A small white dog being groomed by a professional dog groomer.

How Do I Choose a Good Dog Groomer?


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Dog grooming may seem like a luxury but it has some serious health benefits. Great groomers can help your dog’s fur, nails, skin and ears stay healthy as they trim away at the bits and bobs that just won’t quit growing. “OK, so how do I choose a good dog groomer?” you might ask. This article has you covered.

Here, PD Insurance outlines the steps to finding a good dog groomer, questions to ask and more squeaky clean FAQ. Let’s get down to business.

How to make a good decision on a dog groomer

Dog grooming can be limited to keeping your dog squeaky clean and looking great, through to a total makeover. There are dog groomers you can take your pooch to and mobile dog groomers who come to you. The field is filled with choice.

The first step is to do a bit of research and make a shortlist of favourites. After that you’ll need to ask the right questions. But we’ll get onto that in the next section. First, here’s our three-step research process:

A yorkshire terrier being groomed by a dog groomer.

1. Ask your friends and family

The best place to begin is asking those in the know who you know to be trustworthy people with a good head on their shoulders.

Not only might your friends, family and colleagues already have a super duper groomer they take their own dog too, but chances are they’d be proud to make a great recommendation. Of course, you might come up with no answers, but this is just the first step.

2. Expand your dog grooming network

Now that you’ve checked in with those you know, it’s time to do a bit of online research. There are several dog grooming directories in Australia. You might be keen on choosing a dog groomer near you, or you might be looking for an all-star award winning groomer you’re happy to travel for.

Whichever the case, there are several online directories for dog groomers in Australia.

Here are a handful to get your search started:

Speaking of award winning dog groomers, have you heard competitive dog grooming is fast gaining in popularity? Here’s a video of a Master Groomers Australia competition:

3. Visit in person

Any service that requires you to leave your dog in someone else’s care deserves an in-person visit. The only way you put your trust in someone’s service is when you trust them. You can’t know that without checking what they offer, rather than what others say. (Although you should also check what others say too, via Google reviews.)

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you check it out:

Q: Are the dog clients happy and the staff friendly and knowledgeable?

When you visit (possible cause to choose a groomer in your hood), check if the premises is clean, if the staff are friendly and informative, and most of all whether the dogs that are there are comfortable or scared. Not sure how to tell? Check out this guide “Is My Dog Afraid?” for dog body language cues.

Q: Are the waiting areas nice, clean and safe?

Be on the lookout for safe and clean doggy waiting areas. Where are the dogs before and after grooming? Are they in a well-kept, clean, safe and supervised play area that’s not too cramped (or full) or do they wait in little crates? Are there adequate water bowls and no random pieces of poop?

If your dog will be waiting before or after their grooming session, you must be happy enough with the waiting area to consent to your dog being there.

Q: Are the grooming stations fit for a dog?

Also have a look at the grooming stations. These need to be clean and sturdy. The bathing areas need to be clean and sturdy too. Of course, you’ll want to know that the dog grooming products are dog safe. Perhaps take down the product names and check them online.

In a dog grooming salon, a dog groomer is carefully trimming a dog's hair.

Questions to ask dog groomers

Next up during your visit, you’ll need more direct intel to help you choose the best dog groomer for your dog. That means asking questions to find out if you’ll be happy with their service.

Here are some to get you started; add your own as you see fit:

  • Do they/have they worked with your dog breed before (grooming a Border Collie is different to a Pug)?
  • How long have they been grooming dogs (practice makes perfect)?
  • What training do they have (always a good thing to find out)?
  • How many dogs are groomed and in the waiting area at once, at maximum?
  • What are their emergency procedures should anything go awry (all bases covered)?
  • Speaking of which, do they keep an onsite emergency first aid kit (a must)?
  • What is the pricing structure (added costs, hidden costs, all costs!)?
  • Where do the dogs wait before/after grooming (nice, tidy play area/crate, etc)?
  • What range of services do they offer?

The range of dog grooming services could include teeth cleaning, hair styling, nail clipping, bathing, ear cleaning and more. Or it could just be the standard wash, brush, cut. Each groomer may also have a speciality they’re known for, like big dogs, or long haired dogs etc.

A dog groomer trims a puppy's claws in a grooming salon.

What do you say when getting your dog groomed?

It’s a great idea to have something in mind that you’d like the grooming to achieve.

In competitive dog grooming, for example, groomers aim to make dogs look like the breed standard of that breed. Note that the breed standard is for pedigree dogs, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only standard. For example, a German Shepherd that’s bred to be a police dog won’t need to look like a pedigree German Shepherd bred to participate in dog conformation shows.

Breed standards aside, there are many ways a dog can be groomed, so if you have something in mind, bring along a picture of a reference. You might want to get more creative or your focus is purely on your pet’s health and wellbeing.

Do dog groomers wash or cut first?

There’s no cut and dry answer. Really, it depends on the dog groomer. Some dog groomers prefer to wash first and cut next while others use the grooming process itself to remove dead skin, debris and loose fur.

Some groomers actually give dogs a bath beforehand not because it helps them but because it helps pooch feel relaxed and ready to be groomed.

A chihuahua, being given a good bath an orange bowl.

Give your dog a soft landing

Another way to give your dog a super soft landing is with dog insurance. Your pet insurance can help to pay for a myriad of diagnoses and treatments including injuries, illnesses and even dental – depending on the level of cover you choose.

If you’re wondering whether vet bills can be expensive the answer is yes. But just like doctors, vets train for years and vet clinics have to house costly equipment and technology. It’s worth it for your pet’s health but you can avoid the worries that come with vet bills by having your pet’s plan in place well in advance before anything goes awry.

Buy online and get one or more months of pet insurance FREE. Click below and start your quote today.

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