Grooming is an important way to keep your dog happy, healthy, and comfortable. As such, you should be on the lookout for excellent service from a reputable doggie salon – you wouldn’t trust your own hair to just anyone with a pair of shears, would you? To make sure your dog looks and feels her best, follow these quick tips when choosing a groomer for your dog.

Find the Right Groomer

Start by seeking out recommendations from your friends, your veterinarian, and fellow dog owners in your area. This is the best way to get a feel for what nearby groomers are active and reputable. You can also check out dog groomers online, either by local rating sites or dog owner forums. The National Dog Groomers Association of America has a database of certified dog groomers nationwide.

After you’ve settled on a few different groomers that you might try, check up on their facilities, credentials, and expertise.

Present standards for quality dog grooming facilities should match that of a high end hair salon. The location should be clean, well-lit, and safe. Groomers that go the extra mile to provide comfort and care to your dog will likely provide a quality grooming, as well.

Learn the Staff

Talk to the staff at each grooming salon. Find out what services the groomer offers and how much these services cost. Ask what services the groomer would recommend specifically for your dog, and compare the price to other groomers you visit.

Find out what experience the groomers have handling your dog’s specific breed. Do the groomers have dog show experience? Ask to see any available state or local credentials, including certificates and alliances with grooming organizations. Now is the time – before you make your final decision – to clear up any concerns you may have about a potential dog groomer.

When you visit, check to see the condition of other dogs in the facility – are they mostly content or are there more than a couple agitated pups in the groomer’s location? If the groomer uses cages or other restraint devices while dogs are waiting to be groomed, make sure that the cages are adequately sized for all types of dogs, including your own.

After you’ve visited a few different potential groomers and have compared the prices and pros and cons of each, do one final round of investigation into the groomer you choose. Check for complaints with your local Better Business Bureau and ask for referrals from other clients.

Schedule an Appointment

Now that you’ve chosen a groomer for your dog, establish an appointment schedule. Busy, boutique dog groomers may have a waiting list not only for appointments, but also for new clients. If you can’t get your dog in to your new groomer right away, ask for a referral for the interim. Once your dog is accepted by the groomer, you should establish a weekly or bi-weekly appointment to have your dog groomed. Your dog enjoys a comfy coat, and regular grooming is key to maintaining the health and comfort of your dog.