Your groomer is vital to your pet's happiness and health. Where your pet may see their vet once or twice a year for check ups, your groomer is there every few weeks giving them a full once over. Groomers are responsible for so much more than a bath and hair cut. They maintain ear, teeth, nail and skin health; frequently checking for any new abnormalities such as suspicious lumps and keeping an eye on existing issues, notifying you of changes. This is why it is so important to find a dedicated professional to care for your pets grooming needs; and here is how you can make sure you're getting the best your town has to offer.
If at all possible, make your grooming appointment in person. This way you will have the opportunity to check out the salon before committing your pet to a grooming appointment there. If you are interested in a mobile groomer, find out when they are in your area and ask for a tour! The very best way to find a groomer who's grooming style matches your personal preferences is to ask for a referral from a neighbor, friend or co-worker if you have admired their pets grooming. Next, get your list of questions ready.
Questions you should ask
What is your grooming experience and how long have you been in this business?
Something to keep in mind is that there are no state or national boards to hold groomers to any set standards (like there is in cosmetology) so knowledge and experience can vary drastically. There are organizations and clubs groomers can pay to join but this does not necessarily make them the best option. This also means there is no health board to make sure the salon is clean and bacteria free.
NOTE One quick and easy way to check for cleanliness is by smell. You can sometimes expect a wet dog smell, but any foul odors or cigarette smoke and you should be out of there!
What products do you use?
You might want to do some research on professional pet grooming products. Petedge.com is a large supplier to groomers nationwide and you can easily see the difference between high, mid and low grade products. IMPORTANT! if fleas are a concern to you, be sure to ask what flea shampoos they use, dish soap and human shampoo is not a safe or effective means of ridding your pet of fleas. Dogs have a pH of around 5, making them the most alkaline of all species (humans have a pH of around 7, that means something generated for human skin is 200 times more acidic to a dogs skin). Biogroom™ flea and tick shampoo is an excellent product to use for pets with sensitive skin.
What are their hours and days of operation and can they accommodate your scheduling needs?
Before you spend a lot of time getting to know your new potential groomer, make sure that your schedules are compatible. You may only be available the days the groomer is closed, so ask this question early on.
What are their prices for your breed?
Pricing can vary drastically depending on breed type and size. Try to understand that if the groomer hasn't seen your dog it is going to be very difficult to give an exact price, but they should be able to give you a good estimate.
Do they offer a la cart services such as blueberry facials or nail filing?
Decide what add on services you want while making your appointment, this way the groomer can schedule ample time for your pets pampering. Also, be sure to be honest about your pet's condition and temperament. If they are matted, have fleas or are excessively dirty, you should expect to pay a little extra being that remedying these issues will take extra time. If your pet has aggression or anxiety issues, be honest. This way the groomer can better protect herself and your pet. By keeping your pet on a regular grooming schedule not only will your groomer love you, your pet will be healthier and happier.
After you have checked out the salons and talked to the groomers, you should feel confident in making your decision. Finding the right pet groomer is important and now you are better prepared to make that decision!
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