Pros and Cons of Hiring a Groomer vs DIY

We all love to find ways to save money on pet care.

Grooming expenses add up, but is grooming one of those areas to cut costs? Here are some pros and cons to consider before deciding to DIY.

Brushing

At-home brushing is a no brainer. Long-coated dogs who visit the groomer regularly can still get matted in between appointments, and all dogs need to have the dead fur and skin sloughed off regularly. Plus, the more often you brush your dog, the less time it takes. Even five minutes a night will work wonders. Daily brushing at home saves on trips to the groomer because it helps maintain a clean, shiny coat and healthy skin. However, not all brushes and combs are created equally; be sure to ask a professional for a recommendation for the right tool for your dog’s coat.

Clipping

Some dogs require regular clipping, either to a breed standard or because the hair grows rapidly and becomes problematic—like obscuring the dogs’ vision or matting between the toes. Groomers know the trouble spots and can target them quickly and efficiently. They also have a suite of tools at their disposal, something you probably won’t have at home. However, if clipping is something you want to try at home, purchase a clipper kit designed for at-home grooming that comes with a range of attachments. Then, visit the brand’s website or YouTube channel for complete use instructions. If either you or your dog are uncomfortable, talk to your regular groomer. Explain that you would like to lengthen the span between appointments to cut costs, and ask what you should (or shouldn’t) clip in between appointments to maintain your dog’s coat. Most groomers will be happy to discuss maintenance—it makes their job easier if your dog isn’t a matted mess at every appointment!

Bathing

Like brushing, at-home bathing is something that should be done regularly, whether or not your dog visits a professional groomer. Most dogs don’t require even a weekly bath (check with your vet for a recommendation for your breed) unless they roll in something gross or dig up the garden. Being able to give a bath at home, whether in the tub with a shower nozzle attachment, or in the backyard with the hose, will save time and money. Stock up on a quality shampoo and a pouch of dog-specific wipes. Put on clothes that you don’t mind getting soaked, and scrub your dog from forehead to tail. Rinse thoroughly then step back while your pup shakes off! You may find it’s easier and cheaper to DIY all baths, not just the stinky ones.

Trimming

Nail trims…for some dogs, no big deal. For other dogs, it’s traumatic. Assess how your dog handles getting his nails trimmed before determining what’s best. Note: Some groomers may muzzle dogs who flip out over nail trims to keep themselves safe. In some instances this can make the situation more traumatic for your dog. Counterconditioning your pup to nail trims at home may be a better—though time-consuming—option. Read up on best practices, and make sure your trimmers are sharp and appropriate for your dog’s nails. Only trim when your dog is calm, and plan on doling out lots of treats as you work. If you can master the nail trim, this is a definite “do” for saving money on at-home grooming.

Meet the Author: Maggie Marton

Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.

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