Grooming isn’t just about keeping a dog clean, it’s part of his overall health plan. Whether it’s keeping fur untangled, looking for unhappy patches of skin, or keeping nails at a healthy length, being a good pet owner inevitably includes a grooming routine.
Whether small and fluffy or giant and sleek, all dogs (and even cats!) can benefit from professional grooming services. Prices for professional grooming come in all sizes too, and a consistent question is: do I need to tip my groomer? The short answer to that question is yes. But the full answer is more detailed than that.
Here’s what you should know about grooming, groomers, and why you should tip the person who clips your pup.
A professional groomer makes your dog look lovely. And a few other things too:
- Overall health assessment: A groomer will look at the condition of your dog’s fur, skin, teeth, and gums, as well as note any pests, sore spots, or other points of complaint as they groom your dog. Because they are touching/handling/looking at parts of your dog you may not be, they may be able to alert you to any health issues you may not have been aware of.
- Bathing: This seems obvious, but there’s more than just bathing going on with a professional ‘do. After scrubbing and drying, many times, there comes styling. While some dogs require nothing other than a quick comb-out, others require trimming of hair in delicate places such as between the toes and around the eyes and mouth. Still others, based upon the whims and wants of their owners, require a trained eye and skilled hand—think of the classic “French poodle” cut.
- Cleaning hard to reach spots: Ears, eyes, and heinies can be hard spots for owners to clean and groomers can take care of these gently and with a skilled hand. This includes cleaning the “eye gunk” that is persistent in many smaller dogs, cleaning and checking for any signs of infections (such as yeast in the ears), and even expressing anal glands when necessary.
- Nail trims: Not everyone likes a manicure, and this includes dogs. It’s important to trim dogs’ claws regularly, and groomers have special training to make this quick and pain-free.
Aside from where you live and the number of professional groomers in your area, the main variable in dog grooming prices is the type of dog and their size. A Newfoundland, for example, costs more than a terrier, because it’s a large dog with lots of thick, time-consuming fur.
Dog groomers typically charge extra for additional services such as teeth cleaning, flea treatments, nail clipping, fancy styles, and expressing anal glands. All that said, based on your pooch and what you’re looking for, you can expect professional dog grooming services to typically run somewhere between $35-$150.
To find the right groomer for you and your dog, prepare a list of questions to ask them or to look for answers for in their online profile. Here are some basics:
- Do you have certification or previous professional experience? Some groomers belong to organizations such as the National Dog Groomers Association of America, others prefer to skip organizational membership and let their experience speak for itself.
- What breeds do you have the most experience with? This can help you identify someone who has familiarity with your type and size of pup.
- How long does it take? A groomer should be able to give you a ballpark on the timelines of their various services. This can help you determine when you’ll need to take your dog out for a potty or give treats before grooming begins.
- How do you manage dogs who fear grooming? This is perhaps the most important question for those of us with dogs who would rather be doing something–anything–other than being sploshed around in a tub. An experienced groomer can talk about how they go about calming an anxious pooch.
- What do you include in your “package”? As mentioned above, some groomers do it all in one fell swoop, others charge less for a basic service and allow you to choose the add-ons you prefer.
- What, if anything, do I need to provide? Some groomers can come to your house with absolutely everything you can imagine, others might ask you to provide towels, shampoo, or other equipment. If you have a dog with skin allergies or you just don’t prefer certain scents, this would be a good time to mention it.
- Can I watch? Many groomers prefer you not be within eyesight of your pup because it can cause them anxiety–or great joy–resulting in too much wiggling.
As with any service, tipping is optional and based on the quality of the service. That said, a standard tip is 20 percent.
If your pup is looking so pretty you can’t keep your eyes off her, your groomer went above and beyond with the special touches, or did well with a special circumstance pup (such as someone challenging to groom), consider saying so with a larger tip.
Does your dog need a fresh trim? A groomer can now come to your house! Rover offers dog grooming in Seattle, Austin, Washington DC, and Denver. Learn more about Rover grooming here.