Being a dog owner means different things to different people. Nothing new there…right?  We all have our own idiosyncrasies when it comes to our furry friend.  We all want good things, and we want them done in a certain way. We want our veterinarian to listen to us and provide the best care for our pet, and we want our pet’s wellbeing to come first…in all things.   Which leads me to the following to ponder about a groomer for our dog.


Our friend, Ruthie, is a well-respected dog groomer in our area (San Joaquin Valley in Central California), and recently shared a story about a well-meaning potential client she interviewed recently. Yes…she interviews potential clients.  Why?  Well…keep reading!


Ruthie had a potential client stop by her office and gave a list of grooming things for her dog as well as the price the client was willing to pay for each specific item on the list.  The list was presented…but not the dog!  So, Ruthie had no idea of the dog’s coat condition or of any possible health issues. The potential client was very specific however about the clipping of the dog’s nails (length), the cutting of the coat as to be only an inch off, etc.  And…the client wanted to be there through the entire process, and that process was to start an hour after speaking to Ruthie.


Ruthie said, “thanks for stopping by. But, I cannot agree to any of your requests without first looking at your dog.  I need to evaluate the condition of the coat and the length of the nails.  Everything I do is based on a physical evaluation of the dog and there is no set price for grooming per se. The reason is that…for example…a dog may come in and has never been groomed and the grooming would require hours of cleaning and cutting. If the dog is large and aggressive…I may not be able to do the grooming at all and I would recommend you to a veterinarian for possible sedation. I don’t sedate dogs…I am a groomer only. Nail clipping can be problematic for the same reason. If the nails are overly long, then I can only do a short clipping. It takes time for the nail to be taken without injuring the tissue under the nail. Short nails are best for dogs…but it takes time to get there if we are starting with long nails.”  Ruthie went on to explain that prices are different for each dog because each dog is different. While some groomers will charge by the breed, she charges by “the condition of each dog when they come in. Every dog that is regularly groomed is better behaved, tolerates clipping better, and is a happier dog.”


Ruthie…after explaining why she needed to meet the dog and do a coat examination…turned down the client. The client kept insisting that Ruthie could do the work and the price she was offering without first seeing the dog.  Finally, Ruthie said, “I thank you for stopping by and chatting with me. It appears that I will be unable to groom your dog based on your description. I know you will find a groomer nearby that can work with you.  Thank you.”


The moral of this little story is clear I think. When you interview a dog groomer for your pet, you probably should take the dog with you.  A good and responsible dog groomer would never agree to providing a service at a set price without first seeing the dog.  If you find a groomer that is willing to provide the grooming services you are asking for without first seeing your dog…good luck!  You are taking the health and safety of your dog for granted.  We need to remember that a good groomer is like an undiscovered gold mine!  A good groomer will always have the health and welfare of the dog as a priority above and beyond the requests of the owner.  When you fine a groomer that will treat your dog like their own…with care and love and affection…don’t let them go.  Listen to your groomer when they suggest things that will keep your dog’s coat and skin in a healthy condition.  A good groomer is a professional offering a service and should be treated with respect.  They should always be listened to.  Still, the ultimate decision is yours alone.


Remember…our tips are informational only, and your health care veterinarian is the best source of medical and health information for your dog.  Always…always consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns or issues about your dog’s health.  Your furry friend deserves no less from you. Always consult your veterinarian whenever you suspect a health issue with your dog.  Do the right thing!