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February 25, 2020

How Long Does It Take to Groom a Dog?

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Are you anxiously waiting for the groomer to call and say your dog is ready to go home? Or maybe you’re thinking about grooming your dog yourself. Either way, you’re wondering how long it takes to groom a dog. The answer varies depending on a variety of factors. 

Grooming a dog can take anywhere from less than 30 minutes to more than 4 hours depending on your dog breed, the type of grooming they need, how the grooming is scheduled, and other factors. 

Grooming at Home vs. Going to a Groomer

Let’s discuss the differences between grooming your dog at home versus taking them to a groomer. 

As far as the actual grooming process, it will probably take longer for you to groom your dog at home than it will take a professional groomer. However, groomers have different types of schedules, and how a groomer schedules their dogs affects how long your dog will be there. When you factor in scheduling, it could be faster to groom your dog yourself than to take them to a groomer. 

Different Types of Groomer Schedules

When you take your dog to a groomer, the way they schedule their dogs has a big impact on how long your dog will be there. There are 3 common ways that groomers schedule dogs throughout the day:

  • Cattle call: With this type of schedule, all the dogs who are going to be groomed for the day come in at the same time, usually in the morning (or there may be a morning dropoff and a noonish dropoff). Dogs are sent home as they are finished. Your dog could be there as little as an hour or two or as long as eight to ten hours. 
  • Block schedule: This is the most common type of groomer schedule, especially at the larger corporate grooming salons. Each groomer will have 2-3 dogs come in at one of several time “blocks” throughout the day. The groomer will wash each dog, dry them to varying degrees, then let some dogs kennel dry while grooming others from the same (or an earlier) time block. Typical turnaround times for block schedules are 3-4 hours. 
  • Express scheduling. Each dog is given their own appointment time (like a human hairdresser would book clients). Every dog is groomed straight through without any breaks or time in a kennel. Small dogs might be finished in less than an hour. Large, hairy breeds may still take 2-3 hours. 

Grooming Your Dog Yourself

OK, now you can see why it can take anywhere from less than an hour to all day to groom a dog at a grooming salon depending on how they schedule dogs. But how long does it take to groom your dog yourself?

That depends on the size and breed of your dog and what you consider “grooming.” A 10-minute brushing session could be considered “grooming” a short-haired dog if they don’t need a bath or their nails trimmed. On the other hand, washing, drying, and trimming a large, hairy dog could be an all-day affair.

Additionally, the more you groom your dog, the faster you will get as you figure out a routine that works for you and your dog. Expect the first few grooming sessions to take a few hours as you figure things out. 

Factors That Impact How Long It Takes to Groom a Dog

Whether you’re grooming your dog yourself or taking them to the groomer, there are many factors that impact how long the grooming will take. Some of these factors include:

  • Size of the dog
  • Length and condition of the fur
  • Haircut length and style
  • Dog behavior
  • Type of shampoo used (some need to sit for 5-10 minutes)
  • Type of dryer used or tolerated
  • Presence of fleas or other parasites
  • Extreme matting

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Steps to Grooming a Dog?

Every groomer may do these steps in a different order, and some steps may be optional or an additional charge. However, the general steps to grooming a dog include:

  • Express (empty) the anal glands
  • Brush teeth
  • Bath
  • Rinse out eyes
  • Dry (towel, fluff, velocity, and/or kennel drying)
  • Cut toenails
  • Shave paw pads
  • Shave sanitary areas (around the genitals and anus)
  • Brush, shave, and/or trim the entire body
  • Trim the feet, face, tail, and ears
  • Pluck and/or clean ears
  • Apply cologne, bows, and/or a bandana for finishing touches

How Much Does It Cost to Groom a Dog?

The cost of dog grooming varies widely depending on your geographic location, the type of grooming salon you go to, the size and breed of your dog, and what type of grooming you’re getting. Grooming could cost less than $20 for a small dog that doesn’t need a haircut to well over $100 for a big, hairy dog breed that needs trimming or de-shedding services. 

Do You Tip the Dog Groomer?

Tipping the dog groomer isn’t required, but it’s definitely appreciated. It’s common practice to tip hairdressers, and they usually aren’t at risk of being peed on, pooped on, scratched, or bitten. Groomers especially appreciate tips when they’ve let you know that your dog isn’t the best for grooming. 

How Long Does It Take to Groom a Dog at PetSmart?

PetSmart generally uses block scheduling and typically quotes a turnaround time of 3 to 4 hours. Grooming can take longer on weekends and holidays when it’s busy. When you drop your dog off for a grooming appointment, your groomer should give you a time estimate. Feel free to ask if they don’t offer one.

Aiden Taylor

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