Dogs, especially those with longer fur, can require special attention to keep them looking their best. That kind of care is often beyond the ability of loving pet owners. Those owners can turn to professional dog groomers in Tennessee to keep their animals looking like champions. If you love animals, especially dogs, you may find working as a dog groomer a very rewarding career.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates there are over 70 million pet dogs in the United States. While most people have a relationship with only one or two dogs, a dog groomer may care for dozens on a regular basis. If you choose a career as a dog groomer, you can look forward to the unique satisfaction that comes from providing loving care and friendship to many of Man’s best friends.
What will Your Job Consist Of?
A dog groomer is more than just a hair cutter. Typically, dog groomers see a pet more than the veterinarian does. That means the groomer has the first opportunity to discover superficial health problems. A good groomer takes this role very seriously. Their animal client’s health is as important to them as their own pet’s.
Each visit to the dog groomer should begin with placing the animal on an examining table and checking the fur, skin, eyes, and ears. A good groomer will find any indications of problems like swelling, cuts, or ticks and fleas. The dog’s owner should be apprised of the animal’s condition immediately.
A quick exam is followed by a good brushing, cleaning of the ears, trimming the nails, a shampoo and bath, drying, brushing again, and then styling.
Matting in longhaired dogs is a common problem. In order to avoid cutting the pet’s skin, matting should be remedied by a qualified dog groomer. Dog owners with no experience should leave this to a professional.
The fur style should be appropriate to the type of dog. Many breeds, especially those with long hair, have their own typical cuts. Dog groomers must stay up-to-date on styles, knowing which ones are most popular for each of the breeds for which they care. The groomer should consult with the owner on all style decisions.
Certification and Licensing Standards
It is important to note the difference between a certification and a license. A licensed Tennessee dog groomer has met the state’s requirements for running a business. The license does not indicate any level of professional grooming ability. A certificate indicates that a level of professional skill has been achieved.
A reputable course of study in dog grooming will include anatomy and physiology of both canine and feline skin and coats, knowledge of which products are safe or unsafe for pets, proper styles for breeds, and products for various coat types.
With or without formal training, practical experience is a valuable asset. Established Tennessee pet groomers can allow inexperienced newcomers to assist picking up the kind of education that comes only from hands-on work. The National Dog Groomers Association of America lists 28 certified dog groomers and master dog groomers in the State of Tennessee. Many groomers get their early experience caring for their own pets or those of friends and neighbors. Dog Grooming education can be found online, including at number of programs located in Tennessee.
The International Professional Groomers was created to educate, certify and accredit professional pet groomers.
The National Association of Professional Creative Groomers offers courses in certification.
Pet Stylists of Tennessee is non-profit professional organization located in Knoxville for pet stylists, groomers, and owners.
A formal education is not required to become a dog groomer in Tennessee, but it is available. Completing a reputable course in pet grooming will allow you to refer to yourself as a certified dog groomer, or as a certified master dog groomer in the state.
Salary and Potential Pay
The website, 1.salary.com features information about salaries for dog groomers in 12 cities in the Tennessee area. The median income for dog groomers in the Chattanooga area is almost $29,000, with a low of $18,000 and a high of $42,000. You should expect to start at the low end of the range, but hard work and attention to detail are all it takes to advance.