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.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2023 the National Minimum Wage is £5.28 an hour for workers under 18, £7.49 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £10.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over is £10.42 an hour.
With experience, groomers can earn up to around £10.00 an hour and salon managers can earn up to £24,000 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 may be over 7 days, depending on the employer, and you would work 5 of those days if full time.
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.
A good general education is useful and some employers may ask for a group of subjects at National 4 or 5.
You can take a fee-paying course at a private grooming training centre, such as City and Guilds Level 2 Certificate and Level 3 Diploma in Dog Grooming. Details are available from the British Dog Groomers Association (part of the Pet Industry Federation).
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.
A driving licence is useful if you need to travel between clients.
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 SCQF Levels 5 and 6.
The National Pet College (new name for Pet Industry Federation Education) offers many courses including City and Guild courses in Dog Grooming. See www.nationalpetcollege.org.uk for details.
If you have a relevant Level 3 qualification, you could take the Higher Diploma in Dog Grooming, which is a City and Guilds Professional Recognition Award, incorporating the City and Guilds Licentiateship (LCGI).
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 College of Animal Welfare specialises in veterinary nursing and animal care training. It operates from seven UK training centres, including the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School of Edinburgh University.