Choosing the right doggie day spa is crucial when browsing through your cities various dog grooming options. A pet salon is the tail-wagging equivalent of your typical human spa—a place for pets to get treated in a lap of luxury. Typically pet salons offer more in-depth therapeutic treatments on top of standard grooming practices.
Splash and Dash prides itself on lavish spa treatments offered like aromatherapy, pawdicures, facials, de-shed services and nourish conditioning. These are offered in addition to the regular grooming services that take care of all your pet’s holistic needs.
Dogs of all breeds need regular grooming to keep them healthy and smelling great! So whether you just got a new puppy, adopted a senior dog, or are in the search for a new doggie day spa—follow this guideline to make sure you find a trustworthy and loving place.
Training, Experience, and Certification
Since neither federal or local government regulate pet groomers this is one of the most important steps. No regulation means groomers aren’t required to be licensed. Most people get into the grooming career through apprenticeship or attending an accredited school. However, there is no requirement for a person with this credential background to operate as an independent dog groomer or work at any of your local dog grooming shops.
Honest pet salons have precautions and hiring guidelines in place to ensure they hire quality professionals. Splash and Dash has a rigorous hiring process to ensure our groomers and bathers have the loving touch it takes. Accidents happen, but it takes an innate love for animals for this profession. Many dog groomers choose to get a membership through the Dog Groomers Association of America (DGAA). The association offers classes and requires testing before certifying members.
Before choosing a doggie spa, call to ask groomers about their background and skills in the grooming field. A good groomer should be attuned to animal’s emotional responses. They are firm—so they don’t accidentally cut an animal—-but are able to soothingly coax nervous animals into relaxing.
To save yourself some time, browse through your options of all the local doggie day spas before you commit to visiting each one in person. You can sort through the ones you know won’t fit and narrow your search down.
Ask your friends, veterinarian, and search online review sites. Yelp is a great source to find reviews of other pet owners. The site also allows past clients to post pictures of their dog’s haircut. These dogs are walking advertisements. If you see haircuts you like then you know the groomer that works there must be skilled.
If a place has tons of negative reviews, choose somewhere else.
You can ask your veterinarian for guidance too. Some vet offices have policies that prohibit them from recommending any one doggie day spa location, but you can always ask them if they have treated cases sent from this groomer like clipper abrasions, or if the groomer receives general complaints?
Evaluate the Conditions of the Doggie Day Spa
The same criteria pet parents use to evaluate a veterinarian’s office can be applied to a pet salon. What is the atmosphere like? Is it an inviting place that makes you and your dog feel comfortable. First impressions offer a lot of information about the place. Trust your instincts. If the place seems sketchy it probably is.
Things to consider at the facility:
- Is the shop well-lit?
- Are there a lot of dogs barking?
- If the shop also grooms cats, are the species kenneled separately?
- Is the place clean?
- Does the place smell good?
- Are animals monitored regularly to keep from overheating?
- Does the staff seem friendly, knowledgeable, and open-minded?
- Do they keep accurate pet records?
You can always ask to meet the groomer too. Think of this as an open-house for your soon-to-be kindergartner. How is your dog reacting to meeting the groomer? In most cases, groomers should be complete ‘dog people’—well trained to handle doggie day spa situations. They should be warm and inviting, especially with your pet. If your dog seems turned off by the groomer it might be wise to pick a different place.
Anxious, nervous, and sometimes even aggressive dogs can be commonplace in an environment like a doggie day spa. Dogs who are not accustomed to grooming can be hard to handle, and groomers should have the knowledge and skill set to be prepared to work with dogs that react like this. Not every dog is going to be a pet groomers’ dream.
If a groomer gives dogs sedatives you should opt for another grooming facility. This practice has become prevalent in the industry and is illegal and dangerous. The only case where a groomer should administer sedatives is when provided by a pet’s parents and prescribed by a veterinarian to specifically treat anxiety during grooming.
Give the groomer a hypothetical. Ask them how they would respond if a dog struggles, growls, or snaps. Be wary of confrontational responses like, “Sometimes we have to show them who’s boss.” Pet groomers should be well versed in animal behaviorism and will know how to de-escalate a response from an anxious dog.
A trip to the dog groomers should be positively reinforced. This is a two-way street between pet parents and groomers alike. A pet parent can acclimate their dog to grooming beforehand, but the methods a groomer uses are equally important. If they use a grooming noose they should never leave the table. Groomers should also recognize when dogs need a break. The doggie day spa should be relaxing, not stressful!
Does the Facility Provide Everything Your Dog Needs?
Whether you have an 80 lb German Shepherd that needs to be lifted into his spa, or a 5 lb Maltese that needs showroom style grooming, you will want to make sure the doggie day spa you choose can meet all the requirements of your pooch.
If your dog needs specific medical or behavioral attention your groomer should know this. A reputable groomer will ask you questions too. They will want to know whether your dog has been to a groomer before. Are they used to having their paws, ears, and glands handled? Are they crate trained? Do they have any allergies or dietary restrictions? What condition are your dog’s teeth?
These questions are all standard.
You also should browse through the services the doggie spa offers. Do they have eco-friendly shampoos and conditioners? Do they have aromatherapy, pawdicures, and facials? These services are the points of relaxation for your dog. You’ll want to make sure the pet salon can provide these amenities.
Above all, trust your instinct. Your pet, is, after all, your baby and your parenting instincts will be your best guide. Good luck, and Play Dirty, Live Clean!
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