Good grooming not only makes your dog look (and smell) better, but it’s also an important part of keeping him healthy. Matted fur, common during the shedding season, holds heat and puts your pooch at risk of overheating – and it provides a refuge in which fleas and ticks can hide. Grooming keeps your dog’s skin, ears, and nails healthy and alerts pet parents to any lumps and bumps that could be hiding beneath a thick coat.
Grooming doesn’t come cheap. Good groomers, like good hairdressers, receive top dollar – a reflection of their hard work, training, and experience. However, just like many other aspects of your dog’s care, you can save money on grooming through a combination of DIY work, comparison-shopping, and ingenuity.
DIY Dog Bathing
Even if you don’t plan to pick up the clippers and start grooming your dog, you can save money by taking on part of the work, starting with bathing.
Don’t try to save money by using human shampoo on your dog – the pH of canines is different from our own. Purchase dog shampoo, but make it last by adding water to the concentrated shampoo. You can also save shampoo by “prewashing” your pooch, mixing a few drops of dog shampoo in a gallon of water, shaking it, and pouring the solution over him. This initial step breaks up the oil in your dog’s fur and saturates the hair, making the bath more efficient.
Bathing Fido in your bathtub may be the least expensive way, but it can be tough on your back, especially with larger dogs. Self-service dog washes are a great answer, offering professional facilities including a special deep sink, dog shampoos, conditioners, towels, grooming rakes and brushes, special dog hair dryers, and more, all for about $15. Not only will you save your back but you’ll also save time by not having to clean up after the dog bath.
A growing number of car washes also offer dog-washing facilities. Much like the self-serve dog washes, these facilities feature professional stalls. Dog shampoos are sometimes offered although not always, so call ahead and see if you need to BYOB. Typically, these dog washes range from $5 to $10.
Basic Dog Grooming at Home
Brushing your pup’s fur daily is an easy and cheap way to help reduce grooming costs by avoiding de-matting fees. Remove burrs every time you find them and break up mats created by shed fur. This simple act can help you save as much as thirty percent in de-matting fees at your dog’s next grooming session.
You can also supplement your pup’s professional grooming with DIY services at home. Groomers typically charge $10 to $20 to brush your dog’s teeth, but you can easily learn to brush them using specially made dog toothbrushes and flavored dog-safe toothpaste. Let’s face it. You wouldn’t brush your own teeth only when you’re getting a haircut, right? Your dog needs far more frequent brushings than just every six to eight weeks.
Similarly, nail trims can often be done at home. Trimming just the tips of the nails, well away from the pink vein inside your dog’s nail, gets him accustomed to nail trims. It’s also easy and important to clean your dog’s ears regularly at home. Talk with your veterinarian about both nail and ear care on your next visit and take away some important (and money-saving) tips.
If you plan to take your dog to the groomer, you’ll also want to make sure that he arrives flea free.
Saving Money at the Grooming Salon
For all the DIY work you can do at home, sometimes you still want the expertise of a professional groomer. One way to save money at the professional groomer is to cut back on the frequency of your dog’s visits. Ask your groomer to trim his fur a “step” shorter, extending the life of the haircut.
Regardless of how often you visit the groomer, ask if there’s a “frequent grooming” program. As with many reward programs, these plans, offered by some salons, provide discounts or even free visits after a certain number of appointments. Others offer the chance to buy a block of appointments at a discount.
Speaking of discounts, it always pays to ask your groomer if they offer any types of discounts. From senior and military to student discounts, some groomers offer special reductions for particular groups. Others offer referral discounts, giving you a reduction when you refer a friend. Some groomers, eager to save credit card fees, offer discounts to customers paying in cash.
Using these tips, you can keep Fido looking good and your wallet looking fat! If you have any money-saving grooming tips, please share them below.
You can search LovePets.com for groomers in your local area. Read reviews and contact them directly.