10 Things to Consider When Finding a Good Pet Groomer

Just because there’s a dog groomer on every corner doesn’t mean they’re all the same. You want to make sure you’re taking your pet to the best groomer in your area. But how do you know? What is a “good groomer” anyways? If a groomer can make a dog look cute, does that mean he or she is “good”? 

Photo of Grooming Girls salon. "Grooming girls" is written in large pink letters on the counter with a the Grooming Girls logo, a dog with blue ears coming out of a faucet like water, on the side of the text.
The Grooming Girls Salon! Welcome to our humble abode.

A good groomer will have a thorough knowledge base when it comes to grooming. He or she will know what to do in an emergency situation, what’s best for your dog’s breed, how to deal with aggression, and more. So how do you know who is and who isn’t a good groomer? 

To find out if a groomer is worth their weight in gold, you need to ask the right questions and make some observations. That way, you can learn a whole lot about your potential groomer before having an unfortunate experience. 

  1. Check out the salon

Is it in someone’s house or an actual, dedicated facility? A dedicated facility will provide you with more space and professional equipment, and is more likely to have better staff as it’s a well-established salon that is ready to invest in the business. 

Anyone can open a salon in their home but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to invest in the equipment necessary. 

Make sure the salon is clean and doesn’t have too many dogs in it at a time. At Grooming Girls, each groom only takes one dog per hour creating a quieter and calmer environment for your pet. 

  1. Ensure your groomer is properly educated

If they have a certification, even better. Groomers are not required to be certified, which can leave you in a perilous position. You may end up with a groomer who appears competent and has learned on the job but has gaps in his or her knowledge. Maybe they know how to cut but aren’t aware of what to do should something go wrong.  

On that note….you’ll want a groomer who is certified in pet first aid and knows CPR with pets. 

You’ll want a groomer who is familiar with all sorts of breeds, as well, as many breeds have specific needs. 

  1. Ask if the groomer has experience with your particular breed

Not unrelated to the previous point, make sure your potential groomer knows the breed standards and how to groom your pet in that specific way. Not all pet owners want the breed-specific cut, but it is still very important for groomers to be familiar with the coat and skin type of your breed.

  1. What products does your groomer use? 
A photo of natural dog shampoos in a professional grooming salon
This is what we use at Grooming Girls

You want a groomer who is choosing high-quality, natural products. These products are more expensive but better for your pet. It’s hard to know what is a high-quality product and many products are greenwhashed, so you’ll want to do your research. 

It’s worth asking the salon what types of products they use and then looking them up. 

  1. Ask how long the groomer has been in business?

Is your potential groomer a legitimate and licensed business? Are they members of the Better Business Bureau or another watchdog business organization? This will let you know that they are held accountable for their actions. If your potential groomer isn’t part of such an organization, should something go awry, you won’t have much recourse (if you have any at all). 

Additionally, if your groomer has been in business for a while, they’ll have more reviews informing you of what kind of work they do. You may, of course, want to give a new groomer a chance, but keep this in mind and know that it may be a risk. 

  1. Ask your groomer what they do to calm anxious dogs

Your potential new groomer is bound to have come across anxious pets before. You want to know what they do to quell those fears. 

  • Does the salon offer  one-on-one grooming service where one groomer is dedicated to a dog at a time? 
  • Does the salon use cage dryers? They cause more stress and don’t dry the dog as well as hand dryers. 
  • Does the groomer use positive reinforcement and work with dogs who aren’t used to being at the groomers? 
  • Does the groomer know what to do if your dog becomes aggressive? 
  1. Check-in with your instincts

If you tour a salon and don’t like the vibe, that’s a good enough reason to not take your dog there. You want to make sure both you and your pet feel comfortable. Maybe you don’t know what’s wrong or you can’t quite put your finger on it. You don’t need to, trust your instincts. 

Do you like the groomer as a person? Does your conversation with him or her feel satisfying or does he or she seem impatient? How does the groomer interact with other dogs and others in the salon? If you don’t like it, then your dog won’t either. 

  1. Observe your dog post-grooming

How does your dog behave after the grooming session? Look for signs of extreme stress, such as diarrhea, increased sleeping, or increased sniffing, among other signs. Talk to the groomer about it and ask for solutions. If your groomer is a true professional, he or she should have some ideas for you. If he or she doesn’t, it may be time to find another groomer. 

A dog groomer holding a dog in front of a blue wall
A dog groomer proud of her work!
  1. How professional and organized is your groomer? 

Does your groomer offer online bookings? Do they have set services outside of just bathing and cutting fur? Do they express anal glands? Do they clean your dog’s ears and clip nails? The groomer should know all of that or they shouldn’t be in the grooming business. 

A few more things to consider: Does the groomer have professional liability insurance in case something goes wrong and there are medical costs? Does the groomer have a first-aid kit? What would they do in the case of an emergency (this point is worth repeating)?

You want to ensure you are working with someone with a plan in place for all the potential what-ifs and a true professional who knows what they are doing. 

  1. Can you stay and watch the grooming session? 

This will give you an opportunity to put your mind at ease and know what’s happening to your dog while he’s being groomed. You’ll see the groomer’s demeanor with your dog as well as how your dog reacts to the groomer handling him. 

Conclusion

While we’re not trying to brag (okay, fine, we totally are), but Grooming Girls is all this and more. We take great pride in our groomers’ training and the quality we offer. All of our groomers are nationally certified and we are an award-winning salon. We won the Readers’ Choice Award for best grooming salon for the last 6 years. We are also the only salon in Franklin County, IN that has 3 certified professional pet stylists on staff. 

In the area? Book an appointment and come on in! Not in the area but want to learn more, let us know in a comment below and we’ll be sure to get back to you. 

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