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Our domestic pets are such an important part of our lives, giving us companionship, unconditional love, hours of fun, laughter and joy. They are our best friends, our furry children and, as far as dogs are concerned, one of the best ways for us to get our daily exercise by going for long walks or jogs with them for company. Whilst we may absolutely love them and take the best care of them that we can, not many of us are experts when it comes to certain routine aspects of their care, such as nail clipping, bathing, brushing, fur trimming or cutting, ear and teeth cleaning, and similar tasks. A pet groomer will take care of all these matters for you, and will often include additional services in their portfolio, such as pet-sitting, dog-walking or transport to and from the vet, if required.
Most pet groomers will receive their training through on-the-job ‘apprenticeships’ with a suitably skilled, knowledgeable and qualified groomer. They will be able to see, first-hand, how to empathetically handle dogs - and, sometimes, cats - with different needs and characteristics. First and foremost, a pet groomer must be an animal lover, and be comfortable handling and working with dogs of all sizes and temperaments. Patience, as well as a calm and gentle but firm manner, are also definite plusses for groomers. Dogs, especially smaller breeds, can become extremely nervous in unfamiliar environments, and may react by cringing, whining, urinating, trying to run away or hide, or even snapping at their handlers or other dogs. Becoming impatient, shouting at or forcefully trying to manoeuvre a dog in such circumstances can cause disastrous results. If handling a cat which has been brought in to have matted fur cut, experience in safely handling bad-tempered, angry or frightened felines is definitely a must-have! A pet groomer should be able to recognize signs of ill-health in dogs, and report this to the owner as soon as possible. Changes in behaviour in dogs who visit the groomer regularly should be investigated to see if there is an underlying health issue which has not been noticed by the owner.
Many pet groomers are more than happy to come to your home to carry out grooming services. This is especially useful if you have more than one animal which needs attention, if your dogs are nervy or can become aggressive in unfamiliar places, particularly if you cannot stay with them during the grooming session. You must be aware, though, that you will be expected to provide certain amenities such as hot and cold water and a bath for bathing dogs. Some groomers will carry their own portable bath units, but this is not always guaranteed. They will also require a specific area in which to work without undue distractions which might over-excite the dog. The groomer will either bring along the shampoo needed, as well as all other grooming instruments, or owners may choose to buy the shampoo themselves and provide this as needed.
Many pet groomers can be found through enquiries at your local veterinary practice or pet stores, or through recommendations from friends who also have pets. If you prefer to check for groomers from the comfort of your home, the internet is a valuable resource. Using search engines will save a lot of effort, and search sites such as Uptasker are particularly useful and time-saving. One of Uptasker’s major strengths is the fact that it lists per geographical area, which is a bonus when doing quick searches. You will also be able to check online ratings and customer reviews, which is a comforting factor when your beloved pets are involved. Uptasker will also provide ‘one-click’ links to the websites of listed pet groomers, if available, which will give you a full overview of the services offered by each provider. Alternatively, you can check adverts in dog and pet magazines, visit pet shows in your area, or check the Yellow Pages and newspapers.
We want our pets (let’s face it - our dogs) to look their best through regular washing, brushing and fur trimming, to smell clean and to ensure that their routine health matters such as teeth and ear cleaning and nail clipping are attended to regularly. For those of us who are either too busy or simply too nervous to attend to these matters ourselves, the services of skilled, experienced and knowledgeable pet groomers solve the problem and the worry in one easy step. And, quite honestly, dogs particularly love the attention and pampering they receive from these specialists, so it’s definitely a win/win situation. For more tips, see our pet groomer articles.