How to become an Dog Groomer. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Dog Groomer do?
As a dog groomer, you would keep dogs’ coats in good condition and advise owners on their dogs’ coat care, grooming and diet.
Before starting grooming, you would check for any sore areas or lumps on the dog’s skin, and for fleas or parasites. You would then:
- shape the dog’s coat with electric clippers or a stripping knife
- shampoo and dry the dog’s coat
- give a final trim with scissors.
You would sometimes also clip the dog’s claws and clean its teeth and ears.
You would often follow standards for how different breeds should look – for example, poodles are usually clipped to a particular shape. This is particularly important when dogs are being prepared for showing.
In a dog grooming salon, you would usually work around 35 hours a week, Monday to Saturday (with one day off during the week). If you are self-employed, you would arrange your own working hours.
You could work in a shop, in your own home or in dog owners’ homes.
How much does a Dog Groomer earn?
Dog groomers can earn from around £15,000 to £19,500 or more a year.
Self-employed dog groomers can charge between £25 and £70, depending on the breed of dog.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You have a choice of three ways to train as a dog groomer:
- finding work with a qualified, experienced groomer and training on the job
- doing an apprenticeship
- attending a course at a private training centre or college.
All of these involve gaining practical experience under supervision.
You would not usually need any particular qualifications to begin training, but would normally need experience with dogs. You could begin with a basic course in animal care, such as BTEC National Certificate/Diploma and gain some voluntary experience, for example in kennels. You can find out about voluntary opportunities in your area from do-it.org.uk.
On a dog grooming course, you would usually start with three months in the training centre, followed by a few months’ work experience. You would then go back to the training centre to prepare for exams. See the Pet Care Trust website for details of accredited training centres.
- Pet Care Trust
You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.
Training and Development
When you are employed by a salon, you will learn practical skills on the job from a qualified and experienced groomer. You might be able to work towards Award/Certificate/Diploma in Work-based Animal Care (Dog Grooming) at levels 2 and 3.
You may also be able to complete qualifications such as:
- NPTC Level 2 Certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants
- NPTC Level Certificate in Introductory Dog Grooming
- NPTC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Dog Grooming.
Visit the Pet Care Trust website for details of the qualifications, assessment centres and examination dates, and the British Dog Groomers’ Association.
- Pet Care Trust
Skills and Knowledge
- the ability to handle dogs firmly but gently
- the ability to calm and control nervous dogs
- patience and attention to detail
- good communication and customer care skills
- business skills (if self-employed).
You could find work in grooming salons or in grooming facilities attached to some pet shops, garden centres and kennels.
With experience and qualifications, you could open your own salon or become a mobile groomer, visiting owners’ homes. You could also move into training.