Written By: Dr. Gwen

For some dogs, going to the groomer is like a spa day, but for others, the change of routine, strange handling and getting wet is worse then getting porcupine quills … in your eye!

Finding the right groomer reduces the stress on your dog, enables you to feel free to leave your best friend for the day without worries.
To help you find the right groomer for you and your best friend, here are a few questions and things to think about:
  • Look local first and expand your search if you can’t find the right groomer nearby. This saves the environment and if your dog does not appreciate travelling, a short trip is preferable to a long car ride.
  • Looks to see how the dogs are housed. Are there many crates or larger more spacious kennels? Are the kennels in a climate controlled space? Are there many other dogs present at the same time? Is there a lot of barking?
  • How many people are on staff. Some dogs are not the ‘happy go lucky’ types and meeting new people can be stressful.
  • Are the dogs allowed to socialize with each other. Socializing may be the best or the worst thing to happen to your dog. It depends on his/her personality.
  • Can small and nervous dogs be separated from larger or more assertive or aggressive dogs?
  • What does the groomer do for the nervous, aggressive or just an extremely exuberant dog. What techniques does the groomer use to calm a dog? Would these things work for your dog?
  • Did the groomer ask about nail, anal gland and ear care?
  • Did the groomer suggest dental care too? This is a flag – proper dental care can not be done in an awake pet safely. Do not allow a groomer to clean your pet’s teeth.
  • Did the groomer ask about the most recent vaccines (especially kennel cough) and deworming treatments and flea and tick prevention. If this was required for your pet, you can safely assume that the establishment is careful about disease transfer.
  • What does the groomer do for old, arthritic dogs to keep them comfortable while being groomed. The groomer may suggest several shorter sessions so the pet is not too stressed standing for extended periods of time.
  • How far in advance do you have to book ahead to get the date of your choice?
  • Will the groomer allow you to stay and assist with the grooming.

Tips to Make Your Dog’s Spa day wonderful.
  • Go to the groomers place before booking an appointment for your dog. Check out the facility and see if there are any things the groomer can do to make your best friend’s stay fun.
  • Bring your puppy hungry and have a few of his/her favourite treats to ‘break the ice’. This short and fun visit helps make future visits go much easier.
  • If car rides are a recipe for car sickness, we have to work on that before you travel to the groomer. The last thing a nervous dog needs is to combine scary things. Ask us how to train your dog to tolerate or even love the car.
  • Discuss with the groomer the expectations you have for the finished look of your pet. Bring pictures that you like so that the groomer knows what you want and can discuss with you what is possible with the condition of the coat.
  • Discuss how mats and areas of poor hygiene can be helped with good grooming techniques.
  • If your dog has any special disabilities, arthritic, deaf or blind; please share this with the groomer so adjustments can be made in the grooming technique to lower the stress on your dog.