26 Secrets Pet Groomers Wish They Could Tell You
Think all we do is sit around and play with cute puppies? Think again.
Does your dog seem nervous? He’ll calm down
“When the pets arrive, they’re all nervous, but once they’re with me, they do pretty good. They become themselves again. When I take the dogs, they usually start shaking, and the [owners], they get worried about it. But eventually the dogs calm down a lot.” —Kim Crutsinger, owner of Kimberly's Prancin' Paws. Learn the sure signs your dog completely trusts you.
Not everyone is cut out to do it
“Throughout my career, I’ve trained a bunch of apprentices to be groomers, and I see as many people wash out as actually go through to be groomers. There’s a lot of hard work involved in it.” —Jamie White, groomer and sitter for Rover
It’s possible to turn a hobby into a career
“Grooming pets for me was just a hobby as a teenager. I grew up loving dogs, pets, everything; it was just fun for me. It was in the back of my head, always, to do something with pets. I always liked being a graphic designer, but this is something I know that I really love. I earn money by doing it, but that’s not why I do it.” —Soudeh Alimashrab, senior supervisor of on-demand pet grooming service Groomit
Different dogs present different challenges
“It’s more physically demanding than people might think. You’re working with pets of all sizes—from tiny ones all the way up to 200 pounds. The tiny ones are easier to lift, but they can be hard to groom because they’re the size of your slippers. The big ones, though, you can’t get them to do something they don’t want to do. Some of them are even too big for the grooming table; you might have to lie on the floor to work on them.” —White. Here's how to pick the right dog breed for you.
Bugs bug us
“No one realizes how difficult it is to be a groomer during a bad flea or tick season. The fleas, in particular, can lead to hours of cleanup after the dog has been washed and groomed and sent home. Battling fleas can be a real occupational hazard for groomers who live in warm climates, where fleas are a more serious problem. Groomers have a responsibility to make sure that fleas are not spread between dogs. Dogs can also be infested with ticks, and the removal and cleanup of a large number of ticks can be tedious and time-consuming, but is critical for the dog's health.” —Sally A. Morgan, holistic physical therapist for pets and people and author of Dances of the Heart: Connecting with Animals
Brush your pup
“Brushing helps a lot. Not just before the appointment; try to do it every so often. Especially when the weather changes, like in spring and early summer, when they're shedding their winter coat. Brushing them regularly helps decrease shedding.” —Crutsinger
“Make sure you’re brushing them at home; it keeps the dogs from getting those painful mats. Not only do they make the grooming take longer, they’re painful for your dog, too.” —White
Some things you do (or don’t do) make our jobs harder
“The only thing that I wish all pet owners would do is take care of their dogs on a regular basis. The dogs can’t talk, so it’s up to you to figure out what’s the best schedule for your dog. Every dog needs to be groomed just a little bit every four to six weeks. If [owners] don’t do that, I have to deal with a lot of matted dogs. When they get to that point, it gets very painful. Imagine that someone’s grooming your tangled hair constantly. I have to pull through that knotted hair and pull it out, and that makes the whole grooming experience uncomfortable for them. If they seem like they hate being groomed, that’s most likely why, and many owners don’t get that. Do some grooming on your own frequently, and you’ll avoid that discomfort for them, or having to have them completely shaved down. That’s not fun for me or the dog.” —Alimashrab. These are the 14 things you do all the time that your dog secretly hates.
Research your breed
“Surprisingly enough, most pet owners do not research how to care for the dogs’ coat prior to choosing the breed. As groomers, we have to educate the owners on how the dog should be styled to best protect their coats. We’ve had goldendoodle owners in tears when we’ve shaved their dog’s curly fur down—but that’s what’s best for this breed after a certain age.” —Katherine Davies, owner of Wag N’ Wash in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Watch out for the most common health problems that strike 14 popular dog breeds.
We get hurt
“Carpal tunnel is common for groomers. So is back pain. And yes, bites are common. They’re usually minor, just warning nips, but some can be pretty big. It’s very rare, but I have seen groomers who have had to quit, because a bad bite to your hand could mean the end of your career.” —White
Dogs don’t like it when we touch their paws
“If there are certain dogs that are really particular about their feet, you might want to think about massaging their feet from time to time so they’ll get used to it. It prevents them from potentially attacking the groomer. Some dogs do. Most are the smaller dogs, like Scotties; they’re really particular with their feet.” —Crutsinger. These are the 50 secrets your pet wishes you knew.