If a groomer has not been trained correctly, then it is unlikely that they will be able to completely meet the needs of your pet. Although the RSPCA is unable to verify the quality of any of the qualifications or associations listed below, it is advised that owners consider the following:
- Groomers are not required to hold any qualifications, but it is recommended that you use those that do; the most recognised qualification route for dog groomers in the UK is the City and Guilds qualifications. Ask to see any certificates.
- It is also recommended that you find a groomer that belongs to a trade organisation. For example, groomers can join the British Dog Groomers Association (BDGA), through which they can keep up with trends on safety, health and other issues relating to grooming through continued education, training and support.
- The BDGA is part of the Pet Care Trade Association (a membership body for pet care specialist businesses). They have a list of groomers that they have accredited to a set standard, which aims to provide quality assurance to owners. There are written and practical tests that the groomer has to pass to gain this accreditation. Owners are encouraged to seek advice from the BDGA regarding choosing a good groomer.
- Groomers should know about important topics such as safety procedures, health and hygiene practices, how to handle pesticides, the anatomy of the dog, proper handling techniques, information about monitoring animal behaviour and first aid. A discussion with them should help you be sure that they are capable.
- The Pet Care Trust (a charitable part of the Pet Care Trade Association) also holds a register for Accredited Pet Care Professionals, which stores information about pet care professionals of all types, again with the aim to give the public confidence that the holder is skilled, knowledgeable and accountable. Awards may be a further sign that a groomer is recognised within the industry and, when you chat to them, it will become apparent how much experience they have.