Ultimate Guide: How To Become A Dog Groomer?

ultimate guide: how to become a dog groomer

Quick Guide:

If you're passionate about dogs and enjoy working with them, becoming a dog groomer can be a fulfilling career choice. Here are the essential steps to follow:

1. Learn the job: Research and understand the responsibilities of a dog groomer, including bathing, trimming, and styling dogs' fur and nails.

2. Take a training course: Enroll in a reputable dog grooming school or take a training program to gain hands-on experience and learn essential grooming techniques.

3. Must-have personal skills: As a dog groomer, you'll need to have excellent communication skills, be patient, and have a genuine love for animals.

4. Daily required professional grooming tools: Invest in high-quality grooming tools, including grooming tables, tubs, brushes, clippers, and scissors, to ensure your work is efficient and professional.

By following these steps, you'll be on your way to becoming a successful dog groomer, providing a valuable service to pet owners and their furry friends. Are you interested in learning more about pursuing a career as a dog groomer? If so, keep reading the whole article.



➡️ Introduction

➡️ How to become a dog groomer?

➡️ What does a dog groomer do?

➡️ What are the job outlook and opportunities for dog groomers?

➡️ How much does a dog groomer make?

➡️ What are the benefits of being a dog groomer?

➡️ What is the hardest part of dog grooming

➡️ Where do dog groomers work?

➡️ Conclusion

➡️ Frequently asked questions



Ⅰ. Introduction

The U.S. pet grooming services market is projected to reach revenues of over USD 6 billion by 2026, with around 42% of the pet care service market share comprising pet grooming services.[1]

As the pet industry continues to grow, so does the demand for skilled professionals to help keep our furry friends healthy and happy. If you love dogs and want to make a living doing something that makes you happy and feel good about yourself, then dog grooming may be the perfect career for you. However, breaking into the industry can be challenging without the right guidance and resources.

In this ultimate guide, I will walk you through all things you need to know about a dog groomer, including steps to become a successful dog groomer, the dog groomers' basic work, job outlook and growth, benefits, and the hardest part, as well as dog groomers' workplaces.


Ⅱ. How to Become a Dog Groomer?

learn the job of dog grooming

Step 1. Learn the job 

If you're interested in becoming a dog groomer, it's crucial to understand the responsibilities of the profession and become acquainted with them. There are several ways to learn the trade, such as:

  • Apprenticeship: Some dog groomers start by apprenticing to a more experienced pet groomer. This can be a great way to gain on-the-job training and real-world know-how.
  • Groom your own dog: Many aspiring grooming professionals get their first taste of the job by bathing and grooming their own dogs. They might be surprised to discover that even an experienced groomer has never done this before, but as with any new skill, it takes getting your hands dirty (literally) in order to understand what you're doing.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter: If you're looking for experience working with a range of dogs, an animal shelter is an ideal place to volunteer. You may have the opportunity to bathe and groom dogs, which of course will be a good start for your grooming tour.

    Step 2. Take a training course


    take a dog grooming training course

    There is no license necessary to groom dogs. But you can become a skilled dog groomer by being trained in the art of grooming dogs.

    1) Hands-on School (2-5 months) [2]

    Many schools across the country offer hands-on dog groomer programs that teach the theory behind proper grooming and handling while providing practical experience in grooming a wide variety of breeds. This comprehensive combination of classroom learning and hands-on training is unmatched by any other option. However, it is important to research the programs in your area and choose a school that aligns with your values and vision for your career. Keep in mind that formal training can be expensive and time-consuming, but it increases the likelihood of landing high-paying jobs in the field. With a certification from a reputable grooming school, you will be better prepared to meet the demands of clients and stand out in a competitive job market.

    2) Online Course (6-12 months)

    If you don't have time to attend a hands-on training school, you can choose an online school instead. These courses allow you to learn at your own pace from anywhere. Plus, many online schools offer training certificates to graduates. Sounds great, doesn't it? But before you get too excited, it's important to note that while online courses have flexible schedules and rich teaching content, they cannot provide practical training or real-time interaction and discussion with teachers. If you choose online education, it's best to supplement your learning with apprenticeships or volunteer work at shelters or rescue organizations to gain practical experience.

    3) Self-Education (Timeline varies)

    If you find yourself lacking the time or resources to attend a formal training program, you can still choose to educate yourself. Online resources such as free courses, seminars, video tutorials, and books can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a successful groomer. However, it may take longer to gain the practical experience needed to serve your own clients. It's also important to keep in mind that grooming trends are constantly evolving, and even certified groomers should continue to seek education throughout their careers to stay up-to-date and provide the best service.


    Step 3. Must-Have Personal Skills

    must-have personal skills as a dog groomer
    The job of a professional dog groomer requires a number of different talents and skills—including, but not limited to:
    • Animal welfare: Dog groomers must exercise utmost caution in handling and grooming dogs, regardless of their physical or emotional state. Adequate training in animal welfare can equip groomers to tackle almost any situation with confidence.
    • Basic hygiene: Proficiency in basic canine hygiene and pet care is essential for any aspiring dog groomer. Thoroughly cleaning the dog from head to tail is typically the first step in proper grooming. Groomers must also be proficient in identifying skin conditions, coat problems, and signs that may indicate the need for veterinary intervention.
    • Pet safety: Many training programs cover pet CPR and first aid as valuable skills dog groomers should acquire. Ensuring the well-being of animals is paramount, and groomers must be adequately prepared to handle any emergency that may arise.
    • Calm attitude: Dogs may behave differently during the grooming process, so it is critical to remain calm and patient so that you can handle these changes effectively. Especially, when it comes to handling difficult or violent dogs for successful grooming, this will be an essential technique to gain dog owners' trust and stand out among your competitors.
    • Passionate toward work: Dog groomers are passionate about their work and love being with dogs. This helps them in building a successful long-term career in this profession.

      Step 4. Daily Required Tools

      Professional dog grooming tools for dog groomers

       Here is a list of some basic tools needed to work as a dog groomer:

      • A grooming table
      • A bathing tub for the dogs
      • Grooming brushes and combs
      • Scissors and hair clippers
      • Nail clippers
      • Dryers
      • Shampoos and conditioners for the pets
      • Harnesses
      • Storage shelves
      • Ribbons and bows

      Above is a step-by-step guide on how to become a dog groomer, I hope this helps clarify the process of the job. But there are some important things you should know first before taking the next steps.


        Ⅲ. What Does a Dog Groomer Do?

        What does a dog groomer do

         A dog groomer is someone who specializes in providing grooming services for dogs. The main responsibility is to maintain the appearance and hygiene of dogs by performing the following tasks:

        1. Listen to clients' requests for how they expect their dogs to be groomed. Trust me, nothing is more important than discussing the pet owner's needs thoroughly before grooming.
        2. Bathe dogs with the right shampoos and conditioners and dry the hair.
        3. Brush and comb dogs' fur to remove loose hair, matts, and tangles.
        4. Knowing dog breeds-specific hair styles, clip and trim carefully for a desired look.
        5. Clip dog nails and clean their ears.
        6. Detect and report any skin problems to the owner.

        Ⅳ. What are the Job Outlook and Opportunities for Dog Groomers?

        As more people consider pets as members of their families, the demand for pet grooming services is expected to increase. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of animal care and service workers, including dog groomers, is projected to grow 29 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations [3], due to the increasing number of pet owners and the growing demand for pet-related services.

        Ⅴ. How Much Does a Dog Groomer Make?

        According to the sources provided by Glassdoor in 2023, the estimated total pay for a dog groomer is $47,262 per year in the United States area, with an average salary of $34,823 and additional pay of $12,439 per year [4]. Based on the income percentile calculator from Glassdoor, an individual earning $38,000 to $60,000 annually in the United States is within the 25th to 75th percentile range.

        Dog groomer average yearly salary in 2023

        Average Annual Salary by State

        Annual Salary
        Monthly Pay
        Weekly Pay
        Hourly Wage
        New York
        South Carolina
        New Hampshire
        New Jersey
        Rhode Island
        North Dakota
        West Virginia
        South Dakota
        North Carolina
        New Mexico

         *The data source is from ZipRecruiter [5]


        However, salaries can vary depending on the expertise in the field and the business pattern (such as a self-owned grooming salon or mobile/in-home grooming) that is used to provide services, and sometimes, the geographical location may also be a factor.

        You now have a good understanding of the daily work and income of a dog groomer. If this sounds appealing to you, I have some fantastic news - there are even more benefits to being a dog groomer that you may not have considered yet!

        Ⅵ.What are the Benefits of Being a Dog Groomer?

        what are the benefits of being a dog groomer

         First and foremost, you have the flexibility to work when you want. You can choose your own hours, which means that you can spend more time with your family or go on vacation whenever it suits your needs--and still make money!

        Secondly, you also get the opportunity to learn about different dog breeds, which can be exciting and educational.

        Furthermore, there is great job satisfaction in creating beautiful grooms that meet the requirements of the owner and makes them happy (and their dogs).

        It's also fun working with animals every day and don't need to work at a desk all day.

        As someone who's passionate about dogs, you may be feeling pretty excited about the prospect of pursuing this career path. But hold up, don't make any hasty decisions just yet! It's important to remember that being a dog groomer isn't all sunshine and rainbows. There are definitely some tough parts of the job that you'll need to be aware of. So let me take you on a quick tour of some challenges you may face as a dog groomer. Trust me, you'll want to know this before you dive in!

        Ⅶ. What's the Hardest Part of Dog Grooming?

        what are the hardest part of dog grooming
        • Physical demands. Dog grooming is a physically demanding job, you'll frequently bend down and stand on your feet all day while grooming dogs, which can be exhausting, especially when dealing with defensive or uncooperative dogs. And Cleaning up pee, poop, vomit, and anal glands is just one more chore on your list.
        • Safety considerations. If you're not careful, grooming can be dangerous. You could get bitten or scratched by an unruly animal—so it's important that you know how to handle aggressive dogs without hurting yourself in the process!
        • Customer service skills: Grooming involves more than just brushing or bathing a pet; it also includes interacting with the owner so that they feel comfortable leaving their pets in your care.  

        Now that you have learned about some of the difficulties that come with being a professional pet groomer, are you still interested in pursuing this career? If your answer is yes—and I hope it will be!—then let's take a look at dog groomers' workplaces.

        Ⅷ. Where do dog groomers work?

        where do dog groomers work

        Dog groomers can work in a variety of settings, including:

        Pet salons: Many dog groomers work in pet salons, where they offer grooming services such as haircuts, baths, and nail trims. These salons may be located within pet stores or operate as standalone businesses.

        Mobile grooming services: Some dog groomers offer mobile grooming services, where they travel to the client’s location to provide grooming services in a specially-equipped van or trailer.

        Veterinary clinics: Some veterinary clinics offer grooming services as part of their practice, either as an additional service or as a standalone business.

        Self-employed: Some dog groomers may choose to work for themselves offering services out of their own homes or traveling to clients’ homes.

        No matter where a dog groomer works, the main focus is always on providing high-quality grooming services to furry clients. With the right skills and training, dog grooming can be a fulfilling and rewarding career choice.

        Ⅸ. Conclusion

        Congratulations on completing this guide! You now know everything you need to become a dog groomer.

        The beauty of this field is that you have the option to either start your own business or work for an established grooming salon. The possibilities are endless as long as you align your career path with your interests and skills. With the growing demand for pet grooming services, there will always be opportunities available to those who are passionate about working with animals. I hope that this guide has equipped you with the necessary knowledge and tools to achieve success in this rewarding field.


        1. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-pet-grooming-services-market-size-to-reach-revenues-of-over-usd-6-billion-by-2026--arizton-301280265.html
        2. https://www.theacademyofpetcareers.com/dog-grooming-school/how-to-become-a-dog-groomer/
        3. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/animal-care-and-service-workers.htm
        4. https://www.indeed.com/career/pet-groomer/salaries
        5. https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/What-Is-the-Average-DOG-Groomer-Salary-by-State

        Ⅹ. Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Groomers:

        1. How long does it take to become a good dog groomer?

        The time it takes to become a good dog groomer depends on the education path you choose. If you complete an apprenticeship program, it takes 6 to 10 weeks. In case you register in one of the 50 state-approved grooming schools, completing the program usually takes 2-18 weeks. However, enrolling in a formal training program can provide advantages career-wise. A program with 400 to 650 hours is a good bet, and not only is the program accredited, but you can learn hands-on grooming sessions in class.

        2. Do you need a license to groom a dog?

        In general, there are no licensing requirements to be a professional dog groomer in the United States. However, in certain states, a freelance groomer with their own business will need their facility to hold a Pet Grooming Facility License or a regional certification. Additionally, some municipalities may require pet grooming licenses.

        3. How old do I have to be to take a dog grooming course?

        Usually, you have to be 18 years or older to take the course to become a dog groomer.

        4. What can you do with a dog grooming certificate?

        A dog grooming certificate can open up several career paths for individuals who desire to work with animals. With this certificate, one can work in retail dog grooming, mobile dog grooming, or even start their own dog grooming business. Some retailers offer extra services besides basic grooming, such as de-matting, bathing, oral care, and moisturizing treatments.

        Some states may require a license to operate a grooming facility, but if you're working for someone else, you don't need to obtain any kind of license. A dog grooming certificate can also be a good start for someone to become a certified dog groomer, which is a professional credential that recognizes the knowledge and skill of dog groomers.

        5. How much does it cost to become a certified dog groomer?

        The cost to become a certified dog groomer varies depending on the program and school. Dog grooming courses with hands-on training might range from $3000 USD to $6000 USD, depending on the payment arrangement and available discounts. On the other hand, an online dog grooming certificate program costs about $400 to $800. It is important to note that there may be additional costs for materials, externships, and other expenses.