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Your Dog’s First Grooming Appointment

December 1 2023

Does your dog enjoy baths? We’re guessing probably not. Fido may love feeling clean and soft, but he’s not a huge fan of the process that gets him there. To be fair, doggy bathtime isn’t really fun for humans, either. It’s not always easy getting your canine buddy into the tub. Things also tend to get, well, rather messy. It’s no surprise that more and more people are opting to take their pets to groomers. If you’re considering booking your pup an appointment at the beauty salon, read on! A Syracuse, UT vet offers some advice on Fido’s first grooming visit in this article.

Vet Your Groomer Carefully

Choosing the wrong groomer may not only make things less pleasant for you and your pet: it can even be dangerous. If Fido isn’t handled properly, he could possibly be injured. Fortunately, those types of incidents are few and far between, but they do happen. 

When looking for a groomer, do some research and ask for recommendations. You’ll also want to enquire about things like certification, experience, and procedures. (Note: if your vet animal clinic offers grooming, you’ve got a great one-stop shop. They’ll already be familiar with your furry friend, and will also have his medical records.)

Provide The Groomer With Required Paperwork

We can’t state this enough: run from any groomer that doesn’t require proof that your furry pal is up to date on his parasite control, and has had required vaccines, such as Bordetella. (The exception is if you go to your vet, as they would have that information already.) 

Give The Groomer Clear Instructions

It’s very important to be concise when explaining what you want. If you would like Fido to have his coat clipped a certain way, bring a photo. You don’t want to find out the hard way that the cut you like has a completely different name than you thought.

It’s also best to provide any specific instructions both verbally and in writing, so the salon can attach that information to your pet’s file. The salon doesn’t need your pup’s life story, but you may want to make note of things like allergies, old injuries, sensitive spots, pet peeves, phobias, quirks … anything that could be helpful. 

Keep That First Grooming Appointment Basic

We’d recommend just scheduling a simple bath and blow-out for that first appointment. It’s important to ease your pet into it, and just let him take in the experience. You can start adding extras, like haircuts, down the road. (Of course, if Fido’s fur is matted or otherwise in bad shape, he may need more attention than that.) 

Burn Off The Zoomies Before Going To The Groomer

It’s always a good idea to tire Fido out a bit before an event or appointment, just to work off some of that doggy energy. Take your pooch for a long walk, or indulge him with a fun play session. That way, he’ll be calmer at the salon. 

Book Extra Time For Your Dog’s First Visit

That first appointment may take longer than subsequent appointments will, as your groomer will evaluate Fido, get to know him a bit, and chat with you about his beauty care. Make sure you’re booking enough time! For subsequent appointments, it’s important to talk to the front desk about what you want when you schedule. Groomer schedules get pretty busy,  and there isn’t always a lot of wiggle room between clients. You don’t want to find out the hard way that it’s too late to add in a haircut on the day of your appointment!

Crate Train Fido Before Taking Him To The Groomer

If Fido hasn’t been crate trained yet, we’d recommend getting this done before that first appointment. Even if you don’t want to crate your pup regularly at home, it’s best for him to be trained. For one thing, it’s always safer for dogs to travel in crates. He may also need to be crated at the vet’s as well as at the groomer’s. Most likely, your furry friend will be held in a kennel before and after his turn. This will be much, much easier for him if he’s already familiar with the process. 

This is one area where it’s very, very important to do things properly. You want your pooch to think of a crate as a comfy den, so it’s crucial that Fido form a pawsitive association with being crated. Take things slow! To sweeten the deal, put comfy bedding in your dog’s crate, and give him toys and treats near it. If you aren’t sure how to proceed, contact your Syracuse, UT veterinarian. 

Make Going To The Groomers Fun For Your Dog

There’s a lot to be said for the convenience of grooming. You can drop off a stinky pooch, and then pick up a clean, fresh-smelling one a few hours later. And while Fido may not be thrilled about the process, he may very well perk up if he realizes that he’ll get to do something fun after. Take him to a park, or even bring him to a pet store or drive-through for a special treat. It’s probably safe to say that your canine pal won’t mind getting a special toy, either.

Ask About Medical Grooming

Some pups need a bit more attention than the typical bath and blowout. For instance, some pooches require anal gland expression, which, while not very glamorous, is sometimes necessary. Other pooches may need ear hair trims. These things are definitely not universally recommended. If you aren’t sure whether or not your dog requires this type of care, contact your Syracuse, UT vet. Doing some breed research will also give you a good idea of what is required.

Listen To The Groomer’s Feedback

Groomers are not veterinarians, so you should never consider taking Fido to the salon as a replacement for bringing him to the clinic. That said, groomers are experienced animal care professionals. As such, they tend to have pretty keen eyes, and can often spot things like lumps, bumps, soreness, irritation, or even foul odors, all of which can indicate medical issues. If your groomer notices anything, definitely take it seriously. (Note: this is another benefit of grooming at your vet’s, as that can come in very handy if an issue is spotted.) 

Get Your Puppy Used To Being Groomed

If your canine pal is still a puppy, then we would definitely recommend scheduling a few appointments. Fido’s baby fur may not need much more than a quick bath, but it will still be very helpful to get him accustomed to the process now. Even if you plan to bathe him at home, it’s not going to hurt for him to have that experience. If he ever needs to go to a groomer later, you’ll have a much easier time.

Skip Heavy Perfumes

While humans may enjoy perfumes and sprays, most scents are too strong for Fido’s sensitive nose. Skip the strong-smelling perfumes!

Grooming Can Help Senior Dogs, Too

As your canine friend ages, you’ll need to adjust his care needs. You may have been fine bathing Fido in the tub for years, but once he enters his golden years, he’ll be more fragile, and therefore more prone to slips and falls. Groomers have stations that are safer and easier for older dogs to get in and out of. Your vet may recommend going to a doggy salon for those reasons. 

In conclusion, groomers can help you keep your canine buddy looking and feeling great. Just be aware of the do’s and don’ts of taking your furry best friend to the salon.

Do you need to schedule a grooming appointment? Please reach out to us, your Syracuse, UT pet hospital, for your dog’s grooming care needs. We’re here to help!

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