty consultant knows what they are doing.

For more information on dogs, read our blog today.

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