I can’t manage to successfully groom or clip my long-haired dog and was in the groomers the other day making an appointment where I saw a rather disgruntled dog looking very handsomely groomed, with a lovely fuzzy beard and whiskers left on his face, and it got me thinking of the importance of a professional groomer.

Professional grooming will help cool your dog in the heat by removing excess fur and can save you time and energy, as successful grooming takes a lot of care and patience - especially long haired or fluffy dogs, a puppy or one with behavioural issues.

Yes, you can do it yourself, but there are many advantages to getting it done professionally.

They can do it all

A professional groomer will brush, bathe and dry your dog and trim or clip with clean, sanitised bushes and clippers. Those little knots get removed before the bath, making it easier to lather the dog with shampoo. When dry, the coat can be trimmed, clipped or shaved if necessary or requested. They will check their eyes, bottoms of feet, clean ears and check for infections, and trim nails if necessary.

They have the right equipment

If you have ever tried to groom a dog yourself, you know how important the right tools are. I can’t use scissors myself for fear of cutting too close to the skin, and clippers seem to freak my dog out, with the whole event being uncomfortable for my back, but a groomer will be able to wield the right scissors and the right clippers with experience, all at the right height on their adjustable table.

They will use nontoxic and gentle shampoos, especially for those with allergies or even fleas. Different coats require different brushes, and the more hair they remove, the less will drift around your house like a tumbleweed! Many breeds need special cuts, and the groomer will have the knowledge for specific breed requirements.

They know how to handle your pooch

Older dogs or ones that are anxious or aggressive when you try to groom them should be handled gently, and some might need to be muzzled for grooming, which is something a groomer can do without becoming emotionally involved. They are well experienced in handling difficult dogs, and wisely, they will often ask the owner to leave to lessen the stress on both dog and owner.

They take care of the yucky stuff

Cleaning anal glands, shampooing a muddy or stinky dog that has joyfully rolled in fox poo for example, or removing fleas and ticks are not the most pleasant tasks, but they come with the responsibility of owning a dog. A professional groomer knows how to take care of these necessary - but unpleasant tasks - for you.

Professional grooming offers health benefits

While your dog will look and smell great, the health benefits are not to be overlooked. Careful brushing detangles and removes excess fur and distributes the dog’s natural oils, removes dead skin build-up, and regular baths wash away dirt and help prevent skin irritations. The groomer can also check for lumps and bumps you might have missed, and nail trimming reduces the risk of cracks, rips and painful posture if they grow too long.

How often should I have my dog groomed?

This depends on breed, coat length and how dirty! Whether it’s every six weeks or just twice a year, you can still do your bit at home. Cleaning teeth, trimming nails, brushing, de-matting, occasional shampoos when necessary, checking ears, and freshening up private parts will help make your canine buddy more healthy, comfortable, and pleasant to live with.

For puppies and dogs who have never been professionally groomed, you can take gentle steps to mimic the groomer - touch feet and nails often and offer treats, and maybe even try running an electric toothbrush around the coat for dogs that will need to be clipped, just to get them used to the noise of the clippers. Grooming is a bonding experience for both you and your dog and will make the process more pleasant in the long run.


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan