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Although many dog owners prefer to groom their dogs at home, having your dog professionally groomed can 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. Let’s take a look at what professional groomers offer.

They Do It All

A professional grooming session typically consists of the dog being brushed, bathed, and dried, as well as trimmed or clipped with clean, sanitized brushes and clipper blades. Groomers brush or comb out mats before the bath, making it easier to lather the dog with shampoo. They clean the dog’s ears and check for signs of infection. When the coat dries, the dog is trimmed, clipped, or shaved, if needed or requested.

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, since long nails can become painful. Groomers can also brush your dog’s teeth with a dog-specific toothpaste (although regular teeth cleaning should also be done every day at home).

They Have the Right Tools

Professional groomers have all the right tools to get your dog looking his best, from different kinds of clippers and rounded scissors to an adjustable grooming table. They’re equipped with nontoxic, gentle shampoos for dogs with skin allergies or irritations, or those with fleas.

Many groomers also know how to groom for breed show cuts, which requires precise attention to detail and knowledge of the specific breed requirements. Different coats require different brushes – and groomers have them. The more dead hair they remove from your dog, the less you’ll find on your living room rug.

Poodle getting its nails trimmer at the grooming salon.

They Know How to Handle Dogs

Dogs who are old or become anxious or aggressive when you try to groom them must be handled gently and confidently, and some may need to be muzzled while being groomed – something a groomer can do. If you have a condition such as back pain or arthritis, professional grooming can help by preventing 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 tasks, but they come with the responsibility of owning a dog. A professional groomer knows how to take care of these necessary, but unpleasant tasks.

Professional Grooming Offers Health Benefits

In addition to keeping your dog looking and smelling great and reducing the amount of time you need to spend grooming your dog, professional grooming offers these health benefits:

  • Regular (but not too frequent) baths wash away dirt and help prevent skin irritations.
  • Detangling keeps coats from becoming matted and causing painful pulling on the skin.
  • Using correct brushes for coat type removes damaged and dead hair, allowing new growth for a healthy coat.
  • Careful brushing distributes the dog’s natural oils and gets rid of dead skin.
  • Handling during grooming allows early detection of lumps, bumps, and skin irritations.
  • Nail trimming reduce the risk of nail tears and cracks and painful posture.

Bernese Mountain Dog standing on a grooming table getting brushed by a professional groomer.

How Often Should I Have My Dog Groomed?

The frequency of grooming your dog depends on a mix of variables, including breed, coat length and type, amount of time spent outside getting dirty, and climate. It also depends on how you ask a professional to groom your dog – a short puppy cut might mean a return trip isn’t required for several months – and whether you feel comfortable doing some touch-up grooming at home.

No matter whether you visit a professional with your dog every six weeks or three times a year, it’s best to do a little additional grooming at home. Cleaning teeth, trimming nails, brushing the coat, de-matting, monthly shampoos, checking ears, and freshening up private parts will make your canine pal more healthy, comfortable, and pleasant to live with.

For young puppies and dogs who have never been professionally groomed, you should take gentle and gradual steps to handle and brush your dog, touch feet and nails and offer treats, and even try running an electric toothbrush around the coat for dogs that will need to be clipped. Grooming is a bonding experience for you and your dog and will make the process more pleasant for the long run.

Finding a Groomer

Trusted friends and neighbors who take good care of their dogs, a local breed club, or your veterinarian can often provide recommendations for finding a dog groomer. You can also search AKC GroomerFinder to find professional groomers in your area who participate in the AKC S.A.F.E. Grooming Program. You may want to look for a groomer who has experience grooming your breed of dog, puppies, senior dogs, fearful or aggressive dogs.

Dog-grooming shops are located locally and most require advance appointments. Your veterinarian’s office, doggie daycare, or boarding facility may have a dog groomer on location. Some groomers will even come to you -– mobile grooming vans are fully equipped with supplies, even a bathtub.

Before you make an appointment with a professional groomer, it’s a good idea to ask some questions – about training and experience, pet first aid training, schedule requirements, fees, preferred products and tools, and whether your dog will be crated and for how long. When you go, be sure to clearly communicate your requests or concerns. Your breeder is also a great resource for advice on the specific grooming needs of your dog.

Related article: How to Groom a Dog at Home
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