Types of Groomers
There are many places to take your pet for grooming. There are also mobile groomers who drive to your home and will groom your pet in your driveway, as well as some in-home groomers who will come to your home and groom your pet inside your house. It all depends on where you live and who is available in your area.
Home-Based Groomer: Some groomers have a grooming shop in their own home. They are usually a one- or two-person operation. You drive to their residence, and they usually have an entrance for their salons, similar to a beautician who does hair from her home salon. Home groomers may choose to do business this way because it's convenient, because they have children and need to be at home for them, or just because it's nice to work at home and not have to commute to a business.
Not all groomers can have a home business; it depends on the area in which they live. Sometimes there are restrictions to having this type of business in a residence. Most home grooming salons are lower volume, and that makes it less stressful for some pets.
Storefront Groomer: These are usually more noticeable and can be a small or large operation. Most yellow pages have listings for independent grooming shops. Some storefront groomers also have retail dog supplies available.
Many independent salons have several groomers working, and they can groom a higher volume of pets in a day. This may make it easier to get an appointment with them. Some even have walk-in service available.
In-Home Grooming: These groomers will bring their own equipment to your home and groom your dog in your house. They may use your sink or tub to bathe the dog. This type of groomer is great for people who don't drive or dogs that don't travel well. It's also a little less stressful for the dog since he's in his own home environment.
Mobile Groomers: These groomers also come to your home, but they have everything they need in their van or mobile unit. They take your pet out to their mobile unit parked in your driveway and groom her there. Mobile groomers are convenient and they work one on one, which can be less stressful for some dogs.
Corporation Groomer: These groomers work for a larger corporation such as PetSmart® or PetCo®. This makes it convenient to have your dog groomed while you shop. Most have viewing windows so you can watch your dog while he's being groomed, but this can also be a disadvantage. If your dog is watching you, he will probably dance around and try to get off the table to see you. He will be distracted, which makes it harder to groom him safely.
Veterinary Groomer: These groomers are employees of the veterinarian or rent space from the veterinarian. The advantages are that the dog is already at the vet if an emergency arises and can be safely sedated for grooming by the veterinarian on staff if needed. Some animals, due to anxiety or aggression, need sedation for grooming, and veterinarians are the only ones who may legally administer anesthesia. The veterinarian will need the consent of the owner before any sedation is administered, and that data should be a part of the dog's medical record.
Kennel Groomer: These groomers are located at boarding facilities and are usually available to groom your dog before she goes home after a stay. Many kennel groomers have built up a regular clientele who visits them between stays at the kennel. The advantage to having your dog groomed at the kennel is coming home from your vacation to a clean and freshly groomed dog.
Show Groomer: Show groomers groom show dogs. There is a world of difference between a pet groom and a show dog groom. Many handlers also groom the dog they are handling for the dog shows. While show coats look awesome, what you don't see is all the work that goes into maintaining that hair. To maintain that beautiful show-quality look, you have to wash the hair often and wrap, band, comb, and brush it out daily. Floor-length hair is fine for the show dog, but it is not feasible for the average household pet. That length of coat will tangle very easily or break off without the daily upkeep it requires to maintain a show coat. It's not practical for most busy households, but there are numerous options for a pet trim that are just as cute and a whole lot easier to maintain.
Grooming Machines: There is a machine that bathes your pet, like a dishwasher. You place your pet inside and watch your pet through a window as the machine washes your dog. This may sound like a good idea, but there are serious considerations. Your dog may emerge from such a contraption whimpering from the pain of getting soap in his eyes or traumatized from feeling trapped in a box and sprayed with jets of soapy water. You may not be much happier once you realize that your dog's ears are still dirty and his rear end hasn't received a thorough scrubbing. More seriously, the machine wash process includes a heated blow dry, which is unsuitable for dogs who cannot tolerate a heated dryer.
Portable Grooming Machines: There are even machines similar to a carpet shampooer that will inject a waterless shampoo into your pet's hair and vacuum it out along with some dirt and hair. Again, these machines do not take the place of a hands-on grooming. There is no substitution for human touch. You can feel if the hair is clean or greasy, you can feel any lumps or find any health issues, and your touch is soothing to your pet. No machine can replace that.
Some storefront operations have self-service options, allowing you to pay a small amount to groom your own dog using their tubs, shampoos, and dryers. You get to use their equipment and leave the mess there. This is convenient for the do-it-yourselfer who doesn't have the facilities at home to groom his pet or who would rather not deal with the cleanup.
You may have to go to a few different groomers to find one that satisfies both you and your dog. Keep your schedule and your dog's temperament in mind when you select a groomer.