How To Choose Your Dog’s Groomer


I have a small Havanese who requires frequent grooming. He’s not a shedder, which is the only kind of dog I’d own, but he does need frequent baths and haircuts and what I call bikini waxes (his privates area). I’ve tested out a few locations in and around my neighborhood and once had a dog groomer come to my home. Here’s what I’ve learned.

Dog grooming in-home.
While it’s convenient to have the groomer come to your home, you have to deal with the hair and mess they make. The dog groomer came and bathed/cut Pepper in the kitchen. She didn’t want to bent over the tub. I had to disinfect my kitchen and launder several towels post the visit. Pepper liked having it done in his house, but it wasn’t worth the clean up I had to deal with. It was about the same cost as taking Pepper to the groomer so cost isn’t the reason to choose in-home grooming, it’s either the convenience or stress of your dog. It wasn’t for me.

Check out the facilities.
Is it clean? Do they seem to be cleaning up after each dog? You want your dog bathed at a facility that is clean and sanitary. The last thing you want is your dog getting sick from his/her grooming.


Do they ask for your dog’s medical history?
A good groomer will ask for a copy of your dog’s medical records. They are asking to make sure all the dogs are healthy and to help you avoid coming home with a sick pet. I’m always happy to provide a copy of my dog’s records to any place that asks. If they don’t ask, I’d be suspicious of the groomer.

Speak to the groomer before leaving your dog.
It’s not that I don’t trust the front desk, but I like to speak to the groomer before I leave Pepper. I want to personally deliver the instructions to the groomer. 

Ask for the price before your dog is groomed.
You don’t want sticker shock when you go to pick up your pet. Ask before you leave your dog what they cost will be. They charge by the size of your dog and what kind of condition they are in so any quote you are given over the phone when making the appointment might differ when you go to pick them up AFTER the grooming.

Ask what the services include.
You need to ask what they will be doing to your dog besides washing, cutting and drying your dog. Will they clean his ears and empty their anal sacs? I am never going to empty my dog’s anal sacs so it’s either the groomer or the vet, but someone has to do it and typically the groomer will do as part of the grooming. And dog groomers should trim their nails.


Ask where your dog will be kept while waiting to be groomed.
Many places will keep your dog in a cage while they wait to be groomed. And let’s face it, it takes time end-to-end to get your dog groomed. Mine has been at most facilities about four hours. I don’t want him in a cage. I take Pepper to a place that also serves as a doggie day care so he’s allowed to play with other dogs while he waits his grooming. It’s a much better experience for him and makes up for the guilty I feel when I leave him. Pepper suffers from separation anxiety like most Havanese and will screech and shake on my departure. Once I’m out of sight he’s fine.

Check your dog after his grooming.
Your dog might come home all happy and smelling great, but be sure to check your dog more closely. I’ve had Pepper be clipped to short with a nail that was bleeding. And sometimes they will be sloppy and cut one ear shorter than another or leave him uneven in places. I didn’t discover the unevenness till I got home so it’s important to check them BEFORE you leave.

Do you have any other tips for finding the best groomer for your dog? Please add them to the comments area.

Pepper Face

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