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Choosing A Groomer

Article by Dawn Hunter

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Every groomer has different styles, and methods. They work out of their homes, pet stores, and veterinary clinics. Location does NOT make any one groomer better than another. Some only do small dogs, and some do all breeds and sizes. Experience is usually the weighing factor. Choose a groomer like you would a hair dresser or barber.

Some ‘Rules of Thumb’ When Choosing a Groomer:

  • Are they certified – in other words did they take a pet grooming course, write an exam and get a certificate. Did they study under an experienced groomer for any period of time?
  • Are their facilities clean, airy and able to handle the number of and size of pets they book?
  • How many bookings do they average in a day?
  • Do they ask you about your dog’s condition every time you visit?
  • Do they seem knowledgeable about skin and coat conditions and any breed specific known potential problems?
  • Do you like them? Does your dog come home stressed or happy? (All things being considered).
  • Do they explain any behaviour situations, or health related situations they may have come across during your dog’s stay with them?

Owner Responsibility in Grooming:

Owners have a responsibility to their dog or cat, and groomer, to understand the requirements of their specific breed.

Handling paws and feet, and ears, brushing, combing out, are all things you as an owner can and should do to make your dog/cat comfortable with being touched and handled. If you feel comfortable doing it, you should clip nails every 5 to 6 weeks regularly. Make sure paw pads are kept clean and free of debris, salt, and sand (especially in the winter months). Check ears for dirt, wax build-up etc. Check skin for flaking, dryness, excess oiliness. If you are concerned call your Veterinary clinic for advice.

Depending on the breed of your dog/cat, he/she may need to be clipped/groomed more frequently. On an average, medium to long coated dogs should be bathed and groomed 3 to 4 times a year, short haired dogs 2 to 3 times a year. Some of the smaller breeds require more frequent attention as they do not shed, and thus clipping and a proper bath are essential about every 8 to 10 weeks. Check with your groomer, or vet, for their advice and go from there, using some common sense based on the time you yourself have available for grooming your dog.

In the meantime, enjoy grooming your pet as it is rewarding and relaxing for both you and them!

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.