What You Need to Know About Creative Pet Grooming

Dog grooming is big business.

The American Pet Productions Association estimates that spending for pet services, which lumps together grooming and boarding, will exceed $5 billion in 2015. That breaks down to each dog owner spending about $83 per year on grooming services for his or her dog.

One growing sub-segment of the grooming market is “creative grooming.” Creative grooming is a decorative style that incorporates everything from bling to fur dye to nail polish. Manufacturers are coming out with products that meet the increasing demand of this trend, and nearly every pet retailer has creative grooming products stocked on their shelves. There are even different associations for creative groomers, like the Creative Groomers Association and the National Association of Professional Creative Groomers.


If you want your dog to be clipped into the shape of a character from Super Mario Brothers, a creative groomer can do it. If you want your dog to be dyed into a rainbow, a creative groomer can do it. Part of what makes creative grooming so popular is that dog owners are able to showcase their own personal style. And, truly, the sky’s the limit. Check out this curated collection of creatively-groomed dogs or this YouTube video of a past competition. If you want to incorporate some of the creative grooming trend on your own, there are numerous products available, like pet-safe Mommy & Me Nail Polish from Pet Head or a dog-specific, non-toxic dye like PetPaint.


Finding a Groomer

If you choose to hire a groomer rather than take the DIY route, call around to local groomers to ask if they have anyone on staff who’s certified in creative grooming. The grooming industry is largely unregulated, and creative grooming certifications are a voluntary extra that usually costs the groomer time and money. Therefore, it’s a pretty good indicator that you’ve chosen someone who knows health and safety practices. If you can’t find anyone who’s certified, be sure to ask your local groomer for a list of products that they use. For instance, you need to be sure that the groomer uses temporary, non-toxic color—never harsh chemicals like bleach.

A Warning

Creative grooming can be a silly, fun thing to do with your dog, but remember that the wild grooming is for you, not for your dog. In fact, many other dogs can react very poorly to a creatively-groomed dog because it’s a scary, unfamiliar picture to them. If you choose to have your dog groomed in a creative color or design, take extra precautions to keep your pup safe. Plus, if your dog doesn’t like excess attention from strangers—a creatively groomed dog attracts stares and people stopping for photographs—avoid this trend altogether.

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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