How to keep your pet safe at the groomer

Questions to ask before hiring someone

By Aaron Wische - Senior Executive Producer

HOUSTON - Regular trips to the groomer keep a dog’s coat looking good.

"Ideally, pets should be groomed every four to six weeks. The hair follicle releases the hair about every 21 days, and so in order to prevent matting and excessive undercoat, four to six weeks is a good amount of time," groomer Teresa Black explained.

A thorough grooming should include a bath, brush-out, ear cleaning, haircut and nail trim.  A good groomer will get to know your pet and be able to identify potential skin conditions, tooth issues or other physical issues.

"I believe an important part of grooming is building a relationship between the groomer and the pet. This is especially important if you have a shy or fearful pet. They need to get to know each other," Black added.

Not all groomers are created equal. In Texas, a license is not required. There are three national organizations that certify pet groomers for competence and skill. If they're certified, it means they've undergone rigorous testing. But less than 20 percent of all dog groomers have attained the title of certified master groomer.

"You want to check their experience and certification. You also want to visit the shop. Check to make sure the facility is clean, well ventilated; that they use products that won't dry out your pet's skin; and that they use fresh towels with every groom,” Angie Hicks from Angie’s List added.

Before you pick a groomer, ask some questions about qualifications, including where they were trained. Do they have experience with your dog's breed? And do they allow inspections of the facility?

"Professionals have quality products, tools and techniques that they've learned over the years that can make the grooming process easier on your pet and also more effective," Black said.

A standard grooming may take a few hours and costs anywhere from $30 to $90 depending on your pet's size and hair length. Some shops may charge extra for more challenging clients.

There are other questions you should consider asking when searching for that perfect someone to groom your beloved pets.

  • How long have you been grooming?
  • Where did you learn to groom?
  • What are your credentials? (Have they earned any certifications, or do they belong to a grooming organization?)
  • Do you have any special areas of expertise?
  • Do you have experience grooming my breed of dog?
  • Do you allow inspections of your facility?
  • Are the pets groomed in view of the customer?
  • How long do you keep the pets for grooming?
  • Where do you keep them? Are they always in view of someone?

Don't be afraid to ask your groomer these questions, or any other questions you may have. If they seem reluctant to answer your reasonable questions, keep looking. Look for a groomer in the same way you would look for any other professional, because there will be good ones, and not-so-good ones.

Pet groomer certifications

There are currently three organizations in the United States that certify pet groomers for competence and skill: the National Dog Groomers Association of America, International Professional Groomers Inc. and the International Society of Canine Cosmetologists. Groomers may be members of these organizations, or they may be certified members. If they are certified, this means that they have undergone rigorous voluntary testing, both written and practical, in order to earn their certifications. The highest level of certification available is the Master Groomer certification.

Members of the aforementioned organizations commit to adhering to a strict code of ethics, which includes, among other things, that they promise to treat your pet with the utmost care. If a groomer is a member of one or more of these organizations, you may contact the organization if you have serious concerns about them.

While a groomer might be a perfectly fine groomer without membership in a grooming organization, membership assures that they are at least in contact with a group providing information about and access to continuing education, workshops, and certification opportunities.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2