5 Tips From Your Groomer

New Pet Owners  •  Pam Karkow  •  Tuesday, May 5, 2020

What would your groomer say if given the chance to speak his mind? Would congratulations abound for the job you do preparing your dog for a grooming visit? Or would your groomer have a few recommendations for making the whole event smoother? 

Visiting the groomer can be a stressful event for your pooch, but we have some ideas straight from the groomer’s mouth to ease the strain.

Introduce grooming early 

The time to get your dog used to being handled is in the puppy stage. Get your puppy used to having his paws, ears, and nails manipulated at home so that when your groomer follows suit it is not as scary. In the article, How to Help Your Dog Be More Comfortable with Body Handling, Amber King recommends pairing this process with high-quality treats--not your average dog biscuit. No need to worry if your dog is past the puppy stage. You can add these handling sessions into your time with your dog regardless of age. King’s article has a great step-by-step plan for how to encourage your dog to be comfortable with being handled and touched. Once your dog has earned your trust, it is time to move onto brushing.

Brush your dog at home

You brush your hair every day, right? Why should your dog not have a good brushing every day, or at the very least, every other day? Caitlin Kucsan of Pugs and Kisses Petcare in Bucks County, Pennsylvania cautions that dogs who are not brushed regularly will have more tangles and mats, resulting in more work for the groomer and time spent on the table. Working through tangles is unpleasant for your dog and could lead to a shave instead of that adorable teddy bear cut you were planning on. “If you spend a few minutes each day brushing your dog in between grooms, the more likely it will be that your groomer is able to leave some length on your pup,” says Kucsan. And when you do bathe your dog on your own, try brushing in the tub.

Use a bristle brush in the bathtub

“Scrub them like a potato!” says Groomer Kathleen Sepulveda, director of education at Dirty Dogs University and board member of the Creative Grooming Association. According to Sepulveda “Using a scrub brush while bathing will help rid the coat of stuck-on dirt, exfoliate the skin for better health, and help remove dead coat to prevent mats from forming.” The Conair Boar Bristle Brush smooths hair and distributes natural oils. The handle-free concept mimics petting, making the experience more enjoyable for you and your pet.

Take a pre-groom walk and potty break

Just like kids, dogs are more compliant when they’re worn out! Plan to take your dog for a walk and make sure you allow time for him to go potty before the grooming session. Most salons are booked with back to back grooming sessions and don’t have time to take your dog for a long potty break. Your dog will be more comfortable having had time to do his business before being groomed.

Groomer Katlin Primrose warns that many groomers will charge extra if your dog urinates in the tub or on the floor. It can take anywhere from 15-45 extra minutes to re-bathe and dry your pup when this occurs. It only makes sense that you would take your dog to potty first to help keep your dog comfortable during his grooming session!

Keep it light and don’t stick around

We know that dogs pick up on much of our body language and are even trying to listen for words they may know. If you approach your groomer’s office reassuring your dog that he is going to be ok, your dog may pick up on the fact that there is something not ok about the situation! Keep the mood light and your voice neutral so your dog is set up for success.

Unless your groomer asks you to stay, it is best to drop your pet off and leave. “If you trust your groomer, know that although your pet may be anxious upon arrival, he will be much calmer without you there. It also helps your dog to create a bond with their groomer without them needing to look to you for comfort,” Kucsan says.

Enjoy a well-groomed and healthy pet

Following these tips will help your pet (and you) get the most out of a trip to the groomer. With a little work on your end, grooming day can be the equivalent of a trip to the spa for your pooch. And when you let pet insurance help you afford the best pet health care, you can free up some of your pet budget to visit the best groomer in town! Get a quote today.

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