Grooming: How do you know you can trust your groomer?

 In December of 2010 a Houston woman trusted her pet’s grooming needs to a big name pet supply chain. She dropped off her dog only to be called an hour later and told her dog had died while being groomed. Her dog was a healthy champion stock Maltese. How does a healthy dog die during grooming? Unfortunately, for this little dog he was hung by the neck when left unattended on the grooming table.

You are the owner of a small breed dog who needs regular grooming. Like most of us with small breed dogs who have to attend the groomers on a regular basis we are faced with the task of finding a decent groomer. The question is this, when you drop off your dog for grooming how do you really know your dog is safe?

The incident above is just one of many, so how do we, as conscientious pet owners know that the groomer we choose is a responsible and caring groomer? Simple, do your research. Today you have different choices – there are traditional shops where you drop your dog off and pick him up after the grooming is complete, there are mobile units that come directly to your home and some shops even let you stay while your dog is being groomed. Choices that help you and your dog relax and feel safe while there.

You wouldn’t leave your child at a daycare facility you had not checked out thoroughly, and the same can be said for leaving your dog with a groomer. Get recommendations from other dog owners as to where they go, but don’t be afraid to go and ask to see the facility, meet with the groomer(s), and get a feel for the establishment. Ask the groomer if they have experience grooming your specific breed of dog.  Before making an appointment with a new groomer visit the facility. Ask for a tour of the premises, make sure there are no areas in which you are not allowed to look. For example if your dog is to be kenneled in a back room, make sure that you are allowed to inspect that room to make sure it is a safe environment for your furry friend. Are the kennels clean? Is water available? Is the kennel spacious enough for your dog to move around in comfortably?

Next speak to the groomer who will be grooming your dog. How long have they been a groomer? How much training were they given? How many dogs have they groomed thus far in their career? And, perhaps one of the most important questions in my mind, do they themselves own a dog?

I have tried large facilities, and found them lacking. My schnoodle once returned home with so many nicks and cuts he looked like a pin cushion. Needless to say, I never returned there with any of my dogs. I looked around my home town and found an independent groomer who works out of her own home. When I first met her and was walked through her grooming salon, she was open with me showing me everything including the products and tools she uses to groom your dog. Every time I pick my dogs up ( I have four that we take for regular grooming) they are happy and look gorgeous.

Now remember, I am an animal rescuer and my dogs all have issues with strangers, especially our puppy mill rescue Hercules who is terrified of everyone but myself and my husband. Our groomer never has an issue with him and he always comes home looking amazing! I have found a gem of a groomer, and she makes grooming less stressful on our rescues. She is also a small breed dog owner who has a wonderful understanding of dogs.

All it took to find this amazing woman was a little leg work, and a few conversations with her existing clients whose contact she provided me with (with the clients permission of course) as soon as I asked. She was open with me from day one, and my dogs love her.

Remember, grooming can be stressful on a dog, and you owe it to your beloved pet to make sure their grooming experience is safe and stress free. If you don’t feel comfortable with a groomer chances are your dog won’t either, so DO YOUR HOMEWORK!