pride and groom: the benefits of grooming for pets

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on May 12 2014

In my career as a veterinarian, I have worked at two clinics that have employed an in-house groomer, and I really enjoyed having a groomer working on site for many reasons. Not only was it a joy to watch a trained professional transform a matted lump of fur into a graceful, beautiful dog or cat, but seeing the look of joy on a dog’s face as he ran to his owner’s arms proudly donned in a brand new bandana and smelling like a rose was second to none! (The cats, of course, remained indifferent.)

The benefits of having your pet professionally groomed only just begin at having a perfectly preened pooch or kitty. And if you think only prissy and dainty dogs need to be groomed, think again. All dogs, large or small, short haired or long, will benefit from regular grooming, either at home or by a professional.

One key benefit to YOU with regard to having a professional groomer do your pet’s grooming is that it takes this chore out of your hands. If you’ve ever tried to groom a cat, you know what I mean. Our pets aren’t always as well behaved for us as they are for others because they know what they can get away with. But these same pets are like putty in the hands of a professional groomer, who will seem to work magic with even the grumpiest of pets.

In addition to making your pet look his best, professional groomers do several “behind the scenes” things to keep your pet healthy. Most importantly, your groomer really does handle your pet from head to toe. So he or she will easily pick up on ear infections, new lumps or bumps, and dental disease. Most groomers also express anal sacs and can alert your or your vet to trouble brewing there, too. And don’t forget everybody’s least favorite chore: toe nail trims. You hate doing it, but your groomer doesn’t! For most groomers, toe nail trims are part of the deal.

Of course, successful grooming appointments rely a lot on you. If you know your puppy or kitten will need routine grooming, start them early. For pets who need trims, you’ll likely be visiting the groomer every 4 to 6 weeks, so it’s best to get them used to the visits sooner rather than later. Also, be sure to let your groomer know up front what you expect in terms of your pet’s trim. Your groomer isn’t a mind reader, and you don’t want to be disappointed when you show up to find that your long haired Shih Tzu got a super short hair-do because of a miscommunication.

Finding a groomer for your pet can be a daunting process. Start by asking for referrals from friends, your veterinarian, or your pet sitter. If your veterinarian has a groomer working for them, that may be a good place to start. Visit the grooming facilities before you commit to leaving your pet there, and don’t be afraid to ask the groomer questions, like:

  • Are you professionally trained?
  • What are your vaccination policies?
  • What is included in a visit?
  • Do you have references I can contact?

Above all, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right about the groomer or her facilities, move on to another place. If you aren’t comfortable there, chances are your pet won’t be either!