As more people opt to pamper their dogs, cats and even small pets like bunnies, the pet grooming business is booming. And choosing the right groomer is almost as important as finding a good veterinarian, as your pets’ safety, health and well-being depend on this.
Below are some tips for finding the best groomer for your pet.
Word of Mouth
I believe that the best way to find a good pet groomer is to ask people who are in the know. Not only are friends and associates a good place to start, you can also ask your veterinarian, a local trusted animal shelter, kennel operators, breeders and other such pros for recommendations.
Some other really great resources are professional organizations such as the National Dog Groomers Association of America or the National Cat Groomers Institute of America. While pet groomers are not required to obtain professional licensing or formal education, many opt to do so in order to enhance their skills, and their credibility. So it might be a good idea to select a groomer who is licensed and trained.
Thanks to the proliferation of the Internet, you may also find reviews on such sites as Yelp! Regardless, be sure to do your homework before selecting a groomer.
First, Check Out the Conditions of the Pet Grooming Salon
It’s highly advisable to visit the salon in person before making an appointment. Be mindful of such factors as the cleanliness of the facility, the kinds of equipment they have, the products they use, such as shampoos, the smell, the size and condition of the crates and areas where the pets are maintained, and how well the pets are monitored.
It’s also extremely important to observe how the staff relate to and handle the pets, which should be in a very caring, patient manner.
Communication with the Groomer is Key
Be sure to ask a lot of questions, and be very clear about your expectations and your pets’ requirements. It’s also very important to reveal any health or behavioral issues your pet may have. A responsible groomer will keep records of each pet, their age; their health and vaccination history; the name and contact information for their vet; and other such pertinent info. So be prepared to share this.
Furthermore, ask about the cost of the services your pet will require, so that there aren’t any surprises when it comes time to pay your bill. And never allow a groomer to talk you into any services you do not want or need for your pet.
Determine What Services Your Pet Needs
Nowadays, pet groomers offer a lot more than just bathing and clipping. There are a growing number of upscale pet spas that provide the very same luxury pampering services available to humans. These include fancy “paw-dicures,” complete with fashion-forward nail polishes and elaborate nail art; facials; therapeutic massage; aromatherapy; oral hygiene treatments such as teeth cleaning; mud wraps; fur coloring; and more.
Granted, some of these are frivolous, and such services as dying pets neon colors are highly controversial. But many of these can greatly benefit pets. Therapeutic massage, for example, is highly beneficial to elderly pets and those that have such health issues as arthritis. Thus, an increasing number of groomers are trained and certified in pet massage.
Moreover, the popular Blueberry Facial product is excellent for eliminating those unsightly and smelly doggy tear stains. And regular teeth cleaning is great for a pet’s overall health. So it’s good to keep an open mind about certain pet services and treatments.
Prepare Your Pet for the Visit to the Groomer
Many pets are just as anxious about visiting a groomer as they are about a trip to the vet. After all, they have strange people poking and prodding them, in an unfamiliar environment. The Humane Society of the United States recommends preparing your pet in advance of a visit to the groomer by practicing some light grooming at home, such as brushing or combing, increasing the time you do this over the course of several days, and then rewarding your pet with a treat.
For especially anxious pets, you might consider enlisting the services of a mobile groomer, who will show up right out your doorstep with a specially equipped grooming vehicle, and will perform their services right outside your home. This tends to be more costly than a trip to a salon. But in certain situations, the cost is worth it.
Regardless, it’s very important that you feel comfortable with and trust the pet groomer you choose to service your beloved critter. Hopefully, this relationship will last for a very long time.