In general professional grooming services for dogs and cats are a luxury for show dogs and cats or pets with long coats. However, the value of regular brushing, nail clipping and teeth cleaning has benefits beyond best-in-show status. The question is: How to choose a pet groomer?
Grooming can have the same effect on our pets as visiting the hair dresser or beauty salon has for us. So why not give your pet a special treat once every month if it fits your budget. Or once every three months if your budget is tighter.
Simple grooming is easy for you to do at home and builds a special bond between you and your pet. Furthermore, regular grooming reveals the warning signs of lumps, growths, infections and tick or flea infestations.
Benefits of hiring a professional pet groomer
Professional grooming is a great way to make sure that your pet stays flea-free during the hot and muggy summer months. Groomers provide flea bath or baths to get rid of skunk odors and other substances your pet has matted in her coat.
Removing matted fur can be traumatic and stressful. A professional pet groomer knows how to remove the worst of the tangles quickly, easily, and painlessly. Good professional groomers have tricks to calm your pet in a compassionate but detached manner. This is entirely unlike pet parents who can be as stressed as their pets if they try the procedures at home.
How to choose a pet groomer
There are several considerations when you’re choosing a grooming parlor. One of the first things to think about is whether you want to go to a parlor or if a mobile groomer will be more convenient. The National Dog Groomers Association of America lists professional, registered dog groomers by state and city, so you can find a reputable grooming business in your area. You can also ask your vet, shelter and friends for recommendations and, of course, Google and Facebook are good places to get reviews.
Visit any parlors that hold promise to inspect the premises, and find out more about the groomers. You should ask how ‘difficult’ pets are handled and what the policy is in case of a medical emergency. Take a look at the holding areas where pets are kept before, during and after the grooming session. Are the crates big enough for large dogs, are cats and dogs crated in separate rooms, are the crates clean?
You should find out whether the facility keeps grooming, medical and vaccination records, routinely updates emergency contact details. It’s also a good idea to ask for the names of a few clients you can call for references.
Note that the industry is unregulated. There are registered and certified groomers but there’s no regulatory agency or professional association that oversees licensing or certification. It’s a good idea to check with your local Better Business Bureau for complaints against any grooming facilities.
Mobile pet groomers
If you choose a mobile groomer you need to see the van. Pet grooming vans should be specially kitted out to provide safe services. Mobile grooming is a great option if your pet is old and somewhat averse to travelling. Go through the check list above to make sure you’re dealing with a professional. The mobile groomer should provide exactly the same quality in terms of cleanliness and professionalism as a parlor, albeit on a much smaller scale.
The cost of grooming depends on a number of variables like your location, and your pet’s size and species. The grooming required is also a factor. A sheepdog that has been running through muddy puddles and brambles will need more intensive work than a Chihuahua in for a regular shampooing.
Fees should include a shampoo, brush, and a cut and nail clipping. The exact services will depend on the individual groomers. Always ask what’s included in the price. Mobile grooming services usually add the cost of travelling to their services.
Laying the foundation makes like easier for your pet groomer
If it’s your pet’s first visit to the groomer, make sure she’s healthy and all veterinary treatments are up to date. First, do some work with your dog or cat to prepare them for the kind of experience they will have.
Start with all-over body handling, which you can do while they’re nice and relaxed at home. Gently introduce brushing and massage on different areas of your pet’s body, for example, around the ears, tail and feet. Nine out of ten times pets fall in love with a regular brushing routine and look forward to it. Take your pet to the parlor before her appointment to introduce her to the sights, sounds and smells. Take some treats with you to make the experience as pleasant as possible. This way she isn’t flooded with stressful new experiences that can put her off grooming for life.
It’s important to remember that some pets are just naturally nervous and become all the more so when entering a new space that is entirely different from what they know and are comfortable with. If this sounds like your pet, it’s important that you begin the home grooming process, starting slowly and gently and working your way to using a dryer and nail clipper without your dog squirming, nipping and cowering under the table.
You may need to work with an animal behaviorist or trainer to show you how to start properly. Although, if your furbaby is that stressed out, you should perhaps ask yourself if a pet groomer is really necessary. The potential emotional damage is not worth a professional cut and shampoo.