A Day in the Life of a Dog Groomer
The day of a groomer can seem like a dream to many. You get to be around animals all day, you’re always moving and interacting with unique clients and pets, and every day brings something new. However, there’s more to the job than bubbles and kisses from dogs! Groomers work extremely busy and hard days to ensure that our pets return happy, healthy, and beautiful to their owners. So what do those days really look like behind the fluff? We interviewed WAHL Ambassador, Brittney Valle of See Spot Grooming on what her average day looks like and the lessons she’s learned as a dog groomer.
“My average day as a dog groomer usually starts before 7 am. I take care of my dogs at home and prepare myself for work. I arrive to work around 730am and look over my schedule for the day. I plan out the day based on which dogs are on my schedule, what times they arrive, and estimate how much time each of them will take me. Mornings in the salon are busy with check-ins. Each dog gets checked-in and goes straight to the bathtub. The baths take approximately 10 minutes each and include shampoo, conditioner (if needed), ear cleaning, and anal gland expression.”
Following the bath, Brittney is able to begin her grooming work.
“After that, each dog is taken to a drying station and a high velocity dryer is used to dry the coat from the skin outward. Once the dogs are about 90% dry with a high velocity dryer, a stand dryer is used in combination with a brush to stretch dry them. Stretch drying allows me to get the coat completely straight, as well as remove any extra undercoat or matting that may be in the coat. It is extremely important that we get every hair straight so that the haircut is even. The dogs are then moved to the grooming table and the nails are trimmed and the haircut is completed. Once the dogs have left, the grooming areas have to be completely disinfected and sanitized so that it is ready to go for the next day.”
Though the grooming process itself takes plenty of attention and care, Brittney shared that groomers have other serious responsibilities to consider as they work on the dogs.
“I find a lot of clients don't understand the depth of knowledge that we have to have in order to complete the grooming safely. Safety is paramount in what we do and many of us spend extra hours upon hours to recommit ourselves to our career. We also see the dogs on average 4 times more per year than their veterinarian. We watch out for new growths, lumps, and changed behavior--anything that might be abnormal for your dog, we recognize this and can refer you to seek care from your veterinarian.”
After the morning rush of bathing and grooming, Brittney explained that “afternoons are filled with check outs, happy dogs and happy owners!” She shared some of her favorite moments of her average day as a groomer.
“The best parts of my day are how happy the owners are when they pick their dogs up. The most difficult are when we see dogs that are severely neglected. Unfortunately we see some of the worst situations imaginable but being able to free these dogs from their matted coats is very rewarding to see--they usually act like a whole new dog when the process is completed!”
Brittney grooms and operates as an expert in the salon, but she admits it took a while to reach this state. Through years of experience, client interactions, and a lot of fur, Brittney has been able to improve and evolve as a groomer. It wasn’t easy, but it was extremely rewarding, and Brittney wanted to share this same advice for any up and coming groomers.
“This is a career in which you continue to learn and be challenged every single day. No two days ever look the same. You have to be able to make quick decisions and think on your feet for the betterment of the dogs. It’s not just playing with puppies all day! Make sure you can withstand the physicality of this job-- we often stand for hours upon hours, bend ourselves into awkward positions to get the right angle to scissor the dogs and open ourselves up to very dangerous, career-ending bites on almost a daily basis. Make a pledge to rededicate yourself to learning and knowledge every year. This is not something you will ever ‘finish.' It is very much a journey.”