First steps for choosing a groomer

RSPCA Companion Animals Pet Care Factsheet

It is important that you leave your pet in the care of a responsible and reputable adult that will meet all of your pets needs.

When choosing a groomer, make sure that you:

  • Speak to your vet- they may be able to recommend a reputable groomer. Also ask friends and family for recommendations about establishments that they have used. Visit places and speak to people. 
  • Meet the groomer before employing them. You need to be confident that they will care for your dog properly, and that he/she gets on well with them. The grooming visit should be a positive experience for your pet so be confident that the people employed will meet his/her physical and behavioural needs when left with them. For example, do they use reward-based training methods (praise or suitable treats) if required, to make the experience positive for the dog.
  • Are the facilities clean and secure? It is important that the facilities are suitable for your pet and that he/she will not be at risk while being at the groomers. It should be a place where you are comfortable leaving your pet. 
  • Do they ask for proof of vaccination before using their services? This is important to stop the spread of contagious diseases between dogs. For information on vaccination, ask your vet.
  • How many staff do they have per animal? It is important that there are enough people to look after the needs of the animals in their care. A groomer that runs on an appointment-only basis may also indicate that each dog is given the correct amount of time so that the job is done properly. Working in this way also means that fewer dogs will be groomed at any one time so the dog does not have to be groomed surrounded by other dogs he/she doesn’t know.
  • If your dog has any special requirements, e.g. sensitive skin, then ensure that you are happy that the groomer will discuss these needs with you and cater for them. Your dog may also be of a general nervous disposition or perhaps doesn’t like particular parts of his/her body touched (e.g. paws). If you decide that is is still necessary to visit a groomer, can they recognize signs of anxiety in a dog and know how to respond?
  • Check their references and ask to see a copy of their police check or CRB certificate, to check that they do not have a criminal background.
  • Check that they have insurance to cover your pet in case of an emergency. 
  • A good groomer will also be able to show you how to groom correctly at home using the right techniques and the right tools. This will ensure that you are able to carry on their good practice between visits.
  • Be realistic about price. Though £10 may sound like a bargain for a grooming session, does it reflect the quality of the service that is being provided? Are you happy that your pet will be well looked after?

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