With our ever-increasing dog population, and the popularity for poodle cross breeds such as the ‘cockapoo’ and ‘cavapoo’, we are increasingly in need of good, safe groomers who can help maintain your pet’s health and welfare via grooming, clipping, and coat care services. But how do we find one?
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Where to look?
There are a number of ways you can start your search for a groomer. The grooming industry is currently unregulated, so there is no governing body holding them to account. Therefore, you have to employ a number of ways to get in contact, and then to audit them to ensure they are the right place for you.
- Ask your vet for recommendations on good local groomers
- Ask your dog-owning friends or family if they endorse a groomer
- Search for local groomers on a search engine and check reviews (although be mindful that people are potentially more likely to complain than leave a good review, so don’t exclude purely on this)
- Ask on a local dog page for personal recommendations
What to consider
It can be hard to know where to look when looking for a pet groomer. Here are a few things to consider:
Certain breeds may require their coat to be maintained every 4-8 weeks, so ensuring that the location is accessible to you is very important. Start by looking at their location and checking if you can easily get there at regular intervals.
Of course, everyone should charge appropriately for a good service, and you want to ensure that your pet is in safe hands. Expensive isn’t always synonymous with good quality, however. When factoring in how to find a good groomer you must make sure you can afford the cost on a regular basis. So, check out their price list and service list, then factor that into your financial planning for your pet.
All dogs require different treatments – some terriers need ‘stripping’, some dog breeds need their undercoat removed when they moult, some dogs that don’t moult need to have regular clipping to avoid painful mats and tangles.
It is important to research what your pet needs and check that the groomers have that service available.
What qualities they should possess
Knowledge and training
There are many courses available to people wanting to become a dog groomer, some more credible than others. Although it is not mandatory for groomers to have official training, it can be a nice addition to help you choose.
Over time, people can gain incredible hands-on experience, but the addition of qualifications can potentially help guide your choice.
These considerations include:
- Are they a member of the British Dog Groomers’ Association (BDGA)
- Do they have dog first aid training?
- Where did they get their qualifications, training or experience? (One of the most recognised qualifications in the UK is the City and Guilds)
- Do they have any dog behaviour training? (Dog grooming salons can be scary for dogs, having a groomer who has tried to further their knowledge in dog behaviour is a really proactive sign!)
- Are they members of trade bodies such as the Pet Care Trust
- Does the groomer check that your dog is up to date with preventative treatment like vaccinations, flea and worm treatments? (This is crucial in preventing the spread of diseases)
Do not give out unsolicited veterinary advice
No one should diagnose animals apart from veterinary surgeons, your groomer should not be giving you extensive health advice on your pets, or trying to diagnose any issues they find while grooming.
Any issue should be flagged immediately to you and the advice should be ‘go see your veterinary team’.
The best place for animal health advice is your vets, and groomers should not be imposing strong views on you with regards to any advice or treatment a veterinary surgeon has given. If in doubt about your pet’s health – contact your vet.
Do not do inappropriate procedures
There are loads of new procedures coming onto the pet welfare market, some of them are fantastic ideas and inventions to help maintain our pet’s welfare.
However, some of them are not appropriate, but are being marketed to groomers who want to help your pet but may not understand how damaging they can be.
One big issue recently is ‘anaesthesia free’ dentals. These should not be offered – read more about why here.
Every dog is an individual and copes with groomers in different ways. Groomers should not force a dog to undergo a treatment if they are scared and distressed. The service should be personal to your dog, taking into account their needs and character.
Most groomers I know have been compassionate, understanding and patient with dogs who are worried. They should want to spend time making your dog feel comfortable with the treatment so that the experience is a positive one.
Show and tell!
And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a tour of the premises if you want some extra reassurance. A good, reputable groomer would be happy to show you around and explain how their process works.