When you think of dog grooming, you probably only imagine a few possible career paths. You can be a self-employed groomer, a groomer at a salon, or a grooming instructor. And if you’re an extra ambitious groomer? Well, you’ll likely dabble in competitive grooming. These are all rewarding career paths, but there’s a host of other career options you probably aren’t aware of.

Let’s start with the least obvious paths. Here’s our list of industries you didn’t know needed dog groomers!

Pet Store

Our first entry is a no-brainer! Most pet stores don’t sell pets anymore (it’s even illegal in some regions). If they do, they often team up with local humane societies to find good homes for dogs and cats. These animals are well-groomed to maintain their health before adoption. Not to mention that a cleaner dog means a happier dog. Who wouldn’t want to welcome an enthusiastic pup home?

In pet stores that don’t sell pets, they still offer grooming services. These services complement the products they sell and vice-versa. Pet stores have lots of information to help newbies and experienced pet owners alike. This makes the stores a perfect environment for dog groomers who deal with maintaining canine health!

two puppies in window at pet store

Pet Daycare + Kennels

Pet daycare centers and kennels are great options for busy pet owners. Whether these owners work a 9-5 job with a long commute, or they go on vacation/out of town, daycares and kennels are good options for social dogs.

These facilities accept healthy dogs without any diseases or parasites and are up-to-date on vaccinations. After all, they are going to be playing with other dogs during their stay! As such, it makes sense that they offer grooming services to ensure the pets are all healthy and fit to socialize. Daycares see many dogs on a regular basis. This means that employed groomers have many opportunities to sell their services. Pet owners usually drop off their dogs at grooming appointments anyway—it’s just one less appointment to make!

Veterinarian clinics

The two services often go hand-in-hand to maintain the health of a dog. Pet owners have a convenient place to bring their dogs for a health checkup and a groom. In fact, groomers often discover skin and fur/hair conditions during their appointments. And if something goes wrong, the vet is right next door!

That being said, you shouldn’t just opt out of first aid training! Not every issue needs immediate and expert attention from the expensive eyes of a veterinarian. If you have the chance to work with a vet, you’ll learn what is and isn’t possible to treat yourself.

Working for a veterinarian office may be competitive in your area. Many offer their groomers benefits—something that you likely won’t have access to in other workplaces. You also won’t have to spend your own money advertising your services. Many pet owners have additional trust in groomers associated with veterinarian hospitals!

dog with vet

Animal Shelters

Grooming newly rescued dogs is one of the most rewarding career opportunities. Animal shelters can be stressful for dogs, and many may have disabilities. Not all animal shelters can afford a full-time groomer, but if they can, they often see an increase in adoptions.

Remember that this can be an emotionally exhausting role. You need to calm down anxious dogs and anticipate their needs. Yes, making them look aesthetically pleasing is necessary (to appeal to adopters), but your services go beyond this. You need to make them feel happier. Neglected dogs likely have painful mats and maybe even parasites or diseases. Having a dog that’s healthy can make all the difference in its demeanor. Consider this path if you’re empathetic and love helping dogs find a good home. You may even fall in love with a pup or two!

person and dog touching at animal shelter

On-set groomers

Did you think Buddy from the Air Bud movies didn’t have an on-set groomer? In the film and television industry, a well-groomed and well-mannered pup is fit for the big screen! While the training is up to the dog’s owner/trainer/handler, your services are indispensable on set. Especially if a dog is going to be frolicking in a muddy field…

If the story’s timeline takes place over a short period, but the filming timeline is longer, you’ll do maintenance grooming. Just as actors must maintain the same haircuts over the course of a TV season, the same goes for dogs! A dog with longer hair could develop mats as they run around set or film outdoor scenes. Painful mats could lead to an uncooperative dog on set—not that it’s their fault! Your services can make a huge difference to the timeline of the film as well as the happiness of the dog in a stressful environment!

Product tester

Companies who design grooming products and tools need to know that they’re effective! They hire groomers to test out their tools as they may be subject to liability if the testers aren’t working for their company. A normal person could figure out how to use a clipper. But would they be intuitive and responsive to the dog’s reactions to the tools?

Your training in dog grooming ensures that you know what sorts of products would work for specific breeds. You’ll also be able to provide expert advice about how products would perform in the face of certain dog temperaments. In terms of relevant skills, there’s no professional with a better skillset for this industry!

Where do you see yourself working? Let us know!

three border collies outside

About to jump into the field of dog grooming? Here is your career outlook!

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