Animal Groomer

Animal Groomers generally work with pets; but may also work with farm animals or wildlife.

Groomers generally find more work grooming dogs than any other type of animal. Pet groomers will  wash, clip and groom mainly dogs but some may also work with cats, rabbits and other pets. It is important to know the characteristics of different breeds and types of pets, as well as being able  to recognise and advise on animal skin disorders and parasite control.

Why Groom?


Animals are groomed to maintain their health and well-being. Without grooming, fur can become matted, contaminated (eg. with grass seeds and other matter);  an for some breeds the fur can become too long for the place where they live. Consider a long haired dog that originates in a cold climate; which now lives with it's owner in a hot climate.
Un-groomed animals can grow long nails or claws (undesirable for a cat or dog that lives inside a house).
Un-groomed animals can be more susceptible to skin problems.
Grooming is also carried out for aesthetic reasons. Owners have pets groomed so they will look the way they want them to look. 
Animals that are entered into competitions (eg. Dog shows, agricultural shows, horse shows), are groomed according to what is required for the competition.
On the farm, animals may not be groomed as much as a house pet; but horses are still brushed and shod, horns are removed from cattle, and beaks may be trimmed on poultry.
In the wild, rhinoceros horns are removed to dissuade poachers, and in a zoo, animals may be washed or groomed in other ways from time to time.



Groomers may offer services at a fixed location (eg. a salon); or a mobile service.
Some will work from other outlets such as veterinary surgeries, pet shops or kennels. 

Risks and Challenges


To be a good dog groomer you need to have the ability to handle dogs of different temperaments and have the patience to handle uncooperative animals. Good hand to eye coordination is important in order to be able to groom the animal and also to ensure that at no point the animal is in danger of receiving a nick or cut from a slipped pair of scissors. Good customer service and business skills are highly desirable.

How to become a groomer

To become a groomer, you need knowledge of grooming and animal psychology; as well as the opportunity to learn the practicalities of grooming.
Most groomers are also self employed, small business operators. In large cities, you may find the occasional grooming job where you can work for someone else; but if you are wanting to make good money, and be assured of a sustainable career as a groomer, you probably need to be prepared to not only be a groomer, but also a small business owner.
Before you even start; you should be someone who loves animals, and is comfortable with animals. You should also be the type of person who loves talking to other people about their animals. If this describes you; this may be a viable career for you.
Next, you need to develop knowledge; about grooming, and about handling animals. A course such as our  "Animal Grooming" course can be ideal. If you have the time and money, further studies in small business, animal psychology and animal health will greatly strengthen your opportunities to work in this industry.
With some knowledge and studies under your belt; the next step may be to get some hands on experience. Some people are lucky enough to find a paid job at this point. Others will need to undertake some volunteer work (eg. at an animal shelter or animal rescue facility). Practical experience with any type of animal will be valuable; even if you eventually end up working with different animals.
Another way of getting experience is to get involved with clubs and societies (eg. agricultural shows, dog clubs, pony clubs, etc).

As a person follows a path, building up knowledge and experience they will increase their employability, perhaps getting work in a pet shop or veterinary clinic; and eventually being able to slowly build up a client list of animals you service part time, and eventually full time.

A business and career that evolves step by step, like this will often be the most solid and sustainable career of all.



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