Why Do Grooming Appointments Take So Long?

by amy elizabeth, N.D.G.A.A. Certified All Breed Pet Stylist of 35 years.

It takes approximately one and a half hours to groom a dog and you have a 9AM appointment at the pet salon, but noon is your pick up time. Why?

Groomers do not groom one dog at a time. Dogs are bathed before they are groomed, even if they’ll be clipped short. While one dog is drying in a cage under a soft dryer, another is being washed. It doesn’t make much sense to stand around waiting for a dog to dry when you can stay busy working on another. Blow dryers are great, but dogs are not particularly fond of the noise and will only take so much before they object.

By the time two or three dogs are washed the first dog bathed is dry and ready to be groomed. It might seem silly washing a thick coated dog that is going to be clipped short, but a clipper blade forced through a dirty coat not only takes twice as long, but the hair cut will look choppy and unprofessional.

Another roadblock in the time factor is the unexpected pet with parasites.  It’s absolutely imperative to treat for fleas and ticks immediately, another reason why dogs are bathed before they are groomed. Pet owners are often unaware their little Fluffy has parasites and of course horrified. If ticks are the problem, after treatment is applied, I won’t send a dog home until all the ticks are handpicked one by one from the dog. This may not be your dog with the problem, but it does indeed compromise my schedule. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock!

Seems like a rather smooth process but interruptions are inevitable, the phone is ringing, dogs are checking in and out, and there’s no doubt going to be more than a few messes to clean up. Some dogs have never been groomed before and need extra time to overcome their fear of the unknown. Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock!

Cats are a whole different story.  There are no arguments resolved when it comes to grooming a cat, they are either willing or not. Yes, they do get shaved at their owner’s request, some are completely accepting even of a bath. However, timing is everything!  Forget about blow drying, they have one heck of an opinion about that for sure, but they do tolerate a cage dryer on low without a fuss. This is a lengthy process; cats are not in any big hurry to dry, and will curl up in a ball just to make sure.  Even the cat that’s quite used to grooming will not at all be willing if there is an array of k-9 commotion in the room. Cats do better when it’s peaceful and that means they will wait for that crucial accommodation.  Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock!

When working with animals, time is hindered by the unexpected, I hope you now better understand how the grooming process is constructed, and why.

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