FitDog Friday #79 – How to Find a Good Groomer


A Golden died recently at Petco in a drying cage after being groomed.  I can only imagine how devastating it must have been for Colby’s owner. That and Mr. N’s most recent groom at a new groomer made me think about how to find a good groomer. The grooming industry is unregulated and groomers are not required to be certified. And for Mr. N, it’s the most amount of time he spends away from me so finding a good groomer is key.

Here’s what I do.

  • I read Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews (if they have a Facebook presence, they’ll also usually have pictures of grooms). I ask other dog people about their groomer. I google the groomer/business owner’s name.
  • Ask if they have experience grooming your breed. Yorkies and Maltese (Mr. N’s breed mix) are both very common at groomers so I don’t particularly worry about the groomer knowing how to groom them but if you have a more uncommon breed, ask or if you want a show groom.
  • Ask about their grooming experience. How long have they been doing this, where did they train, and do they have any certifications? The most recent groomer Mr. N has been to is preparing to do competition grooming. 
  • Visit to see is their facility clean and safe? Are all the dogs cared for and supervised during the entire grooming process? 
  • Watch how they interact with the dogs. Groomers will never be Mr. N’s favorite people but he likes some better than others. 
  • Ask how do they dry the dogs? I only take Mr. N to places that will hand dry him. 
  • See if they ask for your vaccination records? I wouldn’t want to take Mr. N to a place full of un-vaccinated dogs. 
  • Ask what is their matting policy? Some shops will not demat and will shave the dogs down and some will charge for the extra time de-matting the dogs. 
  • Ask how do they handle aggressive dogs and shy dogs? Mr. N is very tolerant and stoic about grooming (several groomers have told me so) so I didn’t ask but some groomers will not take aggressive dogs and I’d want to know if they wanted to muzzle my dog so I could get him used to it first. And shy dogs need special handling. 
Do you have any tips to find a good groomer? 




17 Responses

  1. 2browndawgs

    June 5, 2015 12:34 pm

    Wow what a terrible story. My guess is that they put Colby in the kennel dryer soaking wet. We know from hunt testing, that if you put a wet dog in an enclosed kennel in warm weather, they will cook in their own juice. We always towel our dogs off before putting them up so I think finding a groomer that will towel most of the water off is key.

  2. Emma

    June 5, 2015 2:19 pm

    Groomers are tough to find, especially since we need to be stripped. We are lucky to have found one right by our house. The owner does my furs, she is a really nice lady and actually does grooming competitions, attends dog shows to see the latest breed grooming trends, etc. Having never seen a GBGV before, she said she would have to research the grooming of my breed before she would say yes to grooming me. She actually called a breeder in FL for some information. We are fortunate and feel so lucky to have found her.

  3. Chasing Dog Tales

    June 5, 2015 4:06 pm

    There have been a few of these stories lately, about dogs dying from heat stroke from automatic dryers. I've always given Haley baths at home, but for dogs that need professional grooming, you have some wonderful tips here. Mr. N looks so soft and cuddly!

  4. Groovy Goldendoodles

    June 5, 2015 5:54 pm

    Mr. N. looks A-mazing! I like and agree with everything you said. I took it one step further – I asked to see the grooming section. I asked to see the bathing space, cutting area, drying room, etc… Harley is also dried by hand – that was very important to me. I also wanted to know how they cleaned ears, trimmed paw pads, etc….

  5. To Dog With Love

    June 5, 2015 6:33 pm

    Mr N looks so handsome! If you're like Rocco (Mr N, which I know you are!) you don't stay clean for very long! Rocco's groomer also shows dogs, and I've known her forever, so I know she won't get "creative" with the scissors. I found her after a groomer decided to cut off all of Cosmo's (my last Havanese) hair on the top of his head!

  6. Earl Lover

    June 5, 2015 7:24 pm

    Oh Mr N, you look so amazing! Ethel as recently hand stripped – we have a brilliant groomer who we can rely on 100%. She also bred Earl's litter.

  7. cupcakepetrillo

    June 5, 2015 9:33 pm

    That is one good looking grooming job, Mr. N. Mom sticks me in the tub and slaps on some doggie shampoo and conditioner and then pours pots of water on me. I use the couch for drying off….which is apparently naughty behavior… Huh…

    Love and licks,

  8. Janet Keefe

    June 6, 2015 8:28 pm

    We don't actually have a lot of groomers in our area, and the ones I knew of I just didn't like. So when a vet tech at our vet's office started doing grooming, I was so happy. I knew how good she was with the dogs, and I knew how much she cared. I was far less worried bringing Sheba there than anywhere else.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  9. K9s OverCoffee

    June 7, 2015 12:45 pm

    Our pups Missy & Buzz are wash'n go pups, so we do all their grooming ourselves! You shared valuable pieces of advice for finding a good, knowledgeable & reliable groomer. Hearing about the Petco Grooming Fiasco totally shocked me & freaked me out.


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