Hours:Boarding: M-F 9-11am & 3:30-5:30pm; Saturday 9-11am | Daycare: M-F 6:30am-6pm; Sat-Sun 7am-6pm | Grooming: Tue -Sat 9am-6pm

How to Choose a Safe Dog Groomer – Important Tips for PNW Pet Owners

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There's more to dog grooming than a simple bath and a haircut. You have to make sure that your dog is going to be handled with professionalism and care. How can you tell if a dog grooming facility is really a safe choice for your pet though? Read on for some important tips on how to choose a safe dog groomer in the Tacoma area.

With recent dog grooming horror stories circulating in recent years especially in reference to some of the corporate leaders in the dog grooming business, concerned pet owners across the nation are asking “How do I know my dog will be safe at the groomer?”

It’s an extremely important question. You cannot afford to select a dog groomer haphazardly. The safety, health, and happiness of your precious pup is at stake.

The tough part is, it’s not always easy to discern what actually goes on behind closed doors at the pet groomer’s office. That’s why we’re here at Pet Ponderosa Resort & Spa with a few important tips for how to tell if a pet groomer is qualified and deserving of safely handling your beloved pet.

How to Find a Safe Dog Groomer

These tips will help you find a safe dog groomer that will not only have your dog or cat looking fabulous, but most importantly keep them feeling happy and properly cared for. 

Get to Know the Grooming Facility

Taking a tour of the pet groomer’s facility is not a bad idea. Ask the groomer if they can show you around before you make a decision, and bring Spot along! This will give you an opportunity to check for cleanliness, organization, the disposition of the staff, and most importantly – see how your dog reacts to the environment. If you notice any funky smells or fleas, it’s not a good sign.

The American Kennel Club advises “You’ll want to see a well-ventilated salon, clean workstations, sturdy tables and tubs, as well as pet-friendly products. Ask yourself, is this a place I’m comfortable leaving my dog?”

Observe how the staff interacts with your pup. Are they attentive and excited to meet your pet? If they seem to care more about getting your money in their pocket than caring for your pet’s individual needs, it’s a red flag. 

Never entrust your pup or kitty to someone who is not a true animal lover. 

Find a facility full of staff that view their work as more than just a job and are actually passionate about what they do.

Pet Transportation

Ask Lots of Questions

Of course, a full-on interrogation is not necessary. Still, asking about the grooming process and the background of the facility (i.e. What are their certifications? What kind of training do they have?) is always encouraged.

Check where the pets are kept before/after the grooming, what kinds of products are used, and how much it will cost (pro tip: don’t forget to check on any promos they might be running). The facility may offer a variety of grooming packages, so be sure to clarify what exactly is involved in each one.

If your dog has any special needs, such as allergies to certain products, ask how the facility would address those needs. Some dog breeds have unique needs, so it’s good to ask if the groomer has any prior experience working with your dog’s breed.

“Common health issues that could affect how your dog is groomed include hip dysplasia, disc disease, seizures or ACL infirmity, as well as skin problems, allergies, asthma and others,” says Animal Wellness Magazine.

An experienced dog groomer will make sure he is aware of any such medical conditions before grooming your dog. If your dog is on the nervous or aggressive side, ask if the groomer has any strategies for handling this behavior and creating a calm environment.

It’s always a good idea to ask about the staff’s medical training and what their plan of action is in the event of a medical emergency or natural disaster. Check if any vaccinations are required for your pet to be groomed at the facility.

Do Your Homework on Your Dog Groomer


Not every Google review is worth reading, but it’s a good idea to look at online reviews and ask friends or acquaintances about their experience with the facility in question. 

If the feedback is overall positive, the dog grooming facility may be worth your business.  

Go With Your Gut to Choose a Safe Dog Groomer

If you have followed all the above tips, you’ll likely have all of the information you need to make an informed decision. Still, if a grooming facility seems ok but there’s something about it that for some reason makes you feel uneasy, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Use your intuition and don’t commit if there’s something ‘off’, even if you can’t put your finger on it. If you feel uneasy, your pup will be able to sense it, and it may add to the stress of the experience.

If a facility checks out as top-notch and you can feel good about leaving your pup in the groomer’s hands, don’t be afraid to entrust your four-legged friend to his care. Your pet may even enjoy getting a fun bath and nice new haircut!

Safe Tacoma Area Dog Groomer

Here at Pet Ponderosa Resort & Spa, our facility is owned and staffed by life-long animal lovers. We are proud members of the International Boarding & Pet Services Association. Opening the facility was an absolute ‘dream come true’ for owners Regis and Nancy, who are registered nurses by trade. We give each of our furry guests PNW guests second-to-none treatment.

Regis And Nancy Jackson Owners Of Pet Ponderosa

If you’re wondering whether Pet Ponderosa Resort and Spa is the right Tacoma area pet groomer for your dog, read more about us on our Why Choose Pet Ponderosa page. We are convinced you and your precious pet will enjoy your visit to our luxurious pet spa. Make safe pet grooming reservations today!

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