If you’re an animal lover, you’re probably considering a career where you get to interact with different pets. Grooming is our area of expertise…dog grooming, to be precise! But, there are other types of groomers out there, too. While not as common, other pets do require grooming.

You’re probably weighing your training options if you want to become a certified groomer. There are two main types of courses you can take: dog grooming and animal grooming. We’re here to tell you a bit about the differences between the courses and careers in each discipline.

Continue reading to find out what course is right for you!

Dog Grooming Courses

We’ll start with our favorite, dog grooming! Can you blame us? Dogs are one of the world’s favorite pets! Professional dog grooming courses focus on preparing students for careers in working with dogs. Depending on where you’re located, some breeds may be more popular than others. Luckily, a dog grooming course covers them all!

Dogs are categorized by their fur/hair as well as their coat types. Your course will teach you how to identify which group a dog belongs to, and how to groom them accordingly.

Your dog grooming course should teach you about dog anatomy, health and safety and the dog grooming industry. You’ll also learn about skincare. Have you ever seen a dog with a dry coat or rough patches of exposed skin? That’s not what owners want! A healthy coat starts from the skin, so your course will introduce you the techniques to care for it. You need this knowledge base before you can start grooming peoples’ beloved pets!

A dog grooming course will also teach you how to handle emergencies. Whether they happen to you or a dog, you need to be prepared. A dog grooming course will teach you about canine first aid. This way you can respond to any injuries until you get in touch with the vet, if necessary.

Next up is the fun stuff. It’s probably what you expect to learn in a dog grooming course! You’ll learn how to groom dogs from start to finish. This includes washing and drying the dogs, trimming, cleaning and finally grooming. Since there are so many different breeds of dogs, you’ll need to know about different breed standards and cuts.

After completing your dog grooming course, you’ll know A LOT about dogs. From their anatomy to behavior to fur types, you’ll be an expert. That’s one of the main advantages of specialized training!

golden retriever in purple field

Animal Grooming Courses

Animal grooming courses are dog grooming courses’ not-so-distant cousin. Many of the foundational lessons are the same, but there are a couple key differences.

The first and most obvious difference lies the scope of the course. While dog grooming focuses primarily on soft, fluffy canines, animal grooming doesn’t have the same focus. Dogs aren’t the only animals that require cleaning and grooming to maintain their health. Although it is less common, there are companion animals like cats and bunnies that are taken for grooms. An animal grooming course will teach you how to groom these companions – even though it’s much more challenging. The thing is, unlike dogs, cats and bunnies don’t handle grooming quite so well. These animals are less interactional, so your course will teach you how to deal with their resistive behaviors.

Besides companion animals, there are also a variety of others that can use grooming. Depending on how advanced your animal grooming course is, you may or may not cover them. The purpose of grooming is to maintain health and improve the aesthetics of animals. This applies to livestock too. There is a whole industry based on showing livestock. Animals are judged based on their movements and their appearance. That’s where animal groomers can help!

Animal grooming courses may also cover grooming animals for safety purposes. Sometimes, animals have features that can harm their caretakers. Farm birds are one example of this. Chickens and hens often require debeaking. This is to prevent biting and them catching on fences. The same applies to cattle that may require dehorning. This definitely isn’t the glamorous side of animal grooming but it is necessary nonetheless!

cat on desk with flowers

Career Outlook

Based on the type of grooming course you take, your career could look quite different. With a dog grooming course, you have a few options. You can either go the self-employment route or work for a veterinarian or pet store. Your choice will ultimately depend on whether you want to be your own boss or not. Regardless of which career path you choose, your days will look fairly similar. You will have multiple clients scheduled a day, all requiring different grooms and cuts. Variety will come from the different dogs you take on as clients.

With an animal grooming course, you will also have the option of becoming self-employed or seek employment. If you are interested in running your own business, there are more risks because other animals can be more difficult to groom. Be sure to have the proper insurance! You’ll most likely find yourself travelling to your clients throughout the day. Cats, bunnies and cows don’t hop as easily into a car, after all! In this career, your variety will come from the different types of animals you groom.

Do your research! Don’t hesitate to speak to groomers in your area if you’re not sure where you want your training to be. Your qualifications will change depending on your course, so choose wisely. That being said, you’ll have a rewarding career no matter which path you take!

Are you interested in a dog grooming career? Take our quiz to see if you have what it takes!

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