Every dog needs a groom, at least every now and again. It’s just something we have to schedule in and organize. But I get it. Time is of the essence, and running all your errands requires a certain amount of planning. Grooming is no different. So if you intend on taking your dog to the groomers, you’ll want to know how long you can expect to be there. Well, here is everything you are going to want to know and consider.
So, how long does dog grooming take? Depending on the breed of your dog, dog grooming will typically take between 2 to 3 hours, on average. The longer hair your dog has, or the more skittish he is around being groomed, the longer grooming will likely take. The experience of the groomer, where you take them, and the service you opt for can also influence timings.
You see, there are actually quite a few different factors that will impact the duration of a groom.
This is why it can differ a much, and I can only present to you a range.
That being said, this is the typical time that most dog owners come to expect.
Chances are, though, you have other questions – such as whether you should stay with your dog during their groom or what else you could do with that time.
We will be looking at these shortly.
But first. Let’s get back to the original question and explore it in further detail.
How Long Should A Dog Be At A Groomer?
There is no set amount of time for all dogs to be at a groomer, as a grooming session can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours or more. It all depends on your breed of dog and the services that you choose.
Different Dog Breeds Have Different Grooming Needs
Depending on your dog’s breed, grooming can be a quick process or a more involved one.
If you have a dog with a very thick coat of fur, bathing and hair trimming time will take a lot longer than if you have a dog with a thinner coat.
In addition, larger dogs can take longer to groom than smaller ones – with the exception of certain breeds whose coats require extra attention (like poodles and Shih Tzus).
Here are some dog breeds that require extra time in the grooming salon:
- Bearded Collie
- Bedlington Terrier
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Bichon Frise
- Black Russian Terrier
- Chinese Crested
- Chow Chow
- Cocker Spaniel
- Coton de Tulear
- Giant Schnauzer
- Lhasa Apso
- Miniature American Shepherd
- Sheepdog breeds
- Portuguese Water Dog
- Shih Tzu
- Terrier breeds (Silky, Skye, Yorkshire)
If you have one of the above breeds, be prepared to put in extra effort to keep your dog looking his best and healthiest.
Consider The Services You Choose For Your Dog
The types of services you choose for your dog will greatly influence the amount of time he’ll need to be at the groomer. The more services you choose – or the more elaborate they are – the longer grooming will take.
Many groomers offer a wide range of services, with a choice of:
- Bath and shampoo (often with anti-flea and anti-tick shampoo)
- Hair brushing and trimming (often with detangling where required)
- Deshedding treatment (removing excess dead hair from the undercoat)
- Blow dry (usually followed by a brushing). A drying session can take from 20 minutes (for a small, shorthaired dog) to an hour (for a large, hairy dog)
- Hair styling (including adding in any bows or other ornamentation you might choose)
- Dematting treatments (requiring special skill to not cause your dog any pain)
- Anal gland expressions (dogs express their anal glands to mark their territory, but some dogs can’t do this on their own. Unexpressed anal glands can become irritated, so some dog groomers offer this service to help keep your dog healthy)
- Eye cleaning
- Ear cleaning
- Nail trimming (not all groomers offer this service as it can be delicate and time-consuming)
- Nail polish (really!)
- Teeth brushing
Spa Treatments At Some Dog Groomers
In addition to the above, some places offer spa treatments as well, which can take even longer! You can find spa treatments for dogs such as:
- Mud baths
- Mobility treatments
- Jacuzzi baths
- Hair coloring
- Deep conditioning
- Tear stain treatment
- Whitening treatment (for their fur)
- Deluxe pawdicures
If you want to go all out for your dog, you can spend as long as an entire day at some grooming salons.
Why Does Grooming Take So Long?
There are many factors that explain why grooming takes so long, such as waiting times, your dog’s behavior, and dealing with the unexpected such as accidents or fleas.
Waiting Times at the Groomer’s
Sometimes grooming can take an extra long time, not because of the services but because of the waiting time.
Popular groomers who only groom one pet at a time can often have a line of people waiting, although the standard of grooming tends to be better as your dog is getting personal attention.
Some groomers can have an hour or two of waiting time before you get your dog to the table.
Your Dog’s Behavior
If your dog is placid and calm while being groomed, the process can be quite quick and easy. If, however, your dog is nervous or excited when the groomer gets out the clippers, grooming may take longer.
The groomer can’t clip your dog’s nails if he is very excited and wants to run around: it may be your dog needs to relax first, which can take some time.
On the other hand, if your dog is frightened and withdrawn, he may need reassurance. Calming a nervous dog can take time, too.
Some dogs require groomers to go very slowly so that the dogs don’t become too stressed. Expert groomers want the process to be as calming as possible for your dog, so they will go at your dog’s pace.
If you insist on being present, the grooming process is likely to take much longer, as your presence impacts your dog’s behavior (see below).
Dealing With The Unexpected
Even with everyone’s best efforts, accidents can happen at the groomer’s, whether it’s an injury with clippers or a reaction to a soap allergy.
Groomers are well-trained to deal with potential accidents, so they will take all necessary steps, including involving a vet if needed.
As your dog’s health is the priority over his appearance, these types of interventions may add time to the grooming process but are essential.
Unwanted Visitors (Fleas)
If your groomer discovers your dog has fleas, taking them out and killing them will become a priority.
De-flea treatments will add necessary time to the grooming process, including a thorough combing to make sure any little beasties have gone.
Should I Stay With My Dog At The Groomers?
Generally speaking, groomers prefer it if you don’t stay with your dog during his grooming session unless there’s a very good reason.
Why You Might Stay With Your Dog During Grooming
First Time Visits
Some dog groomers will let you stay during your dog’s first visit but will usually request that you leave your dog on his own for subsequent visits.
If a valid medical reason requires you to stay with your dog, inform your groomer ahead of time so that they can take this into account and be prepared.
Sometimes dogs with severe cases of separation anxiety are best groomed with their (quiet) owner nearby to stay calm. If this is the case, try to be as unobtrusive as possible (see below).
Why You Shouldn’t Stay With Your Dog During Grooming
Most of the time, groomers don’t want you staying with your dog for various reasons, such as:
It Will Be Easier For Your Dog To Settle Down
Dogs behave differently when their people aren’t around – usually, they are less excitable.
Your groomer is most efficient when working with your dog on a one-to-one basis. Part of the process is getting to know your dog, which they can’t do if you are there because your dog will focus on you and your reactions.
Your presence can add hours to the grooming session!
Easier For The Groomer
At the same time, the groomer will likely work much better without an owner watching over their shoulder.
Think about how you feel if someone is watching you while you work – are you more or less efficient?
Groomers prefer to get on with the job without owners making comments on the process or distracting the dog.
Grooming Will Be Quicker
Your dog will find the process easier and quicker.
Because your dog usually looks to you for direction, if you aren’t there, he will have to put his trust in the groomer.
This means the grooming process becomes an agreement between your dog and the groomer.
The groomer will be able to handle your dog more easily because your dog is more likely to follow their lead without your presence.
Most groomers’ insurance doesn’t cover other people being involved in the grooming process.
They will have the appropriate insurance and licenses to cover themselves in a professional capacity, but their place of business does not include you as a participant or even as a spectator.
Other people’s dogs may not appreciate your presence.
If your groomer has back-to-back appointments, they won’t necessarily want you hanging out in the waiting room with other dogs.
The owners of these other dogs may not want or appreciate a stranger approaching or talking to their dogs or even stressing them out by their presence.
Some dogs are particularly sensitive to strangers, so it’s not fair on them to enforce your presence without their consent for what can already be a stressful experience for them.
Your groomer works to a schedule and they want to be on time for everyone.
All groomers will take the time to talk to you about what you want for your dog, but they won’t want to spend time chatting to you during the process when there are lots of other dogs waiting.
Because your presence will make the session take longer, that extra time will eat into your groomer’s schedule and put everyone behind.
What To Do While Your Dog Is Being Groomed
What to do while your dog is being groomed depends on whether you are in the room with him or not.
If You Are In The Room With Your Dog
If there are medical reasons why you need to be in the same room as your dog (see above), make sure you keep a low profile.
You want to be as unobtrusive as possible so that the groomer can form their own relationship with your dog:
- Try not to look at your dog, as he will take direction from you rather than from the groomer
- Keep silent if you can, perhaps reading a book – your dog will take comfort from your presence, but you won’t be distracting the groomer with questions or comments
- Don’t participate in the process unless you are requested to do so by the groomer. The only participation an owner should engage in while their dog is being groomed by a professional is to perhaps offer a treat or a word of comfort – and again, this is at the groomer’s request and discretion
Note: If you know your dog is highly nervous around grooming tools such as dryers or baths, try to take the appropriate steps to help desensitize your dog to the grooming process before you take him to the groomer. They will thank you for it, and so will your dog!
If You Are Not In The Room With Your Dog
If you are not in the grooming room with your dog, the best thing is to leave the premises. Ask the groomer where you can wait nearby. Some places have separate cafés or outdoor areas for this purpose.
You don’t want to distract other dogs who might be waiting for their turn, so don’t linger in the waiting room once you have given all of the relevant information to the groomer.
Be sure to leave your contact details so that your groomer can call you when your dog’s grooming is complete.
If you have to leave the premises to find a café or shop, don’t go too far. You don’t want your groomer to have to wait for you any longer than needed to pick up your dog.
Groomers are busy people, and a good groomer with excellent references and reputation will probably be very busy. Cooperate with them and do your bit to keep the process as smooth as possible, not only for your dog but for other dog owners too.
2-3 hours is what you can expect, for the most part.
But that’s for a full groom.
If you require a simple trim on a large dog at an experienced breeder who has worked on your dog before and your book in an appointment, there is no reason it couldn’t be a little quicker.
But chances are, if you are here, you are yet to take your dog for its first groom.
So do expect a little longer. Especially in the beginning.
Check out my other dog grooming guides:
- Do You Tip Dog Groomers? [Is It Typical & Expected?]
- Dog Groomer Tip Calculator [How Much You Should Offer]
- 13 Gifts For Dog Groomers To Show Your Appreciation
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.