10 Questions to ask when choosing a Dog/Cat Groomer for the first time.

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1. What kind of training have you had? Professional training or certificate program (internship or work-study). It’s important that their training included safety and handling procedures that most novice and inexperienced groomers may not know.

2. How many years have you been grooming? This answer would ideally include at least 2 years of full-time experience. If they say something vague like “I’ve been grooming my own (or my friend/family) dogs at home for years…”, make sure they have quality training to make up for their unspoken lack of experience.

3. Are dog ever put into a crate? If the answer is yes, asking to see the crate area is a reasonable request, especially if there are no other pets in the area at that time. Quickly, smell for lingering odors like urine, feces, mildew, or other signs that it it isn’t thoroughly cleaned. Are the crates visibly in good shape (not rusted or broken)?

4. Do the cage dryers use heated air or recirculated air? Heating on cage dryers is a big no! The air from a cage dryer blows directly at your pets, designed to be used without groomer interaction. Recirculated air usually isn’t harmful, but heated air can cause breathing distress or even death for certain breeds, like Yorkshire Terriers or Bulldogs.

5. What brand of dog shampoo do you use? The quality of the shampoo can change the coat condition of your pet. Cheap ingredients can cause allergic reactions or hair damage. For this, it’s best to look online to check the brand specifics. Look for its price relative to the others.

6. What’s included in the grooming package? Ask to see how many services the package includes and prices for added-on services: shampoo, conditioner, ear-cleaning, ear-plucking, nail trim, pet perfume/cologne, flea bath/dip, de-skunking treatment, dematting/detangling

7. What is clipper burn? Throw this question in casually, almost as if you don’t know, to see how they react. Clipper burn [little red bumps of irritation caused by a hot blade or by improper clipper handling] is mostly preventable and should happen rarely if ever. Be wary of responses like “Oh, it happens all the time,it’s no big deal”.

8. Do you offer any discounts or incentives for homes with multiple dogs? For frequent clients? If I refer a friend who becomes a client? Sometimes groomers (especially those who manage their own shops) will offer discounts if you bring your pack of dogs to them regularly. Just one dog? Bring Lassy in for a haircut every six weeks (depending on breed) and schedule a bath with the groomer in-between trims. If you have a friend or two with dogs, see if the groomer with give you a one-time discount for each new client you give her. Everyone wins!
Remember – you have a right to ask questions before you trust your pet with a new groomer! A groomer who doesn’t want to give you the time to answer a few questions might not be patient with your dog.

9. Do you have a website that can give me more details?

10. Do you have testimonials from existing customers for me to read?

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