To tip or not to tip. It seems like a pretty innocuous question on the surface of the matter. For me, it opens up a few other questions. Questions like, is it necessary to even engage the services of a professional dog groomer? If so, do you have to tip your dog groomer? I don’t even have a dog, but my friends who are pet owners have made sure I am well educated when it comes to how much is required to ensure that their dogs are well taken care of. I can tell you, groomers are high on the list of must-haves.
How Much Does It Cost For Dog Grooming?
When we talk about how much is required to meet the needs of loved pets, we aren’t just talking about money. We’re talking about time, energy, and professional care. The main variable in dog grooming prices is the type of dog and their size. Groomers generally charge extra for additional services such as teeth cleaning, flea treatments, nail clipping, fancy styles, and expressing anal glands. The cost for dog grooming ranges between $35 to $150. On average, dog groomers make 40 percent on each groom.
Just What Does A Dog Groomer Do?
A professional dog groomer does more than just make your dog look great. They even:
- Conduct a health assessment where they look at the condition of the dog’s skin, teeth, and gums.
- Take note of any pests, sore spots, other points of complaint as they groom your dog.
- May be able to alert you to any health issues you may not have already been aware of.
- Bathe, scrub, dry and style your dog. Anything from a quick comb out to a trimming of hair in delicate places, such as between toes, around eyes and mouth, and special grooms like the French Poodle look.
- Clean hard-to-reach spots, including ears, eyes and heinies, can be hard spots for owners to clean. Cleaning eye gunk, that is persistent in much smaller dogs, cleansing and checking for signs of infection, like yeast in the ears, and expressing anal glands when necessary.
- Trim your dog’s nails.
Dog grooming is not easy. Dogs require a fair amount of personal attention. For young puppies and dogs that have never been groomed, more frequent grooming or brushing at home should be done to get the dog used to being handled and to avoid grooming issues into adulthood.
Is A Dog Groomer Necessary?
Let’s put it this way, do you want to wrestle around with your dog while you inexpertly wield clippers and scissors? I don’t say, no. I say, hell no. Give me a dog groomer right now. Dog groomers provide skilled work most owners won’t or can’t do themselves. Dog groomers know animal anatomy, so while they are looking for ticks, fleas, and ringworms, they even spot infectious and life-threatening lumps during a grooming service.
Grooming is a physically demanding job. Many groomers are prone to back problems from lifting heavy dogs, and carpal tunnel syndrome from the repetitive motion of scissoring, brushing and hand stripping. Their legs can even suffer from standing all day. Circulation problems like varicose veins, overstressed tendons and ligaments are common ailments within the industry.
Much patience is required. Pets can be unpredictable and not always cooperative. Groomers can quickly connect emotionally with a new animal, establish control, and even convince the animal to trust them. It takes a great deal of skill, knowledge and experience to calm the pet enough to ensure they can give a good job.
Proper hair hygiene is essential. Failure to groom your dog regularly can have serious health consequences. A service can uncover health issues before you know they exist, including cysts, bad skin conditions, and ear infections that can all hide under fur. Regular services are about maintaining both your dog’s physical health as well as her appearance. Brushing is beneficial for all kinds of dogs no matter what breed they are. Brushing removes dead hair, dirt, and dandruff. Regular brushing also helps bring out the natural oils in the dog’s fur.
The Dangerous Life Of Dog Groomers
Pet grooming can be a risky business. Most professionals are well able to keep themselves and their canine clients safe by wearing gloves and using muzzles when necessary. Some pets bite, scratch and pee during a grooming service. It is not uncommon for animals with a history of aggressive behaviors to be turned away.
It isn’t just biting and scratching that makes the job dangerous for dog groomers. There is also the danger inherent with breathing in pet dander and inhaling tiny, sharp pieces of hair when giving a cut. Pet dander can be a major respiratory health risk. Masks are often worn by dog groomers during the grooming process.
If your dog makes life difficult for the groomer, it is probably best to increase the tip you give. A groomer’s job involves a bit of risk.
Is It Necessary To Tip A Dog Groomer?
Should I tip or not? You don’t necessarily have to tip your groomer, especially if you don’t use the same one all the time. However, there are some very compelling arguments for putting your hand in your pocket to give that tip anyway.
How much to tip your dog groomer depends on services rendered and the quality of the work done. If they listened and provided what you asked for, they deserve for you to give a tip.
Have you asked anything special or out of the ordinary, of your dog groomer? Anything like conducting a before-hours or after-hours service? Was your dog in a filthier than usual condition? If so, they well deserve a tip. You should also acknowledge any freebies with your tip. Adding a tip shows you value the work that has been done for you. Always tip.
How Much Do You Tip?
The general consensus is your pet groomer should get 15 to 20 percent of the service total as a tip. Really, appreciation tips are a token of gratitude and are whatever you can afford. Often, they will throw in a few free extras in the service, like adding conditioner, brushing teeth, or grinding nails. Tip according to your level of appreciation.
Did your dog groomer put you at ease? Did you feel comfortable asking questions? Did they give everything they could to soothe your pet and make it more comfortable to endure the process? Was the outcome better than expected? On the flip side, did they fall short? If not, you should consider giving them a bigger tip.
Consider an extra tip for special circumstances, such as:
- If your dog bit the groomer, particularly if they don’t charge extra for being bitten.
- If the groom service ended before being finished because your dog drew blood or caused serious injury. Chances are you won’t be charged for an incomplete groom.
- Your pet having fecal matter stuck to his bottom.
- Your pet has an extreme case of shedding.
- Extreme cases of matting: if your dog is so badly matted that your groomer saves the sheet of fur and shows you a matted fur sweater when you pick him up.
- Elderly or overweight dogs that will not stand for grooming, especially the longer breeds. This can be the most difficult task of all for groomers and requires skill and patience. It not only takes more time than most grooms, but also requires the help of another groomer. You should definitely tip your groomer and assistant for this.
When it comes down to the practicalities of tipping, just make sure you place your tip directly into the hand of the person who conducted your dog’s groom. Some companies prohibit their employees from accepting tips. You don’t want to put the groomer in an uncomfortable position, so you can do one of four things in such cases:
- Offer the tip anyway. It is up to the groomer if they choose to accept it or not.
- Skip the tip to comply with the rules.
- Approach the company and ask if some other kind of gratuity, such as a bottle of wine might be acceptable.
- Slip them the tip on the sly in the guise of a handshake.
Choosing Your Dog Groomer
When you hand your dog over to a groomer, you are entrusting your dog’s life, safety, and wellbeing to that person. It is important, then, to make the right choice. Some basic questions to help find the right groomer for you and your dog, include:
- Do you have certification or previous professional experience?
- What breeds do you have the most experience with?
- How long does it take?
- How do you manage dogs who fear grooming?
- What do you include in your “package”?
- What, if anything, do I need to provide?
- Can I watch?
Pick up a card with the groomer’s email address on it, and leave your email address and phone number with them to make it easier to tee up the next appointment. Next time you book a service for your dog, remember everything you and your dog receive from the event and always tip.