Dog Grooming

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

Do cats have to get groomed?

It’s not crazy to have your cat groomed. Grooming will keep your cat’s fur soft and silky as well as give you early warning about any health concerns. Regular grooming can also help reduce the volume of hair your cat may be shedding and keep your longhair kitty cool if you live in a warm climate. Professionals competently groom your cat and are trained to manage them if they resist being groomed, while you may get scratched doing the same task. The national average price for cat grooming is $50-$70. Pet grooming prices may vary based on the task. For example, a bath and brush for shorthair cats may be $15, $20 for medium-hair cats, and $25 for a longhair. Cat groomers can also keep your cat’s ears cleaned, trim their nails, and provide haircuts if needed. Average prices for haircuts can vary from $30 to $95 or more, depending on whether the cat is shy or aggressive and whether their coat is in good condition, matted, or otherwise difficult to groom.

What is a dog groomer?

A dog groomer is a service professional who provides dog grooming and basic hygiene care for your dog. Dog groomers are typically animal lovers who are competent and comfortable working with a wide range of dog breeds and temperaments. Dog groomers are knowledgeable about the care needs for different kinds of dog coats. A poodle will have different haircut needs than a shih tzu, for example, so it pays to have a trained pro provide the proper cut. Good dog groomers know how to safely clean your dog’s teeth, bathe your dog, and cut their nails without going too short. They understand how to trim the hair from around your dog’s face, express anal glands, and clean your dog’s ears. Many people who choose dog grooming as a profession also pursue other dog services such as attending veterinary school, running a doggy day care center, working as a professional dog walker, and more.

What is included in a dog grooming?

Dog grooming is so much more than giving your dog a bath. Dog grooming is a broad term that covers all aspects of canine cleanliness and hygiene. The services included in dog grooming will vary based on your needs and what you choose to pay. Unless they are rolling in cowpies or playing in mud puddles, most dogs are okay getting a shampoo bath only as needed. You’ll know when they need it if they smell bad or are bringing dirt into the house. Some dogs, like shepherds and shih tzus, have thick coats that can get matted and tangled without regular care. Pro dog groomers can deftly blow dry a dog’s hair after a bath so that it is shiny and smooth. Dog grooming can include brushing that detangles dog hair and also thins the undercoat to minimize shedding.

Dog grooming also includes hygiene services such as toothbrushing and ear cleaning. Clean teeth are important to the health of your dog, and the pros have the patience and proper technique to get it done. Regular dog grooming can stave off tear stains, those reddish stains below your dog’s eyes. Anal gland expression is something not many people want to do on their own, even if they love their dog. A dog groomer can safely and efficiently release any blocked anal gland fluid. Other dog grooming services include nail trimming and clipping. Nationally, dog grooming prices range from $60 to $80. Most dog groomers offer discounts to customers who purchase monthly packages or bundle multiple grooming services at one time.

How much does it cost to get a dog’s nails trimmed?

Dog grooming prices for nail trims can vary based on the the size and temperament of your dog, where the nail trimming takes place, and whether you bundle the trim with other grooming services. The average cost to get your dog’s nails trimmed usually ranges from approximately $10 to $25. Nationally, the average for dog grooming prices is $60-$80, which usually encompasses not only nail trimming but also bathing, haircuts and other services.

The cost to trim a dog’s nails can vary based on whether the dog is at a doggy day care and has the service as an add-on, whether you bring your dog to a groomer’s business, or whether you have a mobile groomer provide nail trimming at your home. Nail trimming costs less than nail grinding, which usually is done with a Dremel or similar tool. Nail trimming should be a regular part of of your dog’s care, as overgrown nails can be painful and cause problems.

How much should cat grooming cost?

Keeping your cat groomed is an important part of maintaining their good health. The national average cost for cat grooming ranges between $50 and $70, with prices varying based on where you live and the services you request. Your cat’s temperament can also affect grooming prices. Scratching and hissing during a groomer visit can raise rates an average of $5-$10, or more, as hazard pay. Larger cats and long-haired cats that take longer to groom will also usually cost more. Here are some examples of cat grooming average costs:

  • Shave down or lion cut: $35-$60. These cuts preserve the hair around the face and tip of the tail but shave down the entire body. The lion cut is often recommended for extremely matted hair is exceedingly matted, for extreme heat, or for cats who are suffering from hairballs.
  • Ear cleaning and nail trim: $30.
  • Nail trim: $10-$15.
  • Bath and nail trim: $45.
  • Bath and sanitary trim: $55. A sanitary trim clips the hair on a cat’s behind to prevent fecal matting in longhair cats or cats that have mobility issues.
  • Bath, blow-dry, brush out, nail trim and ear cleaning: $40.
  • Full haircut, bath, and nail trim: $45-$95, depending on matting.

How much does it cost to groom a dog?

Dog grooming costs depend on the service your pet requires. Nationally, the average price for dog grooming ranges from $40 to $100, varying by location. Not surprisingly, dog grooming on New York’s Upper East Side costs nearly double what it costs in a small town in Montana. Dog groomers typically handle every aspect of your dog’s beauty and hygiene, from tooth brushing to hairstyling. One potential way to save is to have your dog groomed at your doggy daycare — sometimes they offer discounts on dog grooming prices for clients. Here are some examples of average dog grooming costs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please note these prices would include transportation fees for picking up and dropping off your dog to your home:

  • Nails: $30 a la carte or $20 when bundled with another service
  • Toothbrushing: $30 a la carte or $20 when bundled with another service
  • Tooth scraping (removal of plaque from teeth to prevent infection), with anesthesia: $600
  • Tooth scraping, without anesthesia: $400.
  • Wash and dry: $60
  • Ears: $30 a la carte or $20 when bundled with another service
  • Grooming package: $130 — includes wash, nails, teeth, ears, gland expression and haircut

What vaccines do dogs need to be groomed?

It’s important to make sure your dog is up to date on its vaccines before taking it to a groomer. Vaccinations keep your dog and the other dogs that use the establishment healthy. Viruses can linger long after a dog is gone, so an unvaccinated dog can infect a number of other dogs days or even months after their visit. Find out about your dog groomer’s vaccination policies, and think carefully about receiving services from a company that does not require vaccinations. Here are the main vaccinations that are generally required for dog grooming:

  • Parvovirus: Parvo is a nasty virus that can kill dogs within 48-72 hours of infection. The virus is incredibly persistent and, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, is resistant to heat, cold, humidity and drying. It’s spread by dog-to-dog contact or contact with contaminated feces, environments (food and water bowls, collars and leashes, etc.,) or people.
  • Adenovirus 2: Dogs receive this vaccination to protect against canine infectious hepatitis. The vaccination can also helps prevent canine cough.
  • Canine distemper virus: Distemper has no known cure and can cause serious pain, illness, and even death, although recovery is possible with medical intervention.  
  • Rabies: This disease attacks the central nervous system and — when untreated — will lead to death. The CDC recommends euthanizing an unvaccinated animal that has been exposed to rabies, although six-month isolation followed by vaccination is also permissible.
  • Para-influenza: Canine para-influenza leads to kennel cough and an unhappy dog

How much does it cost to trim a dog’s nails?

Trimming your dog’s nails is an important part of keeping your dog healthy and well-groomed. Well-clipped nails are also a factor in your dog grooming costs. When a dog’s nails get too long, they have the potential to break or split, which can cause them pain and mean a costly visit to your local veterinarian. Overly long dog nails can also cause discomfort for your pup, especially if you have hardwood or tile floors. Be sure to calculate regular nail trimming into your budget for dog grooming. The dog groomer may use trimmers to clip the nails, or they may use a small drill (like a Dremel) to grind down the nails. A good professional groomer will know not to clip too close to the base of the nail, where nicking a nerve or a blood vessel could injure your dog. Nail trimming costs can vary based on geographic location and whether you bring the dog to the groomer or if the groomer picks up and drops off your dog. Transportation fees for pickup and drop-off service can add a lot to the cost. A simple dog nail trim may cost between $10 and $30, depending on location. Nail grinding may cost $2-$8 more than standard clipping. Many dog groomers offer discounts for bundled services, so you could get a nail trim at a reduced rate when you purchase it with a bath.

What is included in dog grooming?

Dog grooming is a broad term that encompasses a range of beauty and hygiene services provided to your pet by a dog grooming professional. Services can include bathing, nail trimming, tooth brushing, haircuts, ear cleaning and gland expression. The American Humane Society recommends bathing (shampooing) your dog every two to four months, but breed and hair type can affect frequency. A dog groomer may charge extra for bathing a dog that’s unusually dirty or smelly from rolling in a bog or being sprayed by a skunk, for example. Nail trimming should be done every two to four weeks, depending on how quickly your dog’s nails grow. If you hear their nails clicking when they’re walking on hard surfaces, a trim is overdue. Experts say you should brush your dog’s teeth at least a few times a week. If you find this difficult because of your dog’s size or temperament, it’s helpful to have a regular groomer you entrust to regularly give them a thorough cleaning. The type of dog you have will determine how often it will need a haircut. A dog with short, wiry hair will rarely need a haircut, while a long-haired breed such as a shih-tzu will need regular combing to prevent painful matting and a cut every six weeks to three months, depending on length. Often, you can save on dog grooming prices by bundling multiple services into one visit with the same provider. Another opportunity for savings is to find a doggy day care service that also provides dog grooming.

How much does it cost for a mobile dog groomer?

Mobile dog groomers come to your home and bathe, trim, and groom your dog. Mobile grooming is often easier on your dog, as they don’t have to go to a strange place to get groomed, and it saves you the effort of transportation. Prices for mobile pet grooming services can vary. Nationally, the average for dog grooming prices is $60-$80, including both standard and mobile services. Mobile dog grooming prices may be higher if the company has a dedicated truck or van than if they do the grooming on your premises. Mobile dog grooming prices will also vary based on the services you need, the area you live in, and your dog’s temperament and breed. Here are some examples of average pet grooming prices:

  • Nail trim: $15-$25.
  • Ear cleaning: $20.
  • Anal gland expression: $25.
  • Bath: $25-$50, depending on dog size.
  • Haircut: $45.
    • All five of these services bundled: $110-$160, depending on dog size.

What you need to know about pet grooming.

What is a good price for dog grooming?

The price you pay for pet grooming depends on where you live, the type of dog you have, which services you want to be included in the grooming session and the condition of your dog's fur, nails and teeth. If your dog hasn't been groomed in a while, it may have matted fur or other problems that could cause the groomer to spend more time on the session. In general, the average dog grooming cost per session is $60-$90. 

Do you tip a dog groomer?

Like many other service providers, your dog groomer may depend on tips to make a living wage. While a traditional tip for a dog groomer is 15% or higher, you can leave a tip of 20% (or more) if you’re pleased with the service. Before you bring your dog to a groomer, you can ask about their tipping policy.

How often should you bathe your dog?

There's not a one-size-fits-all rule about how often you should bathe your dog. Some breeds with sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate frequent baths, while others may need to be bathed several times per week, depending on their normal activities. 

How often you need to bathe your dog depends on their coat type, whether they have health conditions and their lifestyle. It may also depend on your pet's tolerance for the process. Dogs who become overly stressed during a bath may be fine with less frequent sessions, while dogs who enjoy the water may be easier to bathe. 

What does it mean to groom your pet?

Dog grooming is the process of keeping your dog's coat, teeth and nails in good condition. A lack of grooming could lead to skin conditions, exacerbate allergies or even cause problems with their paws. If your dog sheds, regular grooming sessions can help reduce the amount of pet fur in your home. Fur hygiene for your pets can help relieve mild allergies for the humans they spend time with. 

If you show your dog or cat, grooming takes on a whole new meaning. There are many standards you must adhere to in order to remain compliant with the show’s rules.

What is included in pet grooming?

The best dog groomers will walk you through the services included in their pricing so they understand your expectations. Typically, dog grooming services include: 

  • Shampoo bath
  • Drying
  • Brushing
  • Haircut
  • Nail trimming
  • Teeth brushing
  • Ear cleaning 

Your dog or pet groomer may offer to include additional services. They may also charge extra if the grooming session takes longer than average. 

If you need to have your cat groomed, expect to have any tangled or matted hair removed. Cats don't typically get baths, but taking a cat with a thick and long coat to the groomer can be a great way to help them enjoy the summer months more comfortably.

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