Getting Your Pet Groomed is Easy at PetSmart

Everything you need to know when your pet visits our salon

By Ashley Beltz, Certified PetSmart Groomer

For the health and safety of our associates and customers, we've made several changes to deliver the best possible care and most convenient service while adhering to CDC guidelines.

Here's what's changed:

PetSmart Grooming: From Drop-Off to Pickup

Our dog grooming appointments can take anywhere from 2-4 hours, depending on their size, coat type and the services you choose. For cats, the time will vary depending on their coat type and temperament.

1. Hands-On Pet Assessment: 5-10 Minutes

One of our safety-certified salon associates will do an assessment of your pet’s skin, coat, ears, nails and teeth, so they can properly address their unique needs. While our stylists do take note of any behavioral or health concerns, this is a great time to let us know of any additional concerns, preferences or individual requirements.

2. Brushing & Clipping (pre-bath steps): 10-30 minutes

Your Pet Stylist will start by brushing, combing and clipping your pet to remove any excess hair or tangles before they get their bath. They will also trim the pet’s nails and clean their ears.

3. Relaxing Bath: 10-30 minutes

PetSmart’s relaxing bath system makes tub time a pampering experience. Your salon expert will start by washing your pet with the shampoo/conditioner you agreed on at check-in. All the shampoos and conditioners we use are pH-balanced specifically for pets and provide gentle cleansing without drying your pet’s skin.

4. Custom Drying: 30 minutes+

The drying process begins with a gentle towel drying on your pet’s face, ears and tail. Our dryers are not heated and have adjustable speeds. Different breeds have different needs and each pet is carefully dried using the best method for safety and comfort. Cats are much more sensitive to loud noises and can frighten easily, so our Cat Stylists use a very gentle dryer while removing excess hair with a brush. This is faster than airdrying. Your stylist will adjust their approach based on your cat’s temperament.

5. Tailored Haircut & Finishing Touches: 30 minutes+

Completing your pet’s haircut after they have been washed and blow-dried allows your stylist to ensure there are no additional tangles and provides the best-looking haircut. If your pet only received a bath or de-shedding service, this time will be used to complete their brush-out, touch-up their nails, wipe out their ears & complete all the finishing touches to get them ready for pickup.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to bring?

  • Proof of rabies vaccination in paper form is required prior to salon services. All vaccinations must be administered at least 48 hours prior to checking in. (Puppies & kittens between 8 & 15 weeks of age may receive salon services without vaccinations. Some state & local laws may require additional vaccinations be current. Please ask a salon associate at the time of booking to ensure your pet is ready for their pampering session!)
  • Your dog’s leash and collar or harness (attached) or a carrier if you have a cat or small dog.
  • If you prefer a certain style or cut, please bring a photo to share with us if you have one. Our stylists are trained to provide your pet with whatever trim you desire.

Why does my pet go in a kennel at the salon?

The kennel is a great place for the pet to relax safely in-between steps of the grooming process. This allows each pet to have a quiet space when they are not being worked on by the bather or stylist. Each dog is kept in their own kennel with a bowl of water. Cats will have water and a small litter box in their kennel. In most salons, we are able to put pets that live together in kennels that face each other, so they can see their sibling or friend.

Will my pet have food and water?

All pets in the salon will have access to fresh water, throughout their visit. Our staff does not provide food to pets.

Are your associates knowledgeable about my pet’s breed?

Each certified graduate of our Grooming Academy goes through over 800 hours of training, including hands-on experience with a wide variety of breeds. During training, our stylists are educated on breed-specific needs and trims. (Stylists who have been trained outside of our Grooming Academy undergo a thorough evaluation of their technical skills to ensure they are 100% up to PetSmart grooming standards.) All of our staff are fully trained and equipped to make your pet look and feel their very best while adapting to your personal preference.

How do you handle older pets?

For older pets who may have mobility challenges or get tired easily, we offer an express service that reduces time in the salon. Ask your stylist for details.

What if my dog doesn’t like getting groomed?

Our salon associates are trained to provide positive reinforcement throughout the grooming process and we always focus on their comfort and well-being. Our safety-certified stylists can work slowly for pets who are not as keen to being groomed and may stop grooming if the safety of the pet or associate becomes a risk. Always let your salon associate know when booking an appointment if your pet has special requirements so that we can customize to create the most positive experience.

What if my cat doesn’t like getting groomed?

Don’t be discouraged if your cat cannot receive all services in one day. Cats are independent and want to make decisions for themselves, so a trip to the groomer can be very scary. To create a positive experience for your pet, your stylist has been trained to adjust their approach according to your cat’s unique needs. You can always try again and, over time, work to get your cat comfortable with grooming. Cat hair is twice as dense as even the thickest of dogs. Cats’ self-cleaning abilities are only as powerful as a wet wipe bath because they don’t have the ability to penetrate their thick hair. Grooming is a critical part of keeping a cat’s skin clean, their shedding under control and human allergies to a minimum.

How should I prepare for my cat’s groom?

Cats love to disappear when it’s least convenient. To ensure they’ll be ready for their appointment, always:

  • Put their carrier out a few days early so they can get used to it.
  • Keep them in the house the night before if they’re an indoor/outdoor cat.
  • Use their favorite treat/toy/blanket to attract them when it’s time to leave.

So that you don’t show up only to be turned away, you should:

  • Be mindful of any health conditions your pet may have & contact us if you think this may cause an issue.
  • Have up-to-date records of their vaccinations, all administered at least 48 hours before their appointment.

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