On average, dog grooming costs between $60-$90 per session. But the total cost really depends on how long it takes to groom the dog — breed, size and temperament all have an impact on price. Special treatments like de-matting and blueberry facials (that's a thing) can also add to the price.
What's in this cost guide?
- What's included in a typical dog grooming session?
- What grooming services cost extra?
- What can affect the cost of pet grooming?
- Do I tip the dog groomer?
- Why hire a professional groomer anyway? Can't I just give my dog a shower?
- What should pet owners look out for when hiring a groomer?
A standard grooming service for your pooch usually includes a shampoo bath, brushing, haircut, nail trimming, ear cleaning and teeth brushing — yes, teeth brushing. If only people salons offered that level of service.
Some full grooming packages may also include anal gland expression, which is when the groomer squeezes your dog's anal glands to empty the smelly fluid inside them. It's gross but necessary. Welcome to the world of professional pet grooming.
Some dog groomers choose to charge flat rates (depending on breed size) while others charge hourly. Thumbtack pro BlissBlound Hound charges $130 for their dog grooming package, plus an extra $40/hour for dogs that need over four hours of grooming. Groomers may also offer these services a la carte — meaning you can pick and choose different services instead of a full grooming.
Some groomers and salons offer special treatments that aren't included in the full groom. But even if your dog loves bath time, sometimes your pet may need more than a regular shampoo and blow-dry.
- De-matting, or removing heavily tangled hair (mats) from your dog's coat. This can be a delicate process and using the wrong grooming tool can damage your pet's coat. Unless you know what you're doing, it's best to hire a pro.
- De-shedding, or brushing out loose undercoat hair before it ends up on your couch, rug and everywhere else.
- Flea or tick treatment — getting rid of fleas and other nasty parasites in your pet's coat.
- Blueberry facial. Yes, dog groomers offer facials too. But it's not as silly as it sounds. A blueberry facial gently removes dead skin cells and tear stains from your pet's face. It cleans your pet's face better than a regular shampoo. It's especially useful for dogs with facial folds.
- Nail polish. Ok this is pretty silly. There are pet groomers who can paint your dog's nails. After all — a simple nail trimming may not be enough for your fabulous puppy. So why not have a little fun?
A number of things can affect the cost, including:
- Breed: Not all breed coats are created equal. Double-coated breeds are harder to groom than short-haired breeds. Your Border Collie (and its beautiful thick fur) will cost more than your Toy Poodle. Breed size is another cost factor — small dogs take less time to groom than big dogs.
- Temperament: Groomers may charge more if the dog has aggression, anxiety or needs special care. Grooming a sensitive dog takes more work — and there's groomer safety to think about when handling a dog with aggression.
- Transportation: Don't have the time to drop your dog off at the salon? Some dog groomers offer a pick-up and drop-off service for an extra fee. Prices also go up for mobile dog grooming services — professional grooming in a van that drives to your location. Mobile groomer vans are outfitted with special equipment so your dog can get shampoo baths, haircuts, brushing and more without having to visit a grooming facility. It's more convenient, but can cost more.
- Where you live: Dog grooming can be more expensive in bigger cities and areas with a high cost of living.
- Frequency. Dog groomers often give discounts to customers who pay for regular grooming or have ongoing appointments.
Tipping is a divisive subject, but in general people like to tip groomers 15-20%. Of course, the tip depends on how happy you are with the results or how difficult your dog is to deal with — like if they nip or pee on the groomer. Remember, even though you're paying a groomer to handle your dog, they do face a fair amount of risk while grooming them. (And do we need to bring up anal gland expression again?) Tipping is a nice way to show your appreciation.
Pet grooming isn't a regulated industry. You actually don't need qualifications to offer grooming services. But having some kind of certification or membership can show commitment to the business. Organizations that offer training and certification include National Dog Groomers of Association of America (NDGAA), International Society of Canine Cosmetologists (ISCC) and the International Pet Groomers Inc (IPGI) — but these are only the more popular ones.
Certifications aside, what's even more important is salon conditions. Don't be afraid to inspect the facility. How clean is the grooming area? How do the groomers interact with the dogs and dog owners? A good groomer will be more than happy to show you around and put your mind at ease. Also, don't be annoyed if the salon asks for proof of immunizations. They're not being difficult on purpose — it actually means they're thinking about the health and safety of their groomers.
It's understandable to think that dogs don't need all this fuss. Your pet might just need a regular bath and brushing, which you can do without any fancy equipment. And that's fair — it's definitely doable to groom your dog yourself.
One benefit of hiring a professional groomer is time. If you have a busy schedule it can make sense to hire somebody to groom your pet. You're also paying for ease. Dealing with your high-energy puppy might be a struggle at the best of times. Imagine if you had to deal with her in a bathtub filled with water and shampoo.
Aside from handling tricky grooming tasks like nail trimming or ear cleaning, groomers also help keep your pet healthy. They know how to look for skin injuries and irritations, which they treat with antiseptic so your pet doesn't get infected. They can help find other health issues like ear problems, parasites and gum disease. That expertise can be invaluable.