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Dog Grooming: How Long Does It Take?

By Aviram K.
July 27, 2021
5 min read
Dog Grooming: How Long Does It Take?
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.

As dog owners, part of our responsibility is to make sure that our beloved canines look and feel their best!

As such, the monthly calendar likely includes grooming appointments to keep Fido in tip-top shape. But if you’re new to taking your dog to the groomer, you might be wondering how long it takes.

On average, you can expect three to four hours for a full groom, but it depends on the dog. Full grooms generally include bathing, drying, brushing, fur cut, nail cuts, ears cleaning, teeth brushing, and gland expression. Quick grooms can be as short as fifteen minutes but don’t include as many services.

In this article, we will open your eyes to how long you should expect a grooming session to be, why that time is required, and quell the various questions running through your mind about dog grooming.

Let’s start.

How Long Is a Typical Grooming Session?

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Most full grooming sessions take approximately three to five hours, but some dogs can be an all-day affair. Full grooming covers all of the bases - from bathing, drying, and brushing all the way to haircuts and styling!

Full grooming should also include some of the very important grooming needs, such as making sure nails are nicely trimmed, and anal glands are expressed (which can lead to infection if not).

Quick grooms, or minor services, as some salons call them, can be as short as fifteen minutes. Quick grooms typically encompass routine nail trimming, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, or gland expression.

Quick grooms are usually booked a la carte per service. The more comfortable your dog is with having these done, the faster the appointment tends to be.

Grooming duration is very dependent upon several factors: the condition of the dog at the time of the appointment, the dog breed, the dog’s age, and how well the dog behaves at the groomer’s.

For example, a neglected long-coated dog brought in will take significantly longer than a well-cared pup who just needs a wash and dry refresh.

Breeds such as rough collies and Afghan hounds with long thick coats will take a lot longer than short-coated dogs such as dalmatians or labradors. Also, small dogs can be quicker and spiffier than 200 lb Danes, and flamboyant puppies tend to take longer than calmer adult dogs.

All of these variables impact the time spent at the grooming salon and will likely be disclosed to you by your groomer.

Why Does Dog Grooming Take So Long?

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Those who hurry don’t tend to do a good job, so quality grooming will take time! Each step of the grooming process needs to be well thought out and executed, which isn’t a quick endeavor.

Before the groom starts, the groomer needs to prep the space and clean all of the supplies. You don’t want to share supplies between dogs because that opens the door to some infection spreading.

Once the prep work has been done, the actual grooming service can begin. Making sure the dog is comfortable and unafraid is a big part of the job, and relaxing your pooch eats up the minutes on the clock.

A dog free of tangles can be brushed in about 15 or so minutes depending on size, but if a pup is brought in that has clearly not seen a brush in weeks, that will take much more time.

Bathing takes a lot of the time as the groomer wants to make sure of the deep cleaning! Getting deep into the undercoat is quite an endeavor, as is the rinsing of all of the shampoo, dirt, and conditioner.

Drying takes even more time because the coat must be thoroughly dried before being clipped or trimmed. For nervous dogs, dryers can be scary, so many groomers will dry manually with a towel which is not a quick process.

Clipping and trimming come next, along with nails, ears, teeth, and more. Sometimes groomers will plop on a cute scarf or bow at the end of the session, and then it’s done!

Do You Leave Your Dog at the Groomers?

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Most dog groomers will ask owners to drop their pups off and pick them back up once the grooming appointment has ended. But, it can be very nerve-wracking to leave your dog at the groomers by themselves - especially if this is your first time doing so.

However, there are some important reasons as to why you should consider listening to your groomer’s advice and leaving the pup there without you.

Firstly, your dog will likely settle and calm down better when you’re not around. Like children, dogs act differently in the presence of a strange company. You may think that your pup needs your comfort at the groomers. Still, the opposite tends to be more likely - your presence is what’s actually making them more nervous (especially if you’re anxious).

Second, to groom your pup well, the groomer needs to be able to hold your dog’s attention. Being present naturally takes the attention away, and a dog is more likely to make sudden and erratic movements in an attempt to interact with you.

Third, for liability reasons, a groomer’s insurance does not tend to account for people watching or staying with their animals. A grooming salon is full of sharp tools, and it becomes a business risk if you end up injured in an accident.

Finally, groomers try to keep to a strict schedule to provide a timely service for their clients. But, unfortunately, the more people in their salon that don’t belong, the harder it is to be efficient.

Is Grooming Stressful for Dogs?

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Not all dogs enjoy being groomed - which can make it a bit stressful on more nervous or anxious four-legged friends. It really depends on the kind of dog you have, some act as if grooming is no big deal, and others can be lethargic or sick for days with stress.

Some dogs hate water, others are uncomfortable with restraints, and some dogs are terrified of strangers. Knowing the kind of dog you have is essential when determining how to handle a grooming appointment and what to tell the groomer.

You Can Lessen Grooming Stress

There are things you can do to help make grooming a lot less stressful for your dog.

  • Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog, lay with their paws, ears, and mouth so that they are comfortable being touched in those sensitive places. Instinctually, dogs try to pull away when those body parts are touched. However, with gentle massaging and positive reinforcement, puppies eventually begin associating these touches with petting and start to enjoy them.
  • Let your dog have a meet-and-greet with the groomer and allow the groomer to familiarize themselves with your dog.
  • Make sure the ‘goodbye’ is short, unemotional, and uneventful. If you show tremendous emotion and act as if this is the last time you’re going to see your dog, your pup is going to become nervous, scared and wonder why you made such a big deal about leaving them.

What if It’s Actually the Groomer’s Fault?

The above being said, sometimes you find a bad apple amidst all of the good ones.

If your dog is returning to you with the warning signs that the groomer is mistreating them, the stress would be warranted.

Warning signs include:

  • Extreme fear responses. Nervousness is normal, but dogs setting into panics, trying to run away, or screaming is extreme.
  • Multiple burns and cuts on your dog’s body. Although a knick here and there can happen, seeing multiple painful areas on your dog is a big red flag.
  • The groomer is not listening to your inquiries or concerns. Groomers should make you feel comfortable and at ease leaving your dog.

If your dog is acting strangely after a grooming appointment, click here to read our article on understanding the behavior and what you can do about it.


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Grooming

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Aviram K.

Aviram K.

Dog Behaviorist & Trainer

Table Of Contents

1

How Long Is a Typical Grooming Session?

2

Why Does Dog Grooming Take So Long?

3

Do You Leave Your Dog at the Groomers?

4

Is Grooming Stressful for Dogs?

Related Posts

Make Your Dog Smell Better With These 6 Easy Tips
Make Your Dog Smell Better With These 6 Easy Tips
June 13, 2021
4 min
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