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smiling female dog groomer grooming a Yorkshire Terrier

How to Find a Good Dog Groomer

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Does My Dog Need A Groomer?

Dogs must be groomed; it is a part of providing the basic care that they need.

If a long haired dog like a yorkie is not groomed, he or she will accumulate painful and unhealthy matting.

Every dog, regardless of coat type, requires nail trims. If nails are allowed to overgrow, they can cause injury to your dog’s paw pad and they impact the way your dog is able to walk and move, increasing risk of slipping and falling.

You have two options for grooming your dog: you may groom your dog at home or hire a groomer. So, if you are willing and able, you may groom your dog yourself and would not need a groomer. Here’s my choice of home grooming kits.

However, there is nothing wrong with choosing to hire a groomer if that is what the right choice for you and your dog is. Heck, I was a dog groomer for many years but I now get my fur babies groomed by a dog groomer. It was getting too much for my back to handle myself.

Many pet parents choose to hire a groomer because they are nervous about trimming their dog’s nails for fear of cutting the quick, or because they feel that they do not have the skill to cut their hair in a stylish or cute way.

How To Find A Good Dog Groomer

There is a plethora of dog groomers available and it is simple to begin the search for the right one for your dog by:

  • Running a google search for “dog groomer”, “pet groomer” or “Dog grooming salon”
  • Posting on social media
  • Asking neighbors
  • Asking other pet parents
  • Driving by shopping centers near your home
  • Ask for recommendations on Nextdoor.com (that’s how I found mine)

What Qualities To Look For In A Good Dog Groomer

Yorkshire terrier getting bath in red tub

When searching for your dog’s groomer, search for these qualities:

  • The groomer cares about your dog. Your dog should be warmly welcomed when you enter the facility. They should interact with your dog in a kind manner.
  • Your dog is handled appropriately. Some dogs do not like being groomed and will fight their grooming. Therefore, grooming may require your dog to be held firmly to prevent injury. If your dog is cooperative for grooming, he or she should be handled gently to reduce stress.
  • Your groomer should be aware of your dog’s physical condition. Grooming is an excellent opportunity to check for abnormalities, ticks, etc. A caring groomer will tell you if they notice an abnormality or removed any ticks.
  • The groomer does not use cages and cage dryers. Cage free grooming salons are the safest and lowest stress environment for your dog. An ideal groomer has rooms or play pens instead of cages and hand dryers instead of cage dryers.
  • The groomer uses cotton balls in dog’s ears during baths. A good groomer will place cotton in dog’s ears before bathing them to help prevent ear infections.

What Qualities To Avoid When Searching For A Dog Groomer

When searching for your dog’s groomer, these qualities are considered red flags:

  • You cannot find personal references from happy customers.
  • The facility is unclean. A dog spending time in an unclean facility is not only unhealthy but also counter productive to the purpose of grooming.
  • They use cage dryers. Cage dryers are uncomfortable and cause dehydration.
  • They use cages. Some dogs do not like being in a cage, but they are a cause for concern beyond that. Some groomers may not be careful using the cages which can lead to accidents; a dog could get their jaw stuck in the wire and break or dislocate it or injure their leg on the edge of the cage if tied to it.

How Much Does Dog Grooming Cost?

Groomer using clippers to trim a dog's paws

Here is a list of common grooming services and what you may expect to pay for them:

  • A bath generally costs between $30 to $50.
  • A simple nail trim or Dremel grinding usually costs between $10 to $20.
  • Services such as an ear cleaning, tooth brushing, anal gland expression, or a sanitary trim (trimming hair around genitals and anus because they become soiled if left long) generally cost between $15 to $30 each.
  • A complete groom for a small long haired dog breed, like a yorkie or Bichon, which includes cutting their hair, a bath and a nail trim, usually costs between $50 to $150.

Keep in mind that it is also customary to tip your dog’s groomer as you would tip your stylist at a hair salon.

Why Is Dog Grooming Expensive?

Dog grooming is a significant cost for owners of long haired breeds of dog that should be budgeted for if you do not plan to groom your dog yourself. Dog grooming is expensive because:

  • Most dogs do not sit still for grooming, warranting an assistant for many grooming sessions.
  • Dogs may try to bite or hump their groomer.
  • Dogs may urinate or defecate on their groomer.
  • Two words: anal glands. If you have never witnessed a dog’s glands being expressed, know that they produce thick foul smelling liquid which is strong enough to require a wardrobe change if you are unfortunate enough to get some on your clothing.
  • Groomers have to groom a dog’s entire body, not just a head of hair like human hair stylists do.
  • Many dogs are not brushed as frequently as they should be, making it take longer to brush and trim their coats because of matting.

How Often Does My Dog Need To Be Groomed?

Long haired breeds like yorkies require daily or weekly brushing and a full groom monthly or every other month.

Regardless of coat type, all dogs require monthly nail trims.

man and woman laying on white bed with yorkie dog between them

Conclusion

Grooming your dog is a necessary part of keeping him or her healthy, and it makes them more pleasant to snuggle with too! Finding a good groomer for your dog is crucial to your dog’s health; a bad grooming experience may traumatize your dog, making grooming difficult as a result of the negative experience.

Do you have a groomer that you love? How did you find that groomer? Share your referral and experience in the comments below to help other pet parents.

Cathy signature with Yorkie drawing
Cathy Bendzunas with yorkie and yorkie mix

Cathy Bendzunas

Dog Blogger

I have always loved Yorkies and got my first on when I was 19. I bred and showed them back in the 80’s. Though I love other breeds too, Yorkshire Terriers will always be my first love. I have lived and worked with dogs all my life.

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