Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a dog groomer?

If you think making pets look their best is your idea of the perfect job, read on.

What, exactly, does a pet groomer do?

A typical day can include everything from bathing (de-skunking anyone?), drying, untangling matted hair, haircuts and trims and, in some cases, even coloring. A groomer will need to know how to work with long, short and curly fur, not to mention dogs with single and double coats.

And of course, an artistic flair doesn’t hurt: consider breed-specific styles such as the Continental cut for standard poodles, which includes shaved limbs highlighted with pompoms near the paws and at the tip of the tail.

Some groomers may offer additional services including nail trimming, ear cleaning and plucking, as well as anal gland expression. And being fluent in the body language of dogs and cats comes in handy, too, especially for clientele who are not inclined to sit still through the process.

Does it require special training?

Groomers don’t need special licenses or certifications. Some get their start at a grooming school, while others hone their skills on the job. Certification programs are offered through the International Professional Groomers and the National Dog Groomers Association of America, to name a couple. They’ll typically teach you how to wield the tools of the trade, from shears and clippers to stripping knives, carding blades and a wide range of brushes and combs.

Where do groomers work?

More and more Americans count pets as part of the family, so grooming services are popping up in locations such as veterinary clinics, boarding facilities, grooming salons, mobile grooming vans, pet supply stores and doggy day cares.

Compared to grooming salons, which can be busy and noisy, mobile vans offer a quieter and calmer environment. One drawback to mobile services though, is that you might not have a second pair of hands to help when you need it.

Other considerations

Pet grooming can be physically demanding, lifting large dogs up onto a table and spending hours at time on your feet. Pets aren’t always cooperative. And you still can’t escape working with people because the dogs come with an owner at the end of the leash (who may have set ideas about how the clip should look and how their pet should be handled).

On the other hand, your day as a dog groomer is sure to be filled with variety, considering that dogs come in all shapes, sizes and breeds. You’ll have the satisfaction of transforming an unkept pet into a work of art. And you can build a loyal following as your skills improve.

Best of all, did we mention that you get to work with dogs all day?

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