What does an Animal Groomer do?

Tara Barnett

An animal groomer is responsible for maintaining the physical appearance of an animal in the manner specified by that animal's owner. Usually, groomers work with domestic pets like cats and dogs, but more unusual animals may also receive grooming from well-trained professionals. Often, the groomer simply changes the length or shape of the animal's fur and maintains the animal's claws or nails. Washing the animal may also be part of the service. Truly devoted groomers are sometimes able to detect symptoms of poor health long before the pet's owners given the way in which the animal groomer interacts with the pet.

An animal groomer trims a dog's nails.
An animal groomer trims a dog's nails.

Most of the time, an animal groomer works with cats and dogs. Cats that go to an animal groomer often need to have their nails clipped because pet owners can have a difficult time trimming a cat's nails without injuring the animal. Long-haired cats often need to have their fur trimmed. While most people do not bathe cats, some cats have health problems that prevent them from keeping themselves properly clean. An animal groomer may also be able to provide specialized treatments that may reduce the amount of cat dander on the cat, making it easier for the cat to live in a home with a person who is allergic to cats.

Groomed kittens.
Groomed kittens.

For dogs, an animal groomer is often expected to start by washing the animal. Maintenance of a dog's fur is often the most important part of a visit to the groomer, particularly when the breed requires special care or styling. Purebred dogs often have a traditional way in which they are groomed with which groomers must be familiar in order to follow the directions of the owner. Just like cats, dogs can also be treated to reduce dander and make allergies less severe.

These services make up the majority of an animal groomer's job, but there are also some unusual duties that might be performed by a groomer. Some groomers may work with other animals, such as rodents or birds, although this is very uncommon. Groomers who work with animals that work in movies or animals that perform might do unusual services, such as getting a dog ready for a specific part. In all cases, the welfare of the animal must be put first.

Given that many animal groomers own small businesses, part of working as a groomer often includes business skills. Finding new clients, paying bills, and keeping files can all be part of an animal groomer's job. Being excellent at grooming is a necessity, but being smart enough to keep a business running can make all the difference when working in this profession.

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