How to Find the Best Dog Groomer

Having the best dog groomer is key to a peaceful dog grooming day. You have to trust your dog groomer to handle your dog (perhaps even a new to you dog) properly and you have to trust that your groomer will cut your dog’s fur as you’ve instructed. We’ve all seen the horror pictures and heard the stories.

So, how do you find a rock star dog groomer? Where do you go? How do you find a good one? Who are you going to call? Unfortunately, there is no “Groomer Buster”.  In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of how to find a great dog groomer. You’ll know what to look for and what questions to ask.

*Updated: February 9, 2023
a cute yorkie enjoys a trim from the best dog groomer
disclaimer note
Budget Tip:

A dog groomer is more than just making your dog look pretty or handsome. When you have the best dog groomer you have an asset for your dog health.

Taking care of your dog's fur and nails regularly keeps your dog healthy. A dog with mats or overgrown fur can have many more hidden lumps, bumps, or skin issues. A great groomer is definitely worth it. You can budget for your dog's grooming in your dog budget and set aside a bit of a month each month if you need. When it comes to your dog's health, it's a winner to have the best dog groomer you can find!

TIP: These tips are valuable at any point when you’re looking for a dog groomer. At some point you may have to find a new dog groomer if you move or your dog groomer retires or moves. I recently had to find a new dog groomer when mine retired. I used these tips to successful find my new groomer.

Where To Look For A Good Dog Groomer 

1. Ask friends and family 

If a groomer has passed the tests of friends and family, they deserve a look.

2. Look at reviews 

You can find reviews on groomers’ websites, YELP, and Google. I recommend taking the overall view and impression of the reviews. Some will be bad, some will be good, but what’s the overall impression? And how did the groomer respond to bad responses? Or did they?

3. Ask your vet 

Your veterinarian will know all the local animal resources. He mostly knows one of them or their work. He will be able to give you some input.

In this article, I walk you through how to find a great veterinarian for you and your dog.

4. Ask at the dog park 

Now, that you’re taking your dog to the dog park you’ll see other dogs that you know are groomed. You can ask their owners for a referral. Also, they will probably tell you the groomers you should avoid. Both are valuable information.

In this article, I talk about the unwritten rules of the dog park and how to master them.<

Again, your dog walker will have experience with many dog groomers and will know which ones are good and which ones to avoid.

In this article, I walk you through the process of finding a great dog walker. 

7. Ask at doggie daycare 

The staff and dog parents at doggie daycare will hear about the good and bad of many dog groomers. You can even see the dog groomers’ work firsthand.

In this article, I discuss how to find a fabulous doggie daycare for you and your pup. 

Now you have a list of possible dog groomers, what’s next? 

You’ve now asked a lot of people for a dog groomer referral. Is there a name or two that keeps popping up? If so, then that is one that you might want to look at further with an in-person inspection.

In-person inspections!

It’s time to grab your dog and pop in on the groomers. You want to take your dog to access how he reacts to the groomer. This is important. Dogs are very sensitive to people’s true personalities. If your dog walks in happy, meets the groomer, and starts shaking, you may want to re-think this groomer.

What to look for with a potential dog groomer 

finding the best groomer

1. Cleanliness  

You want the shop to be clean. Yes, there will be fur. But the shop shouldn’t be dirty. It should be professional. The staff and groomers should be clean and professional.

2. Happy dogs 

Look at the dogs there being groomed. Are their tails wagging? Look at their back. Do they have their backs hunched with heads down? Maybe they shaking or trying to hide behind you? This is great information. Dogs can’t hide much. Look for what they are saying.

3. Watch the dog groomer’s interactions 

How are the groomers interacting with the dogs? Are they talking kindly and being kind to the dogs? Or are they hurling curse words at the dogs and tossing them around on the tables? Of course, some dogs are a bit of a challenge to groom. However, experienced groomers can handle challenging dogs. You just have to find the right one for you.

4. Cameras

Look around the shop for cameras. If there are cameras, ask if you can look in on your dog while he’s being groomed. Some groomers have this option.

10 Questions to ask a potential dog groomer 

how to find a dog groomer

1. Experience

How long have you been a groomer?
Of course, experience is generally better.

2. Details

Have you ever groomed a dog like mine? How many times?
You want to know that this groomer has groomed your dog’s type of fur and body type.

3. Challenges

What would you do if my dog acts up?
You want to hear anything positive, such as giving him a break or asking for an assistant to help.

4. Appointments

Can I get an appointment on short notice?
Some groomers can fit in short-haired dogs sooner because they don’t take as much time. Whereas, thick-coated dogs need more time and appointments may be more difficult to come by. I generally will make my dog’s next appointment before I walk out the door. He has very thick, curly fur. Either way, you want to know what the appointment schedule is like for your type of dog.

5. Time

How long does it take to groom a dog like mine?
Again, this will depend on your dog’s behavior, body structure, and fur type. My groomer will generally take about 3 hours. Although, keep in mind that the first appointment may take a bit longer as the groomer gets to know the dog and its body structure and fur.

Additionally, if it’s a single groomer shop and takes walk-ins for special quick requests, such as nail trimming, your appointments may take longer.

6. Complimentary services 

Do you trim nails as an included cost?
Nail trimming is generally complimentary as part of grooming. But you should verify this and not be surprised, in case it’s an additional charge. You also want to know what is included in a typical grooming appointment.

7. Choices

how to find your groomer

Can I choose the type of shampoo you use? What if my dog or I are sensitive to smells or he has a skin issue? Do you have a special shampoo?
You want to hear that the groomer can make accommodations for sensitive dogs or dog owners.

8. Specialities

Are you able to do specialty cuts?
For instance, I generally will get my cockapoo groomed with the teddy bear cut. Experienced groomers will not have any issues meeting your requirements. But you should ask during your initial meeting. Many groomers will even provide photos of their work.

9. Cost

What is the cost to groom a dog like mine?
Again, you should ask this at your initial meeting so that you are not surprised. Prices vary greatly depending on location, type of dog, and dog size. For example in my area, for a small cockapoo, the price is $40.

10. Notification

How will you notify me when my dog is ready?
Sometimes groomers will finish early or they get behind with a challenging dog or walk-in requests. So, even if you’re told 2 hours when you drop your dog off, don’t count on it. You need to know if you should call to verify when he’s done. Or if the groomer will call or text you when your dog is ready to go.


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Summary of how to find the best dog groomer 

Finding the best dog groomer for your dog can seem like a daunting task. However, once you have a list of references from family, and friends, listed reviews, veterinarian referrals, dog park friend referrals, dog walker referrals, and doggie daycare parents or staff referrals, you can narrow your choices.

When you do an in-person evaluation, ask questions, and see if the groomer is the best dog groomer for your pup. I have to admit, sometimes it takes a couple of tries. Keep your eyes on how your dog reacts. My dog, Henry has always told me which groomer is the best dog groomer for him.

cute yorkie enjoys a trim from the best dog groomer

How do you feel when your dog goes to the groomer?  Do you have the best dog groomer in your area?


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