Dog groomers maintain the condition of dogs' coats by regular trimming, clipping and grooming. They also give advice to dog owners on diet, grooming and the general care of dogs' coats.
You could be:
- discussing what type of grooming the customer wants for their dog
- washing, drying, shampooing, cutting and brushing the coats of both long-haired and short-haired dogs
- using different grooming methods according to the breed of dog, cutting the coat into a particular style
- using scissors, electric clippers and razors to cut and trim coats
- clipping nails, cleaning teeth and ears
- checking the condition of the dog's eyes, ears and teeth or under its coat for any lumps or swelling or for ticks and fleas
- detangling coats or treating dogs for fleas and other parasites
- preparing dogs for shows, making sure coats are clean and in good condition
- giving owners advice on dog behaviour, diet or grooming.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
The starting salary is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW). At present this is £4.00 an hour for workers aged 16 to 17, £5.55 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £6.95 an hour for workers aged 21 to 24 (October 2016).
As of 1 April 2016 there is a new National Living Wage (NLW) of £7.20 for workers 25 and over. The NMW still applies to those 24 and under, although some organisations offer the NLW to all employees, regardless of age.
With experience, groomers can earn up to around £8.00 an hour and salon managers can earn up to £23,000 a year, sometimes more. Many dog groomers are self-employed so their earnings will vary. They charge a fee which varies depending on the type and size of the dog.
- You would usually work in a salon, in a pet shop or in kennels.
- Some groomers offer a mobile service and visit owners at their home.
- The working week is normally from Monday to Saturday. If you have to work on a Saturday, you would normally have a day off during the week.
- You may work longer hours if you run your own business.
- The working conditions may be warm and humid, or dusty or hairy.
- You would normally wear protective and waterproof clothing.
- You would be active for most of the day, including lifting dogs on and off the grooming table.
- Some dogs can be nervous and there may be a risk of being bitten.
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- Entry to this job can be competitive.
- A good general education is useful and some employers may ask for a group of subjects at National 4 or 5.
- You may be able to get in through a Modern Apprenticeship.
- You can take a fee-paying course at a private grooming training centre, such as City and Guilds Level 2 and 3 Certificates in Dog Grooming. Details are available from the British Dog Groomers Association (part of the Pet Industry Federation, formerly the Pet Care Trade Association).
- Previous work experience with animals, such as work in kennels, is helpful and sometimes essential.
- You need to be reasonably fit, as it is quite an active job.
- You should have a steady hand – dogs may be nervous or unruly.
- You must not be allergic to dogs or to the chemicals used.
- A driving licence is useful if you need to travel between clients.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
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What Does it Take?
- the ability to handle dogs of all sizes and enjoy working with them
- to be able to calm down nervous animals
- to be good with your hands
- a careful and responsible attitude
- artistic and creative flair
- good communication skills to work with customers
- business skills, if self-employed
- to be able to work on your own.
- Training would be on the job, under the supervision of an experienced groomer.
- If you are on a Modern Apprenticeship, you would normally train for relevant Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) such as Animal Care at Levels 2 and 3 (SCQF Levels 5 and 6).
- The Pet Industry Federation offers City and Guild courses in Dog Grooming. See www.petcare.org.uk for details.
- If you have five or more years professional experience, you could take the City and Guilds Licentiateship (LCGI) in dog grooming.
- You could progress to become a senior dog groomer, supervisor or salon manager.
- With experience you could apply to become a trainer on dog grooming courses.
- You could train to groom other animals such as cats or rabbits.
- You could set up and run your own dog grooming business.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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