Going to the groomer can be a difficult process for some animals and their pet parents! It can get expensive, and cause a lot of nervousness and stress. However, there are a few things that you can do at home that will help save you money and gain peace of mind.
The main habit that makes a real difference is regular brushing. Keep your pet’s fur well-kept to save time for the groomer and make the job easier. Many groomers may charge by the hour, or charge more for extra brushing or mat removal. If your pet is presented to the groomer with too much matting, they may be required to shave the entire coat down. If your dog has a tangled long coat that you don’t want shaved, the groomer may have to spend a long time brushing out the tangles before being able to trim the hair. This can be painful for your dog, and may cost quite a bit more for the groomer to work through.
Some groomers may charge more for difficult nail trims, so it’s a good idea to desensitize your dog to this process. Even if you aren’t comfortable trimming their nails yourself, training your pet to be comfortable having their paws touched will go a long way at the groomer. Have a tasty treat handy and give small pieces while holding, rubbing, and lifting their feet and toes. Give words of encouragement in a calm, happy voice. Do this for a brief time and reward your pet while doing it. You can do one foot at a time, or if your pet is more patient, do each foot and touch each toe. You might consider having a pair of nail clippers or something similar that you can show your pet and have in your hand while you are playing with their feet. Not only will this be helpful to the groomer, but your pet will feel less stressed as well.
Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly at home is an important part of pet parenting, so get your pet used to the idea. Lift their lips, open their mouth, and then reward them for letting you do so. Do not do this if you are concerned that your pet might bite you. Only having their teeth brushed at the groomer is not often enough to properly care for their teeth. In addition to at home dental care, pets should also have regular oral exams and dental cleanings done by a veterinarian.
Desensitizing your pet to the tub, the sound of a dryer, and being on a table will help them know what to expect when they are at the groomer. This can be done by introducing these things one at a time and rewarding the animal for being calm and confident. Always do these in brief, positive sessions. Stop and take it slower if you notice any discomfort from your pet. Take your time and make it a fun experience for your pet!
Prepping your pet for the groomer can be a great bonding experience, and also help to prevent future stress and worry. As always, if you’re concerned about your pet’s behavior or health, take them into your regular veterinarian to be examined.