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Does my dog need to go to the groomer

The essentials

  • Grooming is important for a dog’s health — Routine dog grooming improves coat breathability, prevents skin infections, and removes dead hair.
  • Professionals can ensure a proper groom — Groomers have the tools, equipment, and experience to give your dog a pain-free haircut or bath.
  • At-home grooming can reduce costs — Between groomer visits, brush and clean your dog at home to cut down on appointments.

Dog grooming isn’t just about making your best friend fashionable. It keeps your pooch’s skin and coat healthy while improving their overall mood — even if the process stresses them out. Dogs have different hair types, and some pups require more pampering than others.  But should you see a professional groomer as opposed to doing it yourself?

Benefits of professional dog grooming

While it’s always good to do routine brushing and ear cleanings at home, a professional groomer can guarantee your favorite furball gets the right care with the proper tools. Here are a few great reasons to take your dog to a professional:

  • Groomers save you time. Between walking, feeding, and training, caring for a dog is time-consuming. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you add grooming to the mix. Visiting a professional groomer can save you time and energy.
  • Groomers have the supplies. At-home grooming is not without its costs. You’ll need to invest in dog-friendly shampoos, clippers, and brushes, all of which groomers have on hand, as well as equipment like grooming tables and tubs.
  • Groomers have experience. Professional groomers should be well-versed in handling dogs, including reactive ones. It’s scary for a lot of dogs to be bathed and blow-dried, so you’ll want an expert who knows how to cater to different anxiety levels as well as conditions like canine arthritis.
  • Groomers do it all. Whether your dog needs a bath, haircut, ear cleaning, or all of the above, groomers can check off all the boxes. They can also tend to the tasks that may be unpleasant to do at home, like expressing their anal glands or removing the odor from a dead animal your furry friend got into.

How often should your dog go to the groomer?

While convenient, dog groomers can be a little pricey. Many owners try to hold off for as long as possible before visiting a professional groomer. Here are the factors to consider when determining how often your dog needs to be professionally groomed:

Hair length

When it comes to grooming frequency, one of the biggest considerations for dogs is the length of their hair. Long-haired dogs require more maintenance than short-haired breeds. That’s because dogs with short coats, like boxers and greyhounds, don’t need haircuts and can typically get away with being bathed once every 1-2 months to remove debris and oil buildup on their skin.

On the other hand, dogs with long hair, like chow chows or Bernese mountain dogs, need a haircut every 1-2 months and a bath every 2 weeks. Additionally, they should be brushed once or twice a day to prevent matting.

Coat type

You’ll also want to factor in the type of hair your dog has into their grooming needs. For example, silky-haired breeds like Afghan hounds and Yorkshire terriers have oily skin with no undercoats, meriting a daily brush and weekly bath. Additionally, a monthly haircut is recommended for these beloved breeds.

Labradors, Australian shepherds, and other double-coated dogs also require a bi-monthly undercoat trimming to help their skin breathe easier, especially during hot summers. While owners can do this at home with an undercoat rake, a groomer may be more experienced in doing it correctly and pain-free.


Does your dog spend a lot of time frolicking in the great outdoors, or are they more of a glorified couch cushion? The answer can play a role in how often they need grooming. If your pup spends a day rolling around in the mud, then that’s a day they need a bath. If you can’t bathe them at home, this means more trips to the groomer. Even if you can give them frequent baths, you’ll want to visit a groomer more often than average to remove difficult-to-reach dirt and other irritants, like bugs and pollen, that get trapped under the fur.


Seasonal allergies also play a role in how often a dog needs grooming. In some cases, frequent grooming can ease symptoms for allergy-suffering pups. In other cases, too much grooming can exacerbate them.

Every dog is unique, and your veterinarian can determine how grooming will impact your dog’s allergies based on their medical history. They can also recommend shampoos and other products to manage their condition.

Dogs with allergies often have dry or oily skin. To counteract skin changes related to allergies, often medicated baths are needed on a regular basis. Also dogs with long curly hair such as doodle mixes, often have a lot of hair around their ears which can wick moisture. Moisture in ears can make dogs more prone to ear infections, therefore regular grooming is important to maintain this.

Dr. Dwight Alleyne

Do hairless dogs need grooming?

It may be a surprise that hairless dog breeds like Xolos and American hairless terriers require grooming, too. Dog grooming is about skin hygiene just as much as fur hygiene. And with no fur, hairless dogs are even more exposed to irritants that can cause infections or lesions. Your groomer may want to use a shampoo that adds moisture to their skin, given how easily it dries due to the lack of a coat.

Tips for at-home dog grooming

Sky-high inflation and the cost of living may make you (reasonably) hesitant to have your dog groomed professionally. With the national average for a grooming session as high as $150, it’s simply not feasible for many owners to pay for grooming in addition to what they’re spending on food and vet bills. Here is a breakdown of the average professional dog grooming costs:

Service Average national cost
Basic grooming $30 to $100
Haircut $50 to $150
Mobile grooming $50 to $100

Here are some tips for at-home dog grooming:

  • Brushing. Comb your dog in smooth strokes to avoid tugging on their skin. The length of your pup’s hair will factor into the brush you use, as short-haired breeds may require something gentler than the metal comb you’d use on a double-coated dog.
  • Bathing. Lather and rinse your furbaby with a dog-friendly shampoo and avoid getting it in their eyes and ears. If you’re having trouble getting them to stay, consider investing in a suction cup tether.
  • Ear cleaning. Apply a dog-friendly ear solution to a cotton swab and gently clean off any wax or debris in the outer ear without puncturing the eardrum.
  • Nail trimming. After getting them used to the clippers, pick up your dog’s paw, push their nail out with your forefinger, and gently cut the tips.

Health benefits of dog grooming

While making your dog smell less like a dog is certainly a perk of grooming, it’s also beneficial to your canine companion’s overall health. Baths and haircuts can improve coat breathability, increase blood flow to the skin, and remove debris that causes bacterial infections. It also helps dogs shed dead hair, allowing new, healthy fur to grow.

Additionally, grooming exposes fleas and ticks hidden under your dog’s coat so you or your groomer can remove them accordingly. And while this isn’t ideal, it can even help you detect tumors and lumps in your pup’s skin before they get bigger or spread.

Veterinarians and professional groomers recommend that all dogs visit a groomer every month or two, regardless of their coat type. These professionals are equipped with the resources necessary to give your favorite furball a proper grooming using gentle methods. That said, there are steps you can take at home to reduce the number of groomer visits and the costs that come with it. So long as your best friend gets the baths and haircuts they need, they’ll live a happy life.

Frequently asked questions

How often should a dog be groomed by a professional groomer?

How often your dog requires professional grooming depends on several factors, including hair length, coat type, and lifestyle. Generally speaking, most dogs would benefit from a trip to the groomer at least once a month, but long-haired dogs require more maintenance than short-haired ones, as do dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors.

Is too much grooming bad for dogs?

While over-grooming is generally a myth, some dogs may be sensitive to certain shampoos and develop skin irritations. Additionally, allergy-suffering dogs may experience heightened symptoms during and following a grooming session. Your groomer and veterinarian can help you determine your dog’s grooming needs and find the right products.

Do dogs feel better after grooming?

While the grooming process stresses many dogs out, afterwards they benefit from the many perks that grooming has on their health and overall mood. It helps improve coat breathability, regulates body temperature, and physically stimulates them.

Can I groom my dog at home?

While a professional dog groomer has all the tools needed for proper grooming, many owners opt to groom their dogs at home to save costs. Before doing so, familiarize yourself with the safest practices to avoid injury to your pet and use pet-friendly products that won’t irritate their skin.

What dogs require the most grooming?

Generally speaking, long-haired dog breeds require more grooming than short-haired ones. Poodles, Afghan hounds, Bernese mountain dogs, Portuguese water dogs, and huskies are examples of dogs that need extra attention.