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There is much more to choosing a dog groomer than going through the yellow pages and making a call to discuss price.  Before placing your dog in the care of a groomer, there are a number of questions you should ask and things you should look for. 

The first step is deciding what you want from the groomer and find one who can deliver the type of dog grooming service you desire. But before that, you should look for groomers who have a reputation for keeping dogs safe.   

Most dog owners are clueless about the challenges and safety risks involved in dog grooming. Grooming involves the use of tremendously sharp metal instruments on animals that are oblivious to the dangers involved with a sudden movement.  

Even diligent, experienced dog groomers who are careful have accidents sometimes, particularly with intolerant older dogs, puppies, untrained dogs and hyperactive dogs.  Find out how these situations are handled by the groomer you are considering and what methods are used to keep the dog still.    

If your dog is a biter, that information should be shared with the groomer.  The groomer should also know if the dog has a medical condition or sensitivity issues in certain areas of the body.  This type of information allows groomers to plan ahead and use the right techniques to ensure safety.  A good groomer always informs owners of any nick or cut that may happen during the process. Have an honest discussion, while keeping in mind that accidents sometimes happen.  

Visit Multiple Groomers

It is important to visit several local groomers before deciding on one.  The busiest time for most grooming shops is around 10 a.m. or 11 a.m.; this is the ideal time to drop in to book a reservation as it provides the perfect opportunity to view how they operate.  You will be able to casually observe how the dogs are treated while being groomed and if that is acceptable to you.

You should also choose a groomer whose personality is compatible with the needs of your pet.  If you have a hyper or uncontrollable dog, a groomer with a peaceful, calming personality could be the best option.

Additional Things to Notice

Is the shop clean? If the smell of feces or urine immediately bombards you, just leave.  While it is not rare for a salon to be a bit smelly during business hours, strong unpleasant odors are unacceptable.  Is there an overwhelming smell of chemicals like bleach? If it is unpleasant for you, your dog could feel the same way.  Essentially, you want to get a sense of professionalism and cleanliness.  
Observe how dogs are handled, especially upon entering the store.  You may see a dog being restrained physically; this is quite typical and is usually necessary for the safety of both the dog and the groomer.  However, if you notice a lack of compassion or overly rough handling, you should leave.  Good groomers never display frustration or anger toward animals because of their behavior; professionals remain calm so the situation won't escalate and compromise safety. 

Are dogs left unattended?  If a dog is on an elevated table with its neck in a groomers noose and left unattended, you should leave.  Yearly, a number of unattended dogs die from asphyxiation by hanging themselves.  If there are two straps securing the dog, one around its neck and one around its waist, then it is acceptable for the groomer to take a few steps away to get a nearby item.  However, becoming distracted or leaving the room is unacceptable and increases the likelihood of an accident.

Ask about the techniques used for drying pets.  If cage dryers are used, ask to see them and if the timers work.  There are a number of publicized incidents regarding cage dryers causing unattended pets to overheat.  Pets in cage dryers should have a bowl of water, and the groomer should be close by.  A reputable groomer consistently checks on the dog's condition. 

Find out the level of experience the groomer has with your particular breed of dog and whether he or she is capable of providing the desired haircut.  For dogs with long coats, you might not be able to get a quoted price from the groomer without him or her seeing your dog.  Typically, the price varies according to matting and other coat conditions.  For short-haired dogs, you could be able to get a more definitive quote.  For dogs with allergies or other special conditions, ensure the groomer has the right shampoos to satisfy the needs of your pet.  

You can make the appointment if everything has looked and felt right up to this point and you feel comfortable.

Showing Up for the Grooming Appointment

Ensure you arrive early for your appointment.  Professional dog grooming businesses are typically busy, and their schedule is dictated by the number of reservations they have made for any given day.  Even a 10-minute delay could affect the schedule, and sometimes they have to move on to another grooming; this could result in you having a much longer wait time or even having to come back another day.   After all, this is a business, and they have to do what is necessary to keep it profitable.  

If the coat of your pet is very dirty, matted or in another bad condition, do not expect show-quality grooming.  It is likely that they could suggest entirely shaving the dog and starting over from scratch.  From the start, an experienced and reputable dog groomer will inform you of what he or she can and cannot do based on the condition of the coat of your dog.

If a verbal report of the grooming is not forthcoming when you go to pick up your dog, you should ask how it went.  Ensure the quality of the work is inspected before leaving the shop so adjustments can be made, if necessary.  It is not a good idea to wait for days to pass before complaining that you are dissatisfied with the results of the grooming.

Dog Grooming Coquitlam

Good Dog Ranch & Spa
331 Laurier Ave, Port Coquitlam, BC V3E 3G1
(604) 726-5666

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