Should You Tip Your Dog Groomer? Why & How Much

Yes, tipping your dog groomer is not only customary but a thoughtful way to show appreciation for their hard work and dedication to keeping your furry friend looking fabulous. Think of it like tipping your hairstylist – your dog deserves that same level of pampered treatment!

Why Tipping Dog Groomers Matters

It’s a Demanding Job: Dog groomers need physical stamina to stand for long periods, the dexterity to handle precise tools safely, and knowledge of canine anatomy and different coat types.

Handling Dogs with Compassion: Groomers must be patient with dogs of all energy levels, understand dog behavior to ease anxiety, and carefully handle matted fur or sensitive areas.

Staying Up-to-Date: Groomers invest in continuing education and specialized equipment. Your tips help them provide top-notch tools and the latest safe grooming techniques for your pup.

How Much to Tip Your Dog Groomer

The standard tipping range for dog groomers is 15-20% of the total grooming cost. However, consider these factors to personalize your tip and show your appreciation even more:

Dog Size and Coat: Large dogs or those with thick, double coats require more time and effort to groom thoroughly. A higher tip (up to 25%) reflects the additional work involved.

Matting and Behavior: Severe matting can take hours to remove humanely, and difficult dogs may require extra patience and expertise. A tip on the higher end (20-25%) acknowledges this extra effort.

Extra Services: Did your groomer go above and beyond with teeth brushing, nail grinding, a festive bandana, or a calming treatment for an anxious pup? A slightly higher tip or a small additional cash gift shows your gratitude.

Holidays and Special Occasions: A generous holiday bonus or tip after a particularly complicated groom is a great way to show your appreciation for your groomer’s dedication.

Table: Suggested Tip Increases for Dog Grooming

Should You Tip Your Dog Groomer
Image Credit: Edwin Tan/istockphoto
FactorSuggested Tip IncreaseExplanation
Dog Size & Coat Type
Small, single coatBaseline (15-20%)Minimal grooming time required
Medium, single/double coat+5%More fur and possible increased grooming time
Large, single/double coat+10%Significant grooming effort and expertise needed
Any size, extra thick/long coat+15-20%Specialized grooming, more time, higher skill level
Behavioral Issues
Mild anxiety+5%Requires extra patience and calming techniques
Matting (moderate)+10%Time-consuming untangling, often uncomfortable for the dog
Matting (severe)+15-20%Significantly more time, specialized techniques, possible discomfort/stress for groomer and dog
Extra Services
Nail grinding/filing+$5 or +3%Additional time and specialized tools
Teeth brushing+$5 or +3%Extra service and supplies used
Festive add-ons (bandana, bows)+$5 or +3%Shows appreciation for going the extra mile

Tipping Etiquette

Cash is Preferred: Many groomers rely on tips to supplement their income, and cash immediately benefits them.

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Even a Small Tip Shows Appreciation: If your budget is tight, even a small tip accompanied by a sincere “thank you” is meaningful. Every little bit counts!

Communicate Openly: If you’re ever unsure about what to tip, don’t hesitate to ask your groomer about their preferences or common tipping practices at their salon.

The Power of “Thank You”

While a generous tip is fantastic, genuine appreciation goes a long way. A handwritten note or verbal thank you for a great groom, mentioning something specific you liked (e.g., “Buster looks so handsome! I love the way you trimmed his face”), will brighten your groomer’s day!

Real Groomer Insights

Should You Tip Your Dog Groomer
Image Credit: Group4 Studio/istockphoto

We spoke to Sarah Jones, a professional dog groomer with over 10 years of experience, to get an insider’s perspective:

“The most challenging part of the job can be dealing with severely matted coats. It’s uncomfortable for the dog, time-consuming to remove carefully, and requires extra tools. A good tip on these grooms is always appreciated.”

“Tips are a big part of our income, and they help us afford to keep our equipment top-notch and take continuing education courses. It allows us to provide the best possible service to all our furry clients.”

“Sometimes, clients might forget that we provide treats and calming aids for their dogs throughout the grooming process. While a cash tip is always welcome, some thoughtful clients might bring in a bag of our dog’s favorite treats or a gift card to a pet supply store – that’s a wonderful way to show appreciation too.” 

– Sarah Jones, Professional Dog Groomer

Ask a Vet: Why Grooming Matters

We consulted Dr. Emily Williams, a licensed veterinarian, to understand the importance of regular grooming:

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“Regular grooming isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s crucial for your dog’s health. Matted fur can trap moisture, leading to skin irritation and infections. Grooming helps identify potential health issues like lumps, bumps, or parasites early on.” 

“A good groomer can also provide valuable insights into your dog’s overall health based on their skin and coat condition. They can alert you to any concerns that might warrant a visit to your veterinarian.” 

– Dr. Emily Williams, Veterinarian

Tipping Beyond the Salon

Here’s a quick guide for other dog grooming scenarios:

Mobile groomers: The standard 15-20% still applies. Remember, they handle all the driving, setup, and have higher overhead costs for the mobile unit. A tip on the higher end is especially appreciated for their convenience.

Pet store groomers: Corporate policies may differ, so it’s good to ask up front. Some have a tip jar, others may not accept tips directly. If in doubt, consider a small gift or positive online reviews instead.

Self-service dog washes: Tipping isn’t expected here. Bringing your own supplies and cleaning up thoroughly so the next person has a pleasant experience is a great way to show courtesy.

Tipping Alternatives

If your budget is tight, that doesn’t mean you can’t show gratitude! Consider these options:

High-quality treat donations: Ask your groomer if there are specific treats or chew toys the dogs in their care love.

Positive online reviews: Detailed reviews on their website, Google, Yelp, or social media help them attract new clients.

Gift cards: To pet supply stores or local businesses. Even a coffee shop gift card shows you appreciate their hard work.

Referrals: If you love your groomer, recommend them to friends and neighbors! It’s the best way to support them.


Tipping your dog groomer is a way to recognize their expertise and the essential service they provide for both you and your beloved pet. A generous tip, a sincere “thank you”, and treating your groomer with respect will ensure your pup continues to get the star treatment they deserve – and build a great relationship for years to come!

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The photo featured below the post headline is Credit: Kukurund/istockphoto

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Frequently Asked Question

What if I’m unhappy with the groom?
Openly communicate your concerns with your groomer so they can address them. If the issue is unresolvable, a smaller tip is appropriate, but it’s important to give them a chance to rectify the situation.

Does tipping differ if the groomer is the salon owner?
While they keep all the revenue, they also have higher overhead costs for the business. A smaller tip (5-10%) is still a nice gesture while acknowledging their additional financial responsibilities.

How do I tip a mobile groomer?
Have the cash tip prepared in an envelope. Since they set their own prices, the standard 15-20% still applies. Remember, they handle all the driving and setup time!

Is it considered disrespectful if I don’t tip my dog groomer?
While it might not be outright rude, it goes against the common understanding in the service industry. Dog groomers work hard and often rely on tips to make a fair living. Choosing not to tip might send the unintended message that you were unhappy with their work.

How can I show my groomer extra gratitude around the holidays?
Consider tipping the cost of an extra grooming session for a generous holiday bonus! If that’s not feasible, doubling your usual tip or adding a small, thoughtful gift is a great way to say “thank you”.

I want to tip with my card, but the salon doesn’t have that option. What should I do?
Ask your groomer upfront! Many salons have a system for adding tips later, even if it’s not immediately obvious. If that’s not the case, a bit of cash tucked into a “thank you” card is a great way to make sure your tip goes directly to them.

Is it necessary to tip every time, even for a small service like a nail trim?
While not strictly mandatory, a small tip (even $5-$10) shows appreciation, especially for walk-in services that the groomer squeezes into their schedule.

Can I tip my groomer with a gift instead of cash?
Absolutely! Consider high-quality treats, gift cards to pet supply stores, or even a gift card to a local coffee shop to fuel their hard work. Thoughtfulness goes a long way!

My dog is always anxious at the groomer’s. Should I tip more?
Yes! Anxious dogs require extra patience, care, and sometimes longer appointment times. A slightly higher tip (20%+) recognizes the additional effort.

What if I groom my dog at home, but sometimes need a professional for specific things like sanitary trims?
Should I still tip?
Definitely! A smaller tip (10-15%) acknowledges the groomer’s expertise and specialized service, even if it’s not a full groom.

Are there any special tipping considerations for show dogs or dogs with competition-level grooming needs?
Yes! These grooms require specialized skills and more time. A higher baseline tip (starting at 20-25%) is appropriate.