Your 16 Point Checklist for a Visit to the Dog Grooming Salon


By Maria Sweeney, Owner at Vanity Fur

The Dos and Don’ts of taking your pet to the grooming salon. This goes for you too.

Dog Grooming Salon Checklist

Your 16 Point Checklist


  • Help your dog become comfortable with getting groomed by introducing him to touch and sounds early on in life. Touch his feet, nails, belly and legs as often as possible (a dog’s natural reaction is to pull away when handling these areas so the sooner he becomes used to it the easier it will be for him, you and the groomer). Familiarise him with the sounds of a hoover, hairdryer, electric razor or electric toothbrush at home if possible, as these are all the type of sounds he will hear in a grooming salon and it will help him stay calm if he realises they are not noises to be afraid of.
  • Introduce him to a grooming salon as young as possible. Even if it just means visiting to have a sniff around, get used to the sounds and smells, meet his future groomer etc it will help him realise that when you drop him off for his first groom it is nothing to be afraid of and will in fact be an experience he can enjoy in an environment he is familiar with
  • Brush him regularly at home. It will make a significant difference to both the experience he has at the salon and the quality of the groom his groomer can perform
  • Ensure he has all his vaccinations up to date. Most groomers will ask for confirmation of this in order to ensure the safety of both your own dog and other dogs in the salon
  • Make an appointment – this ensures you can get your dog groomed at a time that suits you as many groomers (particularly during peak seasons) will be booked up days and sometimes weeks in advance. It also allows you to discuss price and procedure with the groomer so you both know what to expect
  • Alert the groomer to any medical issues your pet may have, and ensure they have your vet’s number in case of any emergencies
  • Leave a number you can be contacted on while your pet is with the groomer. While a salon does everything possible to keep your pet safe, happy and groomed to the style you wish, there can sometimes be unforeseen circumstances where they will need to contact you. A power cut or plumbing issue for example, or perhaps if your pet is particularly nervous or difficult to groom they can sometimes show signs of stress or even aggression, and in this scenario it is sometimes necessary to send them home.
  • Make sure you and the groomer are talking the same language! Clear communication around how you like your pet to look after a trip to the groomers is essential. When you say ‘short but not too short’ what do you mean exactly? Are we talking 1 inch or 5? When you say you want your pet clipped do you realise this means using an electric razor, or do you infact just want them trimmed? If you have specific wishes always play it safe and make sure that you are spelling it out exactly, ambiguity has no place at the grooming salon.
  • Take them to the toilet before their appointment! They will likely be spending a few hours at the grooming salon and in most cases the groomer won’t be in a position to leave the premises and take them outside for a bathroom break. It’s also much more comfortable for your pet if they have done their ones and twos before going through the grooming process, not to mention some groomers will apply additional fees if your pet defecates while at the salon! (don’t worry , not at Vanity Fur J)


  • Ask your partner or friend to drop off your pet at the groomers unless they have clear instructions on how you want your pet groomed. We have seen marriages on the brink of collapse after the husband deposits Fifitrixabelle in the morning and tells us to “take it all off, nice and short” only to be faced just hours later with a wailing wife with a sheared lamb under her arm throwing clothes into a suitcase. Remember – ambiguity has no place at a grooming salon.
  • Feed your pet before his appointment. He will only need to use the bathroom while at the groomers
  • Cancel the same day as your appointment. If the groomer has gone to the trouble of confirming that appointment with you 24-48 hours in advance try to extend the same level of courtesy as they will not have the time to fill that slot if you don’t show up. Customers who make a habit of this will often find they cannot get an appointment at all
  • Bring a picture of a show dog you found on the internet and ask for your pet to look the same. Show dogs are show dogs for a reason, and they are in those pictures because they have extra beautiful fur with extra expensive products throughout every inch of it, and live their lives being extra preened on extra plush red velvet cushions. They do not spend their time running around a wet garden, fetching stones on the beach and sniffing for signs of life up other dogs’ rear ends
  • Fuss and coo over your dog when dropping him off with the groomer, telling him everything is going to be ok and you’ll be back soon etc etc . By doing this you are simply transferring your anxiety onto him and setting his mood for the time he’ll be spending at the grooming salon. Instead, hand him over to the groomer, agree collection details, pet him goodbye and walk out the door. Don’t turn around now, cause you’re not welcome anymoooore…
  • Leave your dog at the groomers all day, unless you have pre-arranged it with the groomer. They will most likely be stuck in a kennel or holding crate, and the groomer will need that space for other bookings throughout the day. Not to mention the fact they will most likely also have to pick up after your pet has used the kennel as a bathroom.
  • Try to trim your pet at home in between grooms. And lie about it. We know. And when you say you brush them at home “all the time” we know you’re lying then too.

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