Your precious pet deserves the best care and you are responsible for ensuring that he gets it. Pet care includes a healthy diet, ample exercise, visits to the vet and, most importantly, good grooming.
Good grooming constitutes a bath, hair trimming for some breeds, nail trimming, teeth cleaning, and ear cleaning. If you have the time and knowledge to do these then you could do it yourself, otherwise, it’s best for you to only do the odd shampooing and leave the rest to skilled professionals who are trained to carry out these grooming tasks with great care.
Finding pet groomers that you can trust
In order to find a good pet groomer in your area, you will need to carry out some meticulous research after which you can narrow down your options before finally making a choice.
1. Get recommendations or go online
Start your research by asking trusted friends and relatives for their recommendations. Your veterinarian, kennel manager, and neighbors can also help. If you see someone walking a perfectly groomed pooch in your area, ask them to recommend their pet groomer.
Look for groomers on social media and read their reviews. However, be cautious as these may not always be accurate.
If you are new to an area or can’t get good recommendations from friends, family and other pet specialists then take your search online. Pet Groomer Finders is the perfect online tool to help you find professional pet groomers in your area. Reviews on Pet Groomer Finder are only allowed from Pet Owners who have had appointments with the groomer booked through the website, so you can trust that they are authentic.
2. Narrow down your options and meet them in person
In order to ascertain that you are comfortable enough to leave your pet in the hands of the pet groomer that you have found, take the time to go meet with those that seem like the best options for you.
Ask them a few questions and voice some concerns and see how they respond to these before deciding.
Questions to ask:
- Ask about the services that they provide and see if they are knowledgeable enough to identify problems like skin and ear infections or tooth decay.
- Request prices for the various grooming services that you need for your pet’s breed (some breeds take longer to groom), and find out what’s included and what you need to pay extra for.
- Ask about their hours of operation and about any restrictions or rules that they have.
- Will your pet have a bathroom and a play break while there?
- Find out about what kind of products the salon uses for washing and grooming pets. Be concerned if they are not using high-quality, hypo-allergic products with a minimum of unnecessary chemicals.
- Find out about what grooming and medical records (including vaccinations) the grooming facility keeps.
- If your pet breed needs specific grooming then find out if the salon has any experience with the breed.
- Will they allow you to stay with your pet, at least for the first time? This will help to alleviate any anxiety on your part and you will be able to see how your pet interacts with the groomer.
- Do they keep contact information in the event of an emergency?
- How do they handle evacuations in an emergency?
Since you are showing an interest in their place, the groomer should also ask you about any health issues that your dog may have, indicating that they do know that special conditions need special handling and specific products.
3. Request a tour of the facilities
If this is denied then you are advised to rather take the place of your list. When looking around take note of the cleanliness of the grooming areas and see if the salon is well ventilated. Look at the sturdiness of the work stations. The cages where pets are kept should be spacious enough for pets to move around comfortably while there. Take note of the staff and how they interact with the animals that they are grooming. Are they friendly and do they handle the pets gently?
Check that all pets under the blow-driers are monitored at regular intervals because overheating can cause them extreme discomfort and even burns.
4. Request certifications
The National Dog Groomers Association of America recommends that pet lovers check for certifications or memberships at their association or the other two certifying organizations in the U.S.: The International Society of Canine Cosmetologists and the International Professional Groomers Inc.
5. Ask about their training
Groomers get their training through training and mentoring programs, pet grooming schools or through apprenticeships with on-the-job-learning. Ask them questions about their training and find out if they attend voluntary continuing education courses that help to improve their skills and continue to offer safer services to their four-legged clients.
Groomers who have an AKC S.A.F.E. certification are committed to following the Safety Oath, promising to use the best health and safety practices while grooming and caring for pets.
6. How do the staff deal with any medical emergencies?
In the event of a medical condition flaring up or an accidental event while your pet is being groomed, does the staff have any basic medical experience? There should be a first aid kit that is visible and instantly reachable in the event of any medical emergency.
7. Run background checks
If your vet was originally reluctant to advise you on a groomer in the area (they often are) choose to rather ask if they have seen any injuries from the groomers that you are leaning toward choosing.
The Better Business Bureau in your area will also be able to tell you if they have had any complaints against any groomers that you have narrowed down on your list.
Making your final choice
Now that you are armed with all the information and have conducted your interviews, trust your intuition and make your choice of the pet groomer that you deem best. The first time will be difficult for both, but you are certain to have conducted your research perfectly, and it’s up to you to give the groomers instructions about how you want your pet groomed and which other services you want each time.
Pay close attention to your pet’s post-grooming behavior, this will be the best indication of his relationship with the groomer and if they haven’t clicked (this can happen) and your pet is unhappy, don’t fret, just find a new groomer.