After our article on pet grooming regulations, you may be wondering, how do I know I found a good dog groomer? We asked our experts what pet parents should look for when finding a pet groomer. Here is their complied list. Special thanks to James Guiliani, co-owner of The Diamond Collar in Brooklyn, New York, and Alex Sabouri and Gil Dan, owners of K9Loft in Los Angeles, California, for providing the following tips.
#1 – Transparency
Ask to see the back grooming area. There should be no closed doors in any grooming salon Guiliani says. Even better, are windows that allow you to watch the entire grooming process, adds Sabouri and Dan. They should not hesitate to give you a tour and show you the salon.
#2 – Experience
Ask the groomer how long they have been grooming, where they learned grooming from and, if they own the salon, how long it’s been in operation. While longevity does not automatically mean a good groomer, you should know their training and background, which may give a green light or a red flag on whether they are going to do a good job.
#3 – Emergency Plan
Do they have an emergency plan in case a dog gets hurt? Guiliani says to ask them what they do in that situation – who takes the dog to the vet, what vet are they affiliated with, etc. They should not have to think about this, they should know their plan immediately.
#4 – Handing Procedures
Ask them what they normally do if a dog is skittish, old, fragile or injured. What if the dog is stressed and tries to bite? Watch for insincerity in the answer – do they sound like they are just telling you what they think you want to hear, or do you get the feeling they genuinely care about the animals and do what’s best for them?
#5 – Watching
Ask if you can watch and/or stay with your dog. If they don’t allow the owner to watch, be cautious. You would be surprised at what professionals will do behind closed doors. Ask them why they don’t allow it.
#6 – References
Ask them for references. While Yelp reviews are usually only upset customers that may or may not be stretching the truth, the grooming salon will probably only give you happy customers. Looking at both will give you both sides of the stories and may help you decide if it’s a good place for your dog.
#7 – Watch the dogs leaving
While not all dog’s enjoy grooming, are most of them coming out happy, tails wagging? Guiliani says “the dog should go out with its tail wagging, and come in with its tail wagging the next time because it knows its in for a good experience.” If every dog that comes to the door puts on the brakes, you may want to reconsider that place.
#8 – Continuing Education
Do the groomers keep up on the newest products and trends, including new handling procedures that may be more humane that “traditional methods”? Ask if they attend the grooming trade shows, seminars or take online classes to stay up-to-date. Bonus if they are a member of one of the organizations, such as National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA).
#9 – Kennel Dryers
Be wary of Kennel dryers. Guiliani says a groomer should never use them, because of the stress they put on the dogs. And, they have caused deaths in older and sick dogs in the past. This may be a personal choice, but it’s definitely something to consider. If they do use kennel dryers, who’s watching the dogs to make sure they are okay? Do they timers set to ensure they aren’t left on to long? Do they use them even in the summer when it’s hot – if so, just how hot is it in the kennel room?