It’s Spaw Day!
Keep your dog healthy, happy—and styling—with regular grooming! Plus, San Diego dog groomers we love.
A trip to the spa may be a privilege for us humans, but for our pups it’s not a foo-foo day, it’s a necessary day. Coat brushing, nail clipping and ear cleaning are no small feat for man’s best friend. And choosing the right groomer who knows how to use clippers for that perfect do can be as complicated as choosing the right stylist for our human coiffure.
For example, many years ago I had a Lhasa apso, a princess dog, named Susie. I took her to the groomer for her spring hair cut and learned that you have to be more specific with your instructions than just saying, “make her hair shorter.” At pick-up time, I couldn’t find Susie. The groomer decided to give her what she lovingly referred to as “the summer cut.” I simply hadn’t recognized my dog because, after what I would have not-so-lovingly called her “buzz cut,” she looked more like a Chihuahua than a Lhasa apso.
Even Susie was embarrassed. When we got home she headed for the family room and promptly hid behind the drapes. She would not come out even though I set her food bowl by the curtains. Her red carpet days of flowing hair and pink bows were over. It took three weeks of praise and assuring her I would never take her back to the Scissorhands of dog groomers again to get her back to the kitchen.
The take-away from this story? Before choosing a groomer, find one that, besides treating their dog clients well with safety in mind, excels in certain breeds. Your Irish wolfhound or Newfoundland probably needs to go to a groomer that handles large dogs and has the right equipment for your big guy. Get recommendations from another dog owner who considers their dog family. If this groomer is not nearby, go the extra mile(s)—literally. It will be worth it. A recommendation from a trusted friend will keep your dog safe and looking “dognamic.”
And speaking of recommendations, here are tips and some of my favorite establishments around town.
MY 10 Tips For Choosing a Dog Groomer
1. Ask for a tour. Is the facility clean and are the crates clean?
2. Confirm grooming certifications or educational experience. Do the groomers have enough knowledge about dogs, how to care for them and how to use the right tools? (Remember, they are using sharp implements like scissors and electric clippers.)
3. How long has the grooming establishment been in business?
4. Is there a package deal or extra costs? Extreme matting, teeth cleaning, special shampoo, etc. may cost more à la carte, but perhaps there is a full-service dog package that includes everything at a cheaper price.
5. What kind of products does the salon use on dogs? This is very important as your dog can be scratching and itching for days after the grooming. Bringing your own products can remedy this problem.
6. Does the facility have an observation window so you can watch how your dog is being handled? Are the groomers distracted?
7. How many animals do they allow in the facility at once?
8. What steps are taken to calm anxious or scared pups? How do they handle aggressive dogs?
9. Do they carry liablity insurance?
10. Set time lines. Your dog really doesn’t want to sit in a crate for hours waiting for you.
My San Diego Dog Groomer Recommendations
Full-Service Dog Groomers in San Diego
If wrestling with Brutus is too much of a challenge, there are many talented groomers in San Diego. Here are a few of them that I like:
105 Diana St., Encinitas, 760-753-7729
10855 Sorrento Valley Road, Ste. 5, Sorrento Valley, 858-558-7729,
Buddies & Babes
4071 Adams Ave., Kensington, 619-795-0555,
4030 Sports Arena Blvd., Point Loma,
(They have several locations, but I think Angie at the Point Loma location is an excellent groomer: @groomer19)
Doggies Divine Pet Grooming
2555 Morena Blvd., Bay Park, 619-276-2555,
Gabriel Feitosa Grooming Salon at the Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe
4219 Park Blvd., Hillcrest, 505-615-2213,
Gloria’s Pet Spa
7730 Herschel Ave., La Jolla, 858-454-1150
Otay Pet Vets & Pet Grooming
2015 Birch Road, #117, Chula Vista, 619-421-1698,
Sydnee’s Pet Grooming
• 429 Turquoise St., La Jolla, 858-454-7387
• 6525 Helen Woodward Way, Ste. A., Rancho Santa Fe, 858-756-4117 x2
• 310 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road, #106, San Marcos, 760-510-6690
• 437 Hwy. 101, Solana Beach, 858-704-4112
• 1605 S. Melrose Drive, Suite F, Vista, 442-224-7092,
Tami’s Tender Touch
8841 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, 619-465-7387
Ted’s Grooming Emporium and Pet Supply
3316 Governor Drive, University City, 858-642-74443,
The Buried Bone
13530 Poway Road, Poway, 858-513-9332,
Mobile Dog Groomers in San Diego
Want a groomer to come to you? Check out:
AAA K-9 Mobile Grooming
(Handles older dogs and cats)
Awesome Doggies Mobile Pet Grooming
Hilltop Dog Grooming
619-922-0608 (specializes in elderly dogs; hydraulic-equipped van for lifting)
Zip a Dee Doo Dogs Mobile
Self-Service Dog Groomers in San Diego
There are many roads to getting your dog fluffed to pawfection. They say if you want the job done right…then do it yourself! Look for organic shampoos or allergy-free products specially formulated for dogs with sensitive skin and coats. Two places I recommend that offer self-service wash packages and bathing products are:
South Bark Dog Wash
2037 30th St., South Park, 619-232-7387,
Laurel Street Dog Wash
425 Laurel St., downtown San Diego, 619-544-1100