What qualifications do you need to be a dog groomer?

As you're here, we're assuming that you're considering a career in dog grooming. Being a dog groomer is a fun, exciting and entertaining job. You’ll be on your feet a lot, and there's plenty of client interaction when owners drop off your furry customers. It can be tough at times (especially when you have a particularly fidgety dog to groom) but there's nothing more rewarding than seeing a puppy go from shabby to stylish! So what are the best routes into this career? And are there any specific qualifications required? Our helpful guide will give you all the information you need to know.

What does a dog groomer do?

Dog groomers do all sorts of different tasks, but the most common is bathing, combing and trimming a dog’s coat. As a dog groomer, you also need to advise owners on correct coat maintenance, the products they might need at home and point out any skin conditions under the fur. Each dog that you groom will have different requirements — meaning that no two days are the same! The most typical tasks carried out by a dog groomer include:

  • Talking with clients about their dog’s requirements
  • Bathing and drying services
  • Carrying out checks on the coat for any infections 
  • Carrying out more general basic health checks 
  • Shaping and styling the dog’s coat
  • Carrying out simpler services such as trims and tidy ups
  • Providing additional services such as nail clipping, ear cleaning and teeth brushing
  • Giving advice to owners on how to take care of their dog’s coat
  • Maintaining accurate records

Why become a dog groomer?

A dog groomer gets a lot of job satisfaction from being around animals all the time. Who wouldn’t want a job that involves getting to meet cute dogs everyday? Spending your working hours with new four-legged friends, helps to keep the job exciting and rewarding. In addition, it can give you a great sense of achievement to see both owners and dogs happy with your work. 

Being a dog groomer is a lot of fun but it also comes with responsibility. Regular grooming is an integral part of a dog’s health and wellbeing. Frequent grooming helps prevent infections, matted hair and many other health problems. For this reason, by working as a dog groomer you’re helping to raise the standards of animal welfare. Your job ensures that dogs are comfortable, clean and happy all year round. Many owners find it difficult to thoroughly groom and clean their dog at home, therefore professional groomers help to ensure that any issues are spotted and that helpful advice is given. Dog grooming is something that will always be needed and is certainly not a declining industry!

Where do dog groomers work and what are the typical working hours?

Dog groomers have a range of options when it comes to where they decide to work. You can either work for someone else in a big pet chain or independent salon, or you could start up a business of your own. Perhaps you’d like to own a mobile converted van and travel around your local area to clients’ houses. Or maybe you could transform your garden shed into a luxury doggy spa. Dog groomers really do have the freedom of choice!

There are a number of different benefits to working for someone else, or working for your own business. If you choose to work as a solo self-employed groomer, you'll have flexibility in your hours and the amount you charge. This leads to a great sense of independence and the ability to make all your own decisions. On the other hand, working within a chain or boutique means that you get to interact with other employees and gain valuable tips and tricks. There can also be more sense of job security, although you will most likely be limited to standard 9-5 working hours. As both career paths offer different advantages, it is important to think about your own personal feelings and weigh up which route would work best for you.

What is the typical salary of a dog groomer?

The average salary for a dog groomer in the UK is around £22,000, although this varies heavily depending on where you work. If you are self-employed then you can select your own charges based on what you see fit, whereas those working within a chain will have a fixed salary.

How do I become a dog groomer?

There's no set roadmap or specific qualifications needed to become a dog groomer. However, a course in grooming, styling or animal welfare would be beneficial to help you stand out from the crowd. Taking the time to train professionally means your clients know they can trust you with their furry family members. Typical ways that people enter this career are:

  • Through completing a college course
  • Though an apprenticeship
  • By completing a specialised course run by a training provider
  • By gaining work experience

Here at GroomArts, we offer the popular OCN Level 3 Diploma in Dog Grooming. This Ofqual approved course enables students to learn and understand what it takes to become a commercially effective pet groomer. Achieving this qualification ensures you will be equipped with the right skills to set up your own business in the future. 

How can a career in dog grooming progress?

As you build up experience and knowledge within this industry, the possibilities are endless. You could start out as a trainee apprentice, progress to work as a junior groomer and continue to work your way up the ranks until you feel confident enough to start a business of your own. Dog grooming can also tie in with other animal related careers, such as pet sitting or dog walking, since you have already built up experience around animals. 

What skills do I need to be a dog groomer?

There are a number of different skills needed to become a dog groomer. You’ll need to be patient, creative and, perhaps most importantly, an animal lover! As most dog groomers are self-employed, you'll need to have basic numeracy and literacy skills. You’ll also need to be good at administration, marketing and business management. Additional skills needed to be a dog groomer are:

  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent verbal communication skills
  • Good organisation 
  • Ability to handle poorly behaved dogs
  • Ability to work in stressful situations
  • Ability to work as a team and independently

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