When you adopt a certain breed of dog, like a poodle, you expect they will need regular grooming. Other breeds, like Labradors, aren’t usually associated with regular trips to the groomer. Some things you can easily do at home, like baths or even nail trims if you feel comfortable. Other times, taking your pup to a groomer can be easier and better for you and your dog. What are some benefits of taking your dog to a professional groomer in Annandale? Read on and we will highlight some ways a professional grooming session can help your dog.

Nail trims

One of the things that seems to be a perennial struggle between owners and their dogs is nail trims. Some dog stand perfectly still and are great when their owners trim their nails. Others struggle and squirm and can even hurt their owners without meaning to. Many owners are scared to “quick” or cut their dog’s nails too short and cause them to bleed. This is understandable, especially if your dog has dark or black nails and you can’t see the quick easily. Groomers will do nail trims alone (your vet or the groomer at you vet can do this as well) or in a package with a bath or other grooming session. They are experienced with nail trims and, if your dog is a squirmer, will have backup to help hold them. Sometimes dogs are even better and calmer for groomers or other people trimming their nails than their owners. Some groomers use regular nail clippers, while other use Dremels or similar devices that may be able to get the nails shorter or less sharp than clippers. If you or someone in your home has a problem that would be aggravated by dog nails scratching them, having a groomer Dremel or file the nails can be very helpful.

Anal glands

Anal glands can cause irritation and even pain for your dog. These are small sacs under the tail that are usually expressed when the dog goes to the bathroom. If your dog does not express these naturally for a variety of reasons, they can get impacted or even abscess and will need medical treatment. Though some owners are comfortable expressing anal glands at home, it can be messy and smelly and most prefer to have a groomer or veterinary professional take care of it. Groomers usually express anal glands as part of a grooming package. It is best to have this done by an experienced groomer, as not expressing them correctly can also cause damage or discomfort. If your groomer works with a veterinarian, sometimes they will ask the veterinary professional to perform the anal gland expression if they find anything abnormal.


Some dogs love baths! Others, not so much. Baths can quickly turn into a messy struggle at home. Regular baths can help allergic dogs by removing pollens or other allergens from their coats and soothing shampoos can help them feel better overall. Human shampoo can be sometimes too irritating to dogs, as it strips all their natural oils and can cause dry skin. Groomers usually have a variety of shampoos at their disposal and can pick the best one for your dog, whether they need a hypoallergenic type or a soothing rinse. Groomers also have special bathing tubs that are easy for dogs to get in or out of, or they have lifts that can help older dogs getting in or out (this will also save your back and the groomer’s). If you want to do baths at home in between professional sessions, your groomer can recommend a good shampoo or spray to help your dog look and feel their best.

Brushing and clipping

Though you should brush your dog regularly (it helps not only the coat but also helps you notice any lumps, bumps, or scratches that may pop up), sometimes it is easier for a groomer to brush your dog, especially if they have any mats or tangles. If you have a dog with longer hair, like a collie or Afghan hound, this may need to be done frequently. Other dogs may be able to go several months between professional brushing sessions. Some owners prefer their dog to have their fur clipped or cut. Dogs like poodles have hair that grows continually but does not shed, so it will need to be cut every so often. Other dogs, like Samoyeds, have long thick coats that can become hard to manage. Your groomer will know a variety of cuts for each dog breed and can make suggestions or recommendations for you to choose from. Some longer-haired dogs may seem like they need a full shave down in the summer, but this may actually leave them vulnerable to sunburn or heatstroke. Your groomer can help make recommendations for all seasons and scenarios to keep your pup most comfortable.

Finding concerns before they become problems

Professional groomers will give your dog a full look-over, from eyes and ears to paws and nails, and everything in between. They will keep you informed about any concerns they see, like lumps, bumps, cysts, or scratches. If they see your dog regularly, they can note any differences from the last visit as well. Some groomers are associated with vets or located in the same facility and will call you if they find a problem they think the vet should look at (you will have to give consent for this to happen). Groomers also clean ears and eyes and can note anything that looks like an infection or problem.

Though professional grooming comes at a cost, it can be worth it to have your dog bathed, cleaned, and checked out all at once. Often dogs will be better behaved for groomers than they are for their owners (they know what they can play on their owner’s emotions to get out of a bath, for instance!). Groomers can make the best recommendations for cuts, grooming tools, or shampoos that will help your dog feel (and look) their best!

Columbia Pike Animal Hospital
& Emergency Center

4205 Evergreen Ln.
Annandale, VA 22003

(703) 256-8414