For over four years, I have been the lucky pet parent to a 17-pound Maltipoo.
The Cost of Grooming
If you are preparing to get a dog, consider the cost of grooming before choosing a breed with a thick coat. A short-haired breed may be preferable if you don't want to deal with the costs and hassles of taking a dog to a groomer.
If you already have a dog with a thick coat, grooming won't just make them look good. It can protect their health. Mats can multiply in a dog's coat if their fur gets too thick. That can affect blood circulation and trap moisture. Matting can lead to irritation and sores on a dog's skin. They can also become hiding places for parasites like fleas and ticks.
You can save a lot of money by buying a Dog Grooming Kit and learning to cut your dog's hair. But if you prefer to leave this task to a professional, there are several things to consider. The price of grooming varies by location, service quality, and the dog's size. However, there is another cost to consider, and that is vaccinations.
Pet Store Chains
Major pet store chains like Petsmart and Petco are often the cheapest options for grooming. Petsmart charges $63 for their "bath and full haircut" option in my area. This is $12 less than a locally owned business that offers dog boarding and doggie daycare in addition to grooming.
I get my dog groomed at a similar locally owned business, and they charge $69. Since a tip is expected, I pay $79. Tipping wasn't required when I had my dog groomed at Petsmart.
Large chain stores charge less for grooming and often offer deals. However, paying more and going to a locally owned business may be worth it. I took my anxious dog to a locally owned business for grooming and had no issues.
Then I decided to take him to Petsmart to save money. I took him twice before he was banned because behavioral issues made him difficult to groom. Yet the previous groomer told me that my dog was well-behaved and tolerated de-matting better than most dogs.
Major chains are sometimes accused of focusing on quantity over quality and grooming as many dogs per day as possible. This can mean a more stressful experience, and that could lead an otherwise mellow dog to act up. When searching for a groomer, look for a business that takes steps to reduce anxiety because grooming can be a frightening experience for many of our furry friends.
Locally Owned Businesses
Locally owned businesses usually charge more. However, since they are small businesses, they have an extra incentive to keep their customers happy. That may mean a better experience for your dog. Of course, check reviews on websites like Yelp and ask around for recommendations to be sure you are choosing a reliable provider.
The local business I used to take my dog to has see-through windows in the grooming room so dogs can watch people and pets coming and going and not feel trapped. They also use hydraulic tables because being lifted onto tables can be upsetting for some dogs.
The business I take him to now focuses on one dog at a time. This is great for anxious dogs because each appointment is 1.5 hours. That means less time in a place he doesn't want to be. Groomers that deal with multiple dogs often take three to four hours, which may be upsetting for some dogs.
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It may take longer to get an appointment with a local business, so book well in advance if you want your dog groomed for special occasions.
When you think about the cost of getting a dog groomed, you may only consider what you have to pay the groomer for their services. But there is another major cost to consider, and that is vet bills. If you have never owned a dog before, you may think grooming and veterinary care have absolutely nothing in common. But they do.
Many groomers require that a dog's vaccinations are up-to-date before offering their services. This is a typical list of required vaccinations, although each grooming business will have their own requirements.
Possible Required Vet Tests and Vaccines
Rabies vaccine: Required every three years (first vaccination is effective for 1 year)
Bordetella (aka kennel cough): Required every six months or one year (depending on the vaccine)
Distemper (DHP/DAP/DHPP): Required every year or three years (depending on the vaccine)
Fecal testing (Ova & Parasites + Giardia): Negative result required every year
Before getting a dog with a coat that requires regular grooming, consider the cost of keeping their vaccinations up-to-date at all times. Depending on the vaccines offered to your dog, you may have three to four appointments per year.
Call vets in your area to find out what they charge for all required shots and tests. The vet I take my dog to offers an annual package that covers all required shots and tests. This year, I paid $340 for that package.
However, the standard shots I listed above may not be enough for some grooming businesses. I had been using the same groomer for a couple of years when they decided to require a dog flu (Canine Influenza) vaccine. Typical yearly costs are $85 to $150, depending on the vet.
Since my dog rarely interacts with other dogs, I didn't think he needed a flu shot, so I decided to change groomers rather than pay for it.
I have never used a mobile groomer, but it is an option to consider. Mobile groomers will travel to your home and perform grooming services from specially outfitted vans. This is a good option for anxious dogs. Many mobile groomers don't require vaccinations since there is only a single dog in the van at any time.
However, they charge significantly more. And unlike many grooming businesses that post prices on their websites, mobile groomers usually require pet owners to contact them to get a quote. Many require a name, email address, and phone number to receive a quote.
This can be frustrating if you want to shop around and compare prices. Expect to pay more for mobile grooming. Prices for one local mobile groomer in my area start at $120.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2022 LT Wright