Before taking your pet to a groomer, shop around

WASHINGTON — Taking your dog to a groomer is not recommended for all pets — it depends on an animal’s breed and personality. However, a consumer group that has evaluated the industry locally says there are plenty of options for having your pooch spruced up.

First, determine whether grooming is right for your pet by asking your veterinarian.

“Some need regular grooming. Some, washing their coat too often can damage it,” Kevin Brasler, executive editor of said.

Dropping off your pet for service to be picked up later might be the least expensive option, but Brasler says some mobile groomers will come to your home and do the work in your house and others bring their own trucks.

Prices can vary dramatically.

Secret shoppers for Washington Consumers’ Checkbook asked for prices to groom the same dog breed with the exact same service for each, and they found that prices range from less than $50 to more than $100.

When it’s time to actually get the work done, Brasler says it is important to specify exactly what you want and whether your pet’s cut should conform to set standards or whether you just want a casual, regular trim.

“Let them know, it might make a big difference in terms of the price you pay,” Brasler said.

There are numbers of organizations that certify dog groomers, but Brasler says many highly experienced, talented pet professionals haven’t taken the time or paid the money to become certified. So, ask about experience and whether the groomer is familiar with your dog’s breed.

What services you can expect:

  • Bath, blow dry, brushing
  • Nail trimming
  • Ear cleaning
  • Hair trim, cut or shave
  • Cleaning anal sacs

“When your dog scoots across the floor, it’s usually a sign [anal sacs] have become compacted. As part of the normal services, most groomers will clean those out for you,” Brasler said.

Through a special arrangement with the nonprofit Washington Consumers’ Checkbook, readers can have a look at Checkbook’s ratings and price comparisons for area dog groomers for a limited time (until Nov. 15).

Consumers’ Checkbook/Center for the Study of Services is an independent nonprofit consumer organization founded in 1974. It has been an innovator in providing information to help consumers make smarter choices for more than 40 years.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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