Although many dog owners prefer to groom their dogs on their own, having your dog professionally groomed will save you time and energy. It takes a lot of care and patience to groom a dog, especially a fluffy one, a puppy, or one with behavioral issues.
A professional grooming session typically consists of the dog being brushed, bathed and dried, as well as trimmed or clipped. The groomer brushes or combs out mats before the bath, making it easier to lather the dog with shampoo. They clean the dog’s ears to remove buildup and to check for signs of infection. When the dog’s coat has dried, he will be trimmed, clipped, or shaved, if needed or requested. Be sure to clearly communicate your requests or concerns to your groomer, and your precious pooch will look great by the time he’s done. Groomers trim most dogs over the eyes, at the tips of the ears, and on the bottoms of the feet. They cut the dog’s nails to a comfortable length, as long nails can become painful for a dog, especially when he’s walking. Groomers will also brush your dog’s teeth with a dog-specific toothpaste.
They Have the Right Tools
You certainly don’t want to use your own scissors and electric razors to groom your dog. Professional groomers have all the right tools to get your dog looking his best, from different kinds of clippers to an adjustable grooming table. They are equipped with shampoos for dogs with skin allergies, irritations, fleas and ticks, or for dogs that got sprayed by a skunk. Many groomers also know how to groom breed show cuts as well, which definitely requires very precise attention to detail.
They Fit Your Schedule
Dog-grooming shops are fairly local throughout the United States, making it easy to drop off your dog and pick him up later. Your veterinarian’s office, doggie daycare, or boarding facility may even have a grooming shop or dog groomer on location. Some will even come to you–mobile grooming vans are popular in some areas, and are fully equipped with supplies, even a bathtub.
They Know How to Handle Dogs
Dogs that are older or become anxious or aggressive when you try to groom them may need to be sedated while being groomed–something that can’t be done at home, but a veterinarian and/or groomer can do. When handling your dog, your groomer may also notice a concerning injury or lump that you may not have noticed. If you yourself have a condition such as back pain or arthritis, rest assured professional grooming will prevent you from having to do excessive lifting and handling of your dog.
They Take Care of the Yucky Stuff
Cleaning anal glands, shampooing a muddy or skunked dog, and removing fleas and ticks are not the most pleasant things to take care of, but come with the price of owning a dog. A professional groomer knows how to take care of and clean all of these seemingly yucky things, and more.
How Often Should I Have My Dog Groomed?
Although it depends mostly on the breed, hair length, and type of coat, regular grooming should be done about once a month. For young puppies and dogs who have never been groomed, more frequent grooming or brushing at home should be done to get the dog used to being handled and to avoid grooming issues into adulthood. This is called desensitization, and can be done for several other reasons.
What Should I Do in Between Groomings?
Brushing your dog once a week or so will help with shedding and prevent any mats from forming in your dog’s coat. A buildup of mats can become painful for your dog. If your groomer can’t get them out, your dog might have to be completely shaved down.
Finding a Groomer
Your friends, neighbors, local breed club or veterinarian can often provide recommendations for a dog groomer. You can also search online for groomers near you, including using AKC GroomerFinder, where you can find groomers, salons and dog care facilities who are a part of the AKC S.A.F.E. Grooming Program. Your breeder is also a great resource for advice on the specific grooming needs for your dog.