In caring for your dog, remember that in addition to a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and regular vet visits, you’ll want to find a reliable and trusted groomer to also help maintain your pet’s well-being.  While some dog owners perform their own grooming, a trained professional can offer insights into your dog’s health and provide services that contribute to your pet’s care.

Choosing a Groomer

Begin with research.  Ask trusted friends and family for their recommendations, inquire about groomers recommended by your veterinarian, or use online search tools such as the AKC Groomer Finder. There are also online review sites that can provide you with plenty of opinions from other people.

When you find a few groomers that seem to be good candidates, it’s best to have some conversations to find out which potential groomer is the best fit for you and your pet.  You’ll want to ask if the groomer has experience working with your dog’s breed, and you’ll want to be sure you understand all of the services the groomer provides. 

It can often be helpful to see the facility where your groomer works to be sure it’s an environment that’s well-ventilated, clean, and pet-friendly.  Pay attention to aspects such as how clean and well-lit the grooming area is, whether the holding area offers plenty of space for dogs to move around comfortably, and how friendly (particularly pet-friendly) the staff are. 

Think of Your Pet

As you ask questions and consider which groomer might be a fit, remember to consider the needs of your pet.  If you have any special concerns about your pet, make sure those concerns are known as soon as possible.  If your elderly dog has arthritis, this would be an important point to share with the grooming team.  If your appointment marks the first appointment your dog has ever had with a groomer, be sure to mention this too.  If your dog has any behavioral issues, you absolutely want to discuss these ahead of time with the groomer.

Also be sure to ask about the kinds of the products the salon uses on dogs.  In general, high quality shampoos and conditioners that are as gentle and natural as possible are preferable to those that contain harsh chemicals.  This can be especially true if your pet has a history of irritated skin or any skin sensitivities.  

It’s a Conversation

If you believe your dog may be hard to handle or may struggle, growl, or snap, you’ll want to be sure to discuss this with your potential groomer. It’s best to avoid a groomer who tells you some variation of “we just show them who’s boss,” as confrontational, coercive responses have a high probability of making matters worse.  An aggressive response to an aggressive or agitated dog can cause the problem to escalate and can make the dog’s response to grooming and other handling worse in the long term.

 

Also if your dog has a particularly nervous disposition, you’ll want to discuss this with the groomer. Consider asking if the groomer uses sedatives, outside of those provided by the dog’s owner and prescribed by a veterinarian to help the dog remain calm.  Sedation by groomers without the oversight of a veterinarian can be dangerous.  The best response, and what you’re hoping to hear, is that the groomer treats dogs with difficult behavior with gentleness, allows them to take breaks from the grooming session, and stops if the dog becomes overwhelmed.

Chances are your potential groomer will have questions for you as well.  You’ll probably be asked about the results you’re looking for.  A reputable groomer will also want to know about your dog.  You’ll probably be asked about age, if your dog has arthritis or any sore spots, and about your dog’s hearing and sight.  You may also be asked about the shape of your dog’s teeth and if he is touchy about having any of his body parts touched.  Some groomers will also want to know if your dog is crate trained, or you may be asked if your dog is relaxed and friendly toward other dogs. 

There is a lot to consider when looking for a groomer, but with some research and conversation, you can be sure that your furry friend will be well taken care of.  At Landheim Training and Boarding Center, we offer grooming by experienced and highly trained groomers.  If you’d like to learn more about our groomers or our services, be sure to contact us today!