Pet Grooming at Home Vs Professional

We know you’ve probably thought about clipping your pet’s hair here and there more than once. Is it a good idea to groom your pet at home or should you only trust a professional? Read on! 

Professional grooming vs home grooming is a decision you inevitably have to make. If you’re unsure of why grooming is important, make sure to check this out. 

The answer is a clear, resounding…it depends! As with most things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to both home and professional grooming. You didn’t expect it to be different, did you? 

A dog at the pet groomers waiting to be professionally groomed. The fur is very long, tangled, and matted. The dog is on a grooming table.
Before professional grooming…

Home grooming

This may be the route you’re tempted to take to save some money. No doubt it will cost less. However, there is a tradeoff. It will cost you more time. If that’s not a problem, you’ll need to start out by buying an at-home grooming kit. If you have no idea where to start, check this out for some recommendations. 

An at-home grooming kit will need to include things such as nail clippers, hair clippers, and various brushes and/or combs. These are just the basic, bare minimum tools you’ll need. You may also want to invest in some high-quality shampoos, a grooming table, a larger bathtub, etc. There are many things that can be bought to make the experience easier. 

While you will have to stock up on some supplies, it will be more cost-effective in the long run. 

You may be overwhelmed by all the choices you need to make. For example, which shampoo is best? Do I need a conditioner, too? Would generic work just as well? What kind of clippers do I need to buy? How many brushes do I need? Do I need a de-shedding tool? The list goes on! 

You can ask your vet for suggestions on shampoos and conditioners and there are numerous online resources. However, you will need some time, patience, and energy. And that’s before you start the actual grooming process. 

An advantage you may find with home grooming is that your pet will be less anxious at home. Your pet may feel calmer this way, however, you can also get your dog used to going to the groomer if you start off at a young age.

One thing that will not be so easy to come across is skill. Professional groomers have years of experience with various kinds of dogs with different temperaments. There is, as always, loads of information Dr. Google can provide. If you have the time and patience, you can certainly learn. 

Common mistakes of home grooming

While this process isn’t rocket science, you still need to know a few things about how to actually groom your pet. Here are some common mistakes people make when grooming their pet at home. 

  1. Water temperature of a bath and shower pressure

It is important to make sure the bath water is the perfect temperature for your pet. One negative experience can make your pet be turned off to it for a good long while. Be sure to test the water just like you would for a baby. Additionally, you want to make sure the water pressure is a good amount to get products off and clean them thoroughly, but not so strong as to irritate their skin and scare them.

  1. Harsh products

Whatever you do, do not use human products on your pet! This is something you’ll want to invest in. Make sure you’re buying high quality products and see if your vet has some recommendations.

  1. Soap application

You will need to make sure to distribute the shampoo evenly and not let it drip into your pets’ eyes or ears.

  1. Brushing out mats

This will require some skill and technique to not be painful for your pet. To read more about mats, check out our blog post

  1. Skipping drying or not drying completely

This may not seem as important as washing your dog, but moisture trapped in your dog’s fur can lead to all sorts of problems, such as matting, and can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

  1. Painful nail trimming 

Trimming your dogs nails can be very tricky and sensitive because it can cause extreme pain for your pooch if done incorrectly. It can also cause bleeding and introduce infection. This is something you’ll need to be more than a little skilled at to proceed with. 

Other considerations for home grooming

Other than bathing, cutting fur, and nail trimming, you’ll need to consider ear cleaning, eye cleaning, toothbrushing, and anal sac expression (you read that right). You’ll want to be very gentle cleaning the ears and eyes and not stick anything in there. You will need to get your dog used to toothbrushing by going slowly, allowing him to lick the toothbrush and toothpaste (please do NOT use human toothpaste), and feeling the sensations of toothbrushing.  

You’ll also need to clean up after the grooming as things will most definitely get messy. The bath water may spill, dog hair may be everywhere, shampoo may get knocked over. You get the picture. Make sure to budget time for the cleanup. 

Professional grooming

A professionally groomed dog on a grooming table with impeccably neat fur and very styled fur.
After professional grooming! This is not a result that will typically be seen with home grooming unless you are a professional groomer.

This is the easier option of the two. You can drop your dog off and enjoy some time to yourself (we don’t ask where you go!). This is also the more financially expensive option. 

A professional groomer will know exactly what to do, will already have all the right tools, and will know how your dog’s specific needs based on fur type and breed. 

It may be stressful for your dog to be at a dog grooming salon as there are many other dogs and lots of noise. This can be overcome by teaching your dog that the groomer is just a regular part of life. You can achieve this by taking your dog to a professional groomer as soon as you get him or her and taking them frequently. Doing this can greatly reduce stress and anxiety and can even become a pleasant routine. 

Professional groomers will also have more equipment that helps them groom your dog as safely as possible. Their equipment will be commercial and of higher quality than you can get at home. They will also be much more thorough and gentle, no matter how much you love your pet, because they know what they’re doing. 

A challenge may be finding the right groomer and making sure you can stick with them so your dog develops a relationship. However, if you find a groomer you love, you’re good to go and it will be a stress-free experience for your dog. 

A professional groomer will also be able to alert you to any problems they spot such as ticks and fleas, or even internal parasites or allergies. They have seen hundreds of dogs and at Grooming Girls, all of our groomers are well trained to spot anything that may concern your pet’s health. 

The disadvantages may be cost and having to leave home (there are also at-home grooming services, but the cost is considerably higher and they may not be available in your area). 

While cost is an important factor to many, keep in mind that your dog does not need to be taken to the groomer too often unless he or she is put on a special schedule, as in the case of an anxious and aggressive dog. Some dogs can go 3 months without needing a thorough grooming depending on the breed. 


So what’s the ultimate word in home grooming vs professional grooming? If you have tons of time and patience to learn, home grooming may be the best for you due to the convenience of it being at home and cost. There will be some guesswork on products and equipment and cleanup, however. 

If you are short on time, professional grooming may be the best choice due to it’s effortlessness on your part and the amount of time you aren’t spending. Additionally, professional groomers have a lot more skill and experience and can give your pet a more thorough clean. 

If you decide that professional grooming is more your cup of tea, book an appointment today and we’ll make sure your pup is in good hand! 

2 thoughts on “Pet Grooming at Home Vs Professional”

  1. I adopted a dog last month, and I’m sure he needs a bath and nail trimming since he’s starting to smell. I liked what you said about taking your dog to a pet groomer to ensure your dog’s safety at all times, so I’ll start looking for one right now. I appreciate your advice on how pet groomers have the tools for safe dog grooming.

  2. I recently got a poodle, and because he’s starting to smell, I’m sure he needs a wash and some nail trims. Your advice to take your dog to a pet groomer to guarantee their safety at all times struck a chord with me, and I’ll go seek one right away. Thank you for sharing your knowledge on the equipment pet groomers need to properly groom dogs.

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