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Something as superficial as your dog’s hairstyle may seem silly and unimportant, but on the contrary, choosing a professional groomer should be prioritized. Depending on your dog’s breed and hygiene needs, they could be visiting the groomer as much as every 4-6 weeks, so deciding who will be responsible for keeping your pooch clean and primped requires some research and follow-up. Here’s a quick checklist to run through before getting your pup’s hair done:
- Get a Referral – Begin by asking friends, family and neighbors for recommendations. Trusted reviews are invaluable. You can also contact the National Dog Groomers Association to find certified groomers in your local area.
- Check Prices – When you start calling down your list of local groomers, ask for a full rundown of their menu of services and corresponding prices. For example, some groomers include additional services such as nail clippings and expression of anal glands in their regular grooming packages and others do not, so it’s helpful to know exactly what’s offered so you can customize your pup’s visits accordingly. Many groomers’ prices depend on the size and breed of the dog so make sure to give them enough information in order to receive an accurate quote.
- Take a Tour – Prior to booking your pup’s first appointment, you’ll want to visit the facility and observe the activity. Take mental notes of the setup, lighting and cleanliness level and make sure you’re comfortable with the environment. You’ll also want to check to see if the kennels are large enough and separated for dogs and cats. Watch to see if the groomers handle their pups in a caring and professional manner and ask the staff administrative questions such as what type of records they keep and how much advance notice is required for scheduling.
- Bring Vaccination Records – Most groomers will require immunization records for rabies, kennel cough and other infectious diseases before accepting new dogs into their salon. It’s also worth noting that spayed and neutered dogs tend to be calmer, less hyperactive, and therefore more tolerant of grooming. You may want to consider getting this procedure done by your veterinarian before scheduling that first grooming session.
- Speak Up about Any Special Circumstances – Before you drop your pooch off to get his/her hair did, make sure your groomer understands any health conditions to be aware of – whether it be dry/flaky skin or something more serious such as hip dysplasia that would require the groomer to be more gentle when maneuvering the dog.
- Say Goodbyes Quickly – Most dogs, especially those who display anxious behavior, have a difficult time with grooming. A long, drawn-out goodbye can make the experience worse for a socially anxious pooch, so don’t make it a big deal. There are also a few preparatory things you can do at home to get your pup more comfortable with the experience. Brush your dog often and give a reward after each brushing session. Other tips to ease your dog into the grooming process? Give regular full body massages and turn on the vacuum to get a scared dog used to the sound of the dryers.
If this all seems to be a bit much, just know that when you pick up your best friend, he will look “pawfect” with a shiny coat, fresh smell and maybe even a bandana or bow in her hair to boot!