Which breeds need grooming? The short answer is: all of them. All dogs need regular grooming to keep their hair and skin healthy. But not all dogs need professional grooming. For those of you who own breeds of dogs that need professional grooming, choosing a groom shop might prove to be a bit of a dilemma. In general, dogs that require professional grooming are as follows:
All terriers, other than those with short hair
Cocker and other Spaniels
Old English Sheepdogs
Mixed breeds consisting of the above
Those are breeds that MUST be professionally groomed. There are many “in-between” breeds that definitely look better with grooming, such as Setters and Retrievers.
Choosing a groomer is essential for these breeds because they will require professional care every 3-6 weeks. Since we’ve all heard groomer horror stories, how do you find a talented, trusted groomer?
First off, do your homework. Check online rating services such as Yelp. Keep in mind that not everyone will be pleased all the time. I’ve never seen a Yelp listing with totally happy customers all the time. Ask your friends who have dogs that require grooming to refer you.
Visit your choices in person to make the first appointment. Ask to see the grooming area. Is it clean? Is it well maintained? Do any odors meet your nose as you walk in? Are the employees friendly and kind to the animals? Are dogs and cats kept in separate areas? Are the cages spacious and clean? Are dogs provided with water? How long will your dog be there? (Four hours is the max I would recommend) Help Is the drying area monitored?
Most grooming disasters happen in the drying room because animals are left in cages for too long with the heat on. Dryers are in my mind the most dangerous of equipment in the groom shop. I’ve seen groomer put several hot dryers on one cage, or place animals in the box type dryers with high heat. The safest and method of drying a dog is to individually dry it with a stand dryer and brush but this is not always possible in busy shops because of time constraints.
Questions to ask are: Is your drying room monitored at all times? Do you use high heat or box dryers? The answer should be yes to the former and no to the latter.
Be sure to tell your groomer all about your pet’s quirks, medical issues and special needs. Watch to see if your groomer writes this on the dog’s computer card.
Be clear about how you want your pet to look. If there is a name for your dog’s groom, tell the groomer. “Kennel clip”, “continental clip” are terms used for specific haircuts for Poodles. “Puppy clip” and “summer clip” are nebulous terms that are different to each groomer. Specify exactly how long you would like your dog’s hair. A “summer clip” might leave the hair 1/2 inch to some groomers, but to others it might mean shaving all the hair off.
If you get your dog as a puppy, make sure to teach it to tolerate brushing and washing while it’s young. There is nothing worse than having to groom a 2 year old dog that has never been touched.
Expect to pay extra if your dog is heavily matted. It’s important to keep up brushing and combing between grooms. Most dogs do well with a slicker brush.
After thoroughly brushing the dog, run a comb through the hair to the skin to remove any leftover mats.
Your relationship with your groomer will be a long one. Take extra care to find the right groomer.