Why your dogs haircut costs more than yours!
This sign is one that hangs in some pet grooming shops and is meant to be a funny response to the myriad times pet groomers get asked the question, “Why does it cost more to get my dogs hair cut than mine?” Pet stylists here this question often. I just heard it a few days ago. People tend not to question their mechanic or handy man, or child care worker about the price of their service however groomers are questioned frequently.
All joking aside, there are some very logical reasons your pets’ haircut costs more than yours. I thought I would shed some light on the subject and hopefully help you understand just what your pets grooming entails and its value.
The first and most obvious reason is that your hair dresser only cuts the hair on your head, your pet stylist cuts fur on the entire dog. A grooming can take anywhere from one hour up to four hours for larger breeds. Pet grooming is a time based service. If it took your hairdresser the same time to cut and style your hair, it would cost much more. If your pet stylist only cut the hair on the top of your dog’s head (no face or body fur) It would only take a few minutes and would cost much less than your own hair cut. Keep in mind that pet stylists also bathe the entire dog. Your stylist does not give you a full body bath.
Your pet stylist cleans and plucks your pets ears, gives a manicure and pedicure, Brushes out the entire coat, removes any matting, expresses anal glands if needed, bathes, conditions and blow dries the pets coat, and may brush teeth and file nails, all before cutting any fur. Once the clippers and scissors come out, the pet stylist then has to use them on the pet, which we all know, rarely sits still and may even bite, scratch or try to escape.
These are some of the obvious reasons it costs more for your pets’ haircut than your own. If you look further into the detail of all the services included in a full grooming and compare how much each would cost for someone of equal handling skills to perform, such as a veterinarian, or veterinary technician, then you can really see the value provided by the pet groomer.
Your Pet stylist examines every part of your dog, and we mean EVERY part. From nose to rump and everything in between. There is not a single portion of your dog that is not touched or looked at by the pet stylist. It is not uncommon for a pet stylist to find health issues before the owner knows about them. Often times groomers will find eye or ear infections, bad teeth, impacted anal glands or skin conditions. If your groomer grooms the pet on a regular basis, they may also notice behavioral changes that can signal health issues. The general Veterinary exam fee without treatment can run anywhere from $50 – $80. The groomer is not a Veterinarian but just as your Veterinarian has higher education and training, the pet stylist also has higher education and is trained on animal anatomy, husbandry, illnesses, behavior, and proper handling not to mention knowing each breed standard trim.
Your pet stylist trims your pets’ toenails which at a Veterinary office can run $10-$18 or more. Usually done by a Veterinary technician.
Your pet stylist plucks the fur from your pets’ ears if needed and cleans them. The cost at the Veterinary office for the same service would cost anywhere from $25 -$70
Your pet stylist checks and expresses (if needed) your pets anal glands. The cost at the Vet – $25-$30. Usually done by a Veterinary technician.
So when you compare just these basic services, it may cost anywhere from $110-$198 or more, which does not include brushing, bathing, and cutting of the fur or dealing with behavioral problems .The average pet grooming price is far less. You also need to consider that larger breed dogs, dogs with longer or matted fur, or with behavioral problems, will add to the price of the grooming.
Another thing to take into consideration is the individual pet stylist. Obviously a seasoned groomer of 20 plus years will charge more than a new graduate just out of grooming school and they should. If you ever see the difference in skill, handling ability and knowledge between the two, you will understand. If your groomer has any other education or training such as veterinary technician, dog training, animal first aid, or massage therapy then the price will vary as well.
If your dog groomer is mobile or offers pickup and delivery, there will be an added convenience fee. The mobile pet groomer gives their undivided attention to your pet with no distractions. These services will not only save you money and time going to and from a salon, but also the hassle and possibly the frustration that may come from loading and transporting your dog (or dogs) in the car. These services also allow you to go about your daily business and find your pet groomed and waiting for you when you return home.
As a dog trainer and groomer at Super Mutts, I often counsel people on choosing the right pet for their lifestyle. Along with size, training, and energy level requirements, one question I always ask is “How much do you plan to spend on grooming every month?” Many people never considered this when choosing a pet. Luckily, there are dogs to fit every budget. A short coated dog just needs bathing, nail trims and ear cleaning which can be done at home or will be less expensive at the groomer than a dog that has full, thick or curly coat with extensive grooming needs. When choosing a dog for your family, grooming price for the life of the dog should be considered.
So, as you can see, there are many things to consider when questioning the price of your pets’ haircut vs. your own. Consider also that this is your loved family member who you are entrusting to the care of others. Whomever you choose will hopefully be grooming your pet every month for his/her entire life which can be 10 -14 years or more. At super mutts we have generations of dogs from the same family. Sadly, there have been many news reports on animals being mistreated at salons, daycare and boarding facilities. Just as you would not look for someone who is “cheap” to look after your children, you should not look for it when it comes to your beloved pet. Generally, you get what you pay for. The peace of mind leaving your pets with a skilled person you can trust………………priceless!
Cindy Quigley is a Canine life cycle coach, and pet stylist. She is the owner of Super Mutts and author of Puppy Montessori. She has 22 years’ experience professionally working with dogs. She has worked in grooming shops, boarding facilities and veterinary hospitals, all of which taught her how to read canine body language and understand dog handling. As boarding and daycare facility owners together with her husband Kenneth she has cared for thousands of dogs and has thousands of hours observing, studying and modifying canine behavior. She is an AKC/ CGC, CGCU, Community Canine and S.T.A.R. puppy evaluator.
You can read more or purchase her book at www.supermutts.com