What Does a Dog Groomer Do?

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What Does a Dog Groomer Do?

One of the most popular careers among dog lovers is a dog groomer largely because it involves much interaction with dogs and comes with flexible working hours.

Dog groomers provide bathing and grooming services to various dog breeds.

Dog Groomer Duties & Responsibilities

The duties of dog groomers include:

  • Bathing and clipping dogs to conform to a variety of breed-specific standard styles.
  • Cleaning the ears.
  • Checking for parasites and other skin conditions.
  • Brushing teeth.
  • Adding bows and nail polish for long or curly-haired breeds such as poodles and shi tzus.
  • Detangling and removing matted hair.
  • Drying the coat.
  • Expressing anal sacs.
  • Trimming nails.

The groomer should also accommodate special requests from the owners and inform them of any health issues found during the grooming process.

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Before grooming salons accept a dog for an appointment, they usually require pet owners to provide proof of vaccinations.

So, anyone who works hands-on with animals should take proper safety precautions to reduce the risk of scratches and bites.

dog groomer

Dog Groomer Salary

Typically, the salary of dog groomers includes some combination, mostly 50% of the total price for the grooming plus tips.

The amount they charge for the grooming depends on the breed, the time it takes to complete, and the type of cut.

Salary can vary based on the number of dogs they can groom per day.

The US BLS categorizes these professionals as animal care and service workers.

According to it, the salary of non-farm workers is as follows:

  • Median Annual Salary: $23,760 ($11.42/hour).
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $18,160 ($8.73/hour).
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $37,250 ($17.91/hour).

According to PayScale, the salary for dog groomers is:

  • Median Annual Salary: $30,079 ($14.46/hour).
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $17,000 ($8.17/hour).
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $50,000 ($24.04/hour).

Education, Training, & Certification

New groomers can have a significant advantage if they have experience with a variety of breeds.

Those who work in dog shows can also stay ahead of the competition since they are familiar with various styles and cuts.

There are official standards set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) for breeds and their cuts.

Many groomers attend a professional grooming school or certification program.

Others begin as grooming assistants or apprentices.

However, licensing or certification isn’t required to become a professional dog groomer.

  • Training:
    Many grooming schools offer programs through which you can get training and certification.
    Some well-known schools are the American Academy of Pet Grooming, the New York School of Dog Grooming, and the Nash Academy.
    There are various grooming school options in most states.
    Courses usually cost a few thousand dollars and require from 150 to more than 600 hours of practical experience.
    It can take from a few weeks to several months to complete the courses.
    Groomers can also find a variety of online courses and manuals.
  • Certification:
    Upon completion of the National Dog Groomer’s Association of America (NDGAA) exam, one can be recognized as a National Certified Master Groomer.
    The exam involves extensive practical and written skills essays and questions.
    The process of certification can take a few days.

dog grooming

Dog Groomer Skills & Competencies

Groomers need to have the following skills:

  • Grooming skills – Groomers should be able to groom different breeds of dogs as per their hair type.
  • Interpersonal skills – Dog groomers should work well with others, including pet owners, grooming assistants, pet store personnel.
  • Analytical skills – Groomers should be able to evaluate the condition and behavior of each dog.
  • Physical and mental stamina – Groomers should be able to groom overly excited, large, or frightened dogs without injuring animals or getting hurt.
  • Familiarity with animal behavior – Groomers should be able to determine the behavior of an animal and use techniques to keep them calm and safe, such as a treat.
  • Health knowledge – Dog groomers should be able to recognize common illnesses, such as watery eyes and nose, skin disorders, which can appear because of allergies or a sprain.

Job Outlook

The US BLS reports that the employment rate for animal care and service workers should increase by 22% through 2026, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations.

The industry has seen strong growth recently.

People keep spending more on pet care, and dog groomers should benefit from this in the future.

Work Environment

Dog groomers can be employed in various environments, such as a group salon, or you can be a solo practitioner.

Grooming services are also offered by large pet stores, many grooming salons work together with vet clinics or doggie daycare to provide more convenience for pet owners.

Dog groomers even have opportunities to travel.

Some groomers provide mobile grooming services on a customized van and travel to the homes of their clients.

Others travel to dog shows and provide services for competitors at trade shows or major events throughout the country.

Work Schedule

One of the benefits of dog grooming is a flexible schedule, which may include holidays or weekends.

dog grooming job

How to Get the Job


Look for job postings on such sources as SimplyHired, Indeed, or iHireVeterinary.

They may include positions at pet stores, vet clinics, or animal hospitals.

Find A Volunteer Opportunity

Get in touch with animal care facilities, such as animal shelters, vet clinics, and breeders to find out if they need a volunteer groomer.

You can find volunteer work in your area through the Free For All resource.

Find An Apprenticeship

You can work as an assistant to an experienced dog groomer to gain experience and get guidance.

Comparing Similar Jobs

Those who are interested in the career of a dog groomer can also consider similar careers:

  • Veterinarian Assistant and Laboratory Animal Caretaker – median salary – $27,540.
  • Dog Walker – median salary – $29,782.
  • Veterinary Technologist and Technician – median salary – $34,420.
  • Dog Trainer – median salary – $35,830.
  • Animal Breeder – median salary – $37,060.
  • Dog Handler – median salary – $50,322.

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