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While you can always give your dog a bath at home, taking them to a professional groomer can save you time while also getting your dog clean and looking dapper. Some dogs, like Shih Tzus and Poodles, require frequent and routine professional grooming because of their coat type.

Other breeds, like Huskies or Labs, don’t require haircuts but can benefit from a thorough scrub and brush out to get rid of extra undercoats and reduce shedding in your home. If your dog dislikes getting bathed at home, taking them to a professional groomer might help them enjoy their spa days.

Making your first appointment

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You might be shocked to find that grooming appointments sometimes fill up months in advance! This is particularly true around the holidays when pet owners want their dogs to be fresh and clean for family gatherings.

Make grooming appointments, including haircuts, at least four to six weeks in advance. Appointments for a bath and blow dry are often easier to arrange within two weeks to a month.  

You might need to arrange earlier if your dog’s bather or groomer is in high demand. 

If your dog needs frequent grooming, make appointments for 6 to 12 months in advance to avoid rushing. Regular grooming also assists in preventing matting, which may be bothersome for your pet and result in skin issues if left untreated.

Make sure your dog has obtained all required vaccinations. Due to state regulations that typically call for this, many grooming parlors will request proof of rabies vaccination.

Although rabies vaccination may be the only one that is legally required, it is best to keep your dog’s essential vaccinations up to date and to think about immunizing against infectious respiratory diseases like Bordetella and canine influenza. Ask your veterinarian what shots they suggest.

Make sure your groomer is aware of any medical concerns your dog may be suffering from. By doing this, they can make sure that they give dogs the breaks they require, be extra cautious around sensitive regions, or omit grooming procedures that can put the dogs under unnecessary stress.

How much time does a dog grooming appointment last?

The length of your dog’s appointment is determined by the breed, coat type, and hair length they begin with, or with the type of grooming service they receive. 

An average Labrador Retriever bath and blow-dry takes one to two hours. If the dog were smaller and had a single-layer coat, like a Boston Terrier, the time would be shorter.

Due to their thick double coat, Corgis may require an equal amount of time as Labradors. A bath and blow-dry for a dog with a thick coat, such as Newfoundland, may take three hours to allow for adequate drying and brushing time.

When haircutting is included, visits might last 1.5-4 hours. It could take much longer if your dog has matted fur or needs a lot of scissoring. Senior dogs or those with movement impairments may require extra time on the grooming table to allow for breaks from standing. 

What happens during a dog grooming appointment?

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What’s included in your dog’s grooming depends on the breed and the services you’ve requested. Some groomers include some services in their standard grooming fee, while others provide extras that are done upon request.

Dropping off Your Dog

Be careful to discuss your preferences for services at an appointment with your groomer. If you have a specific haircut style in mind, let them know about it and provide examples to help them understand what you’re looking for.

Before starting to groom your dog, a groomer will be able to explain what may be done with your pet’s coat. Don’t take it personally if your dog’s desired haircut can’t be done; frequently, mats in the coat, the length of the coat in the beginning, or even the texture of a dog’s coat might prevent certain cuts from being done. 

In addition to preventing you from being shocked by a short haircut when you pick up your dog, this pre-haircut talk will also help you prepare for any necessary shaving caused by matting that your dog’s groomer may feel in its coat.


Most grooms typically start with a thorough cleaning of the coat to get it ready for cutting. To have an even haircut, a coat needs to be fully clean and dry. Before washing a dog, a groomer would occasionally give it a “rough cut” with clippers to trim away any extra hair or matting.

This helps the groomer more easily and effectively bathe your dog. A groomer uses different clippers for rough cuts than they do for clipping after a dog has been bathed to ensure that the blades are cut evenly. 


A groomer will blow-dry your dog’s coat thoroughly before cutting it with clippers or scissors. The best method is to use a specialized grooming blow dryer by hand, although this can take some time.

To remove the dead undercoat that might otherwise get caught in the bathtub drain while the dog is being bathed, a groomer frequently blasts out the coat of double-coated breeds before bathing them. Some salons surround the dog with standing blow dryers to speed up drying while the stylist dries another area of the animal by hand.


Before any haircutting, your dog’s coat must be as straight and untangled as possible. Otherwise, the cut may be uneven or the clippers may tangle with matted fur.

Your dog’s coat will be brushed out both before and after blow-drying to eliminate any extra fur. This is done to get your dog’s coat as straight as possible. 


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If the coat needs to be trimmed, a groomer will normally use clippers to cut your dog’s hair to a certain length. If necessary for a dog’s coat, clippers are typically used for full-body haircuts or for trimming hair in places that require it, like the paw pads or the genital area.

Grooming scissors may be used by a groomer on dogs that require more than a touch-up or cutting in certain areas, and to shape the head, ears, legs, skirt, and tail of your dog. 

Nail Trimming

Nail cutting is frequently provided as a stand-alone service or as part of a grooming package. Make sure to specify at drop-off whether you prefer your dog’s nails to be clipped straight across with conventional clippers or ground down using a Dremel. 

Ear Cleaning

To help avoid ear infections, clean your dog’s ears after bathing using a specially prepared cleanser. Ask your vet if you should postpone having your dog’s ears cleaned at the groomer if they are at higher risk for ear infections or if they have any recommendations for ear cleaners to use.

Anal Gland Expression

Groomers are only taught how to express anal glands on the outside, which is different from and sometimes less successful than internal expressions done by a veterinarian.

External expressions can occasionally make a dog’s anal gland issues worse. Before having a groomer express your dog’s anal glands, consult with your veterinarian.

Sanitary Trim

A sanitary trim is useful in keeping the fur around your dog’s privates clean. These trims are especially beneficial for geriatric dogs that have long, wispy fur on their back, where feces or urine might become trapped. 

Paw Pad Area Trim

The grip your dog has on slick surfaces can be improved, and ice accumulation between their toes can be avoided, by trimming the fur that grows between the pads of your dog’s paws.

Booking your dog’s first grooming appointment

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Are you looking for the best dog groomer in North Dakota? Shaggy’s Dog Wash & Grooming is the only place to go. Our team provides top-tier grooming services for your fur babies. Book an appointment with us to find out more about the services we provide.