Every pet parent knows that grooming is an essential part of having a dog, so it's important to ensure you and your pet get the best care possible. Finding the right groomer takes time, and that means touring salons, meeting groomers, and asking questions. Here are some things to consider, some things to avoid, and questions to keep in mind before making your pet's first appointment.

  1. Tour the Facility - Is the space clean and well-organized, or is it chaotic and messy? If the salon is in disarray, chances are your experience is not going to be a good one. An unclean salon can also lead to skin infections and contagious diseases for your pup. Save yourself the headache and ask for a tour before making a commitment.

  2. Speak to the Groomer - Ask them questions: How long have you been grooming? Do you have much experience with [insert your dog's breed here]? How long should my dog's groom take? How often do you recommend that we come? If you're seeking an unconventional or complex cut, ask if your groomer knows how to carry it out. Even if you aren't asking for a complicated look, it's important to communicate with your groomer how you want your pet to look.

  3. Ensure the Groomer is Educated and Certified - Ideally, groomers should be certified and educated about nail trimmings, shedding habits, and bathing frequency.  They should be able to confidently demonstrate the proper and safe use of sharp grooming instruments, like clippers and scissors, on wiggling animals.

  4. Ask About Salon Products - Shampoos, conditioners, and rinses need to be of the utmost quality. They also need to be as gentle and as natural as possible to ensure dog safety. If using the salon's products make you uncomfortable, don't hesitate to bring your preferred products with you; any reputable groomer should not object.

  5. Read Reviews - When selecting a new salon, reviews and ratings might be your best bet. A quick Google search or visit to the salon's social media page can help determine if this salon is right for you and your pet. Obviously, if reviews are few and poor, then maybe that isn't the best establishment. Word of mouth helps, too. Talk to friends, neighbors, or dog parents you run into at the dog park. They can help point you in the right direction.

  6. Calming an Anxious Dog - Groom appointments can promote anxiety for some dogs. A good groomer knows how to soothe an anxious dog with positive reinforcement and natural remedies. You might consider trying to get the first appointment of the day so that your dog's visit is a minimal amount of time. Speak to your groomer about any needs that your anxious dog might have to ensure a positive and peaceful experience for your pup and the groomer.

  7. After the Groom - Your dog's behavior after their groom is equally important. If they seem nervous, lethargic, or have diarrhea, those could be signs of an over-stressed pet. Talk to your groomer about these issues, and see how they can be prevented in the future.

  8. Trust Your Intuition - After speaking to the groomer and touring the salon, you should feel confident in your decision to have your dog groomed there. If you do not, don't hesitate to start the process again at a different facility. When taking your dog to the groomer, you want to know they will be well-cared for and looking and feeling their best. Taking the time to research salons and groomers helps to ensure you're making the right choice for your pet.