26 Secrets Pet Groomers Wish They Could Tell You
Think all we do is sit around and play with cute puppies? Think again.
Some groomers are safer for your pet than others
“I do know of a few dogs that have escaped from the groomer’s salon and been hit by cars. So if I were choosing a groomer, I would want to find one with a fenced-in yard surrounding the salon so that if the dog escaped, he could easily be caught before injury. And as a pet owner, an ID chip and a collar with clear ID information on it are important to have for your pet when he goes out to the groomer.” —Morgan
We never stop learning
“People think you can just pick up clippers and do it, but it takes a lot more training than you might think. Even after years of grooming school, there’s so much we don’t know, because we learn so much on the job. A lot of groomers don’t feel fully confident until they’ve groomed hundreds and hundreds of dogs and figured out what works for different breeds and things. So yes, people can just pick up clippers and cut a little bit of hair, but if you really want to make the pets look good, you need years and years of training.” —White
We do (a lot) more than just play with puppies
“A lot of people think you’re there to just play with the dogs and stuff. But it can be challenging, especially when dogs have anxiety. We need to calm them down; they’re just like children in that way. I had a man once who handed me his poodle, and it just went berserk. It was barking and screaming, and I had to tell the man, ‘Just let her have her little fit.’ Eventually she calmed down, but I had to take it really slowly with her. It’s not just grabbing a dog and starting to work on it. It’s dogs like that, you have to take your time with.” —Crutsinger. These are the secrets dog trainers won’t tell you (at least not for free).
Driving your dog around will help ease her nerves
“It’s good to take your dog for car rides if you can. You should take them to some places other than the vet or groomer so they don’t associate the car with those stressful places. That’ll make it so that they don’t expect those things whenever they go out.” —White. Learn the 19 surprising things your precious pooch actually wants from you.
Please, please trim your dog’s nails
“Toenails can be a big issue for groomers. Pet owners don’t keep up with maintenance and nail trimming between visits, which leaves it up to the groomer, often working on her own to trim back very long nails, which is difficult. Many groomers would prefer to have pet owners not only brush and clean their dogs regularly (or bring them in on a regular basis to be done professionally), but trim the nails regularly as well. It makes it harder for both the dog and the groomer if owners don’t keep up with care between visits.” —Morgan
“Most dog owners also don’t know how often they should trim their dog’s nails. It all depends on the breed, but especially when dealing with puppies, we recommend once a month.” —Davies
Cats and dogs are completely different
“I take care of cats too. There are some [groomers] that will and some that won’t. Before I started my business, I used to work for a vet. So I’ve had a lot of experience with cats, learning to hold them and stuff. That can be very challenging, especially when you get a groomer that’s never had a cat. You need to know how to hold them and handle them.” —Crutsinger. These are 17 secrets your cat would tell you if she could.
Grooming cats can be more dangerous
“Grooming a cat is a lot riskier for both the pet and the groomer. Cats have skin that is very elastic, so you have to really know what you’re doing and be very careful with the groom. Cats are also a lot more distressed than dogs are by the grooming process, as well as just more anxious in general. Cats are a lot more likely to react with aggression than dogs are. Dogs might do a warning snap at the air first, but cats are more likely to go for the more painful bite—not because they’re bad but because they’re scared.” –White
Sometimes cats run the show
“It can be tough when you’re giving [cats] a bath, especially if they have claws. You turn the water on really slowly to see how they react; running the water slowly will help get them used to it. Same with the blowdryer. Cats get sort of an attitude where when they’ve had enough, they’ve had enough. You have to know when to say, ‘Okay, we’ll stop.’” —Crutsinger
Think twice before bringing your cat to us
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“A lot of dogs are anxious about grooming, but most dogs can learn to tolerate it or even like it. I’ve done hundreds of cats over my career, and I can’t remember a single cat that enjoyed it. I tell owners to think very hard before getting their cats groomed, unless there’s a medical reason for it to be done, like gnats. A lot of people just want it done because of shedding, but for most cats, the stress and anxiety is probably not worth getting it done. I love cats, but I hate making them unhappy.” —White. Here are the 12 biggest mistakes cat owners make.
Tell us what to expect
“It’s extremely important for owners to communicate their dog’s temperament when it comes to grooming. While groomers will have familiarity on the breeds they’re handling, each dog has its own personality. If your dog has a tendency to bite when you touch his paws, let your groomer know to ensure the pet and groomer are safe.” —Davies