What To Look For In A Groomer

What To Look For In A Groomer at ThePetCenter.com

How To Evaluate A Groomer
by Sharon Larson

“Muffin” is a valued part of the family. How do we find a competent person to approach her with dangerous, sharp implements like scissors and electric clippers? As well a groomer may be dipping or bathing her in insect repelling chemicals and soapy water. We surely aren’t going to trust her to “just anybody”. Here is what I would advise anyone to do who is seeking a careful and competent groomer.

1) First of all… ask around. Every time a dog leaves the groomer, it is a walking advertisement. Talk to your veterinarian, your kennel manager, your neighbor. If you see a dog on the street with a style you like, stop the owner and ask where the dog was groomed. People are usually very willing to talk about their pets, especially their new “do”. Some veterinary offices have policies not to refer clients to any certain groomer or breeder. Don’t despair; ask more specific questions like “Have you treated any problems from this groomer, such as cuts or clipper abrasions? Have you had any complaints about this groomer?”

2) Call the groomer you are interested in using. Ask him/her questions. “Did you go to grooming school or apprentice with a professional groomer?” “How long have you been grooming?” “Do you have much experience with {insert your breed here}?”. “Do you have a problem putting poodle feet on a cocker? {Or some other non-standard clip} “Are you a member of any professional grooming organization?” There is a national organization called National Dog Groomers of America Association and many states have their own groomers’ organizations.

3) Some states require that groomers are licensed and certified in flea/tick applications. Ask if she or he is properly certified. Keep in mind that groomers are usually on an extremely tight schedule. Ask him/her if they would be able to call you back to answer these questions when they have ample time to talk. It’s hard to answer questions while fluff drying a dog. You should be able to develop a rapport with the potential groomer that will give you an overall impression. Hopefully it will be a good impression.

4) Then trust your intuition. Just by asking around you will be able find answers to most of your questions. Using a groomer for the first time can be a disconcerting experience. If you’ve done some research by asking around and then place your trust in your groomer and then see a good result… then you can pamper yourself, too, like “Muffin” was pampered.

Sharon Larson has been involved in animal health care since 1979. She attended the Wisconsin School of Professional Dog Grooming & has been grooming professionally since 1986.


Puppies And Grooming:


So you just brought that new family member home and you are wondering about bathing it. Maybe it smells a little like… well, like puppy smell ! Yes you can bathe even a very young pup and often a good bath really perks them up and helps to rid them of any dirt, stool or food that has hidden itself in the puppy’s coat.

You can purchase puppy shampoo (get the tearless kind, it doesn’t sting if it gets in the eyes) and wet the pup down completely. Lather up the shampoo all over. When you rinse the shampoo off, be sure that you get all of it off! Even a little shampoo left on the coat can irritate the skin later on. Rinse twice as long as you think you need to. You do not have to put anything in the eyes prior to the bath… just try not to get any soap in the eyes.

You can put little cotton plugs in the ear canals to help keep the water and shampoo out of the ear canals, but this isn’t absolutely necessary. When you rinse be sure the water is warm and comfortable. The surest way to make the pup hate a bath is to use water that is too cold or too hot.

Now that the pup has been rinsed off well, just wrap the little rascal in a big towel and gently rub the puppy dry. You can also use a blow dryer but try not to scare the heck out of the pup if you are going to use one. If it is warm outside a good run after a bath is an absolute delight for a dog. Watch out, though, they usually head straight for the dirt or mud to roll around in! (All dogs have been born with some sort of agreement among themselves to do this!)

HOW OFTEN? You can bathe a dog whenever it really needs to be cleaned up. In general, though, a bath every three weeks is about right. And some breeds like Dobes, Boston Terriers and others with short coats may rarely need a bath. Old English Sheepdogs and Collies are a different story!

WHAT KIND? In general just use a mild dog/puppy shampoo. A professional groomer can tell you if your dog needs a special formula to alleviate dry skin, allergic dermatitis or very sensitive skin. (The first thing to do if your dog does have dry skin is evaluate the diet! See ThePetCenter’s articles on Nutrition.)

In short haired dogs just use a soft brush and sweep it over the coat in the direction of hair growth. Long haired dogs and dogs with a double coat (short fuzzy hairs underneath long coarse hairs) can tolerate short wire brushes and steel combs. Always be certain that when using the wire brushes that you are not scratching the dog’s skin! Some dogs really need to be brushed out every day. Others may never need a brushing because their coats are so short and tight to the skin.

Are you thinking about becoming a pet groomer?
Take a look at this for a good overview of what you will need to know.

When in doubt… call your local professional groomer!

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