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Your Complete Guide To How Much To Tip A Dog Groomer

how much to tip dog groomer

Wondering how much to tip a dog groomer? We may not give it much thought, but our visits to the doggy parlor are essential to our dog’s maintenance and welfare.

What’s more, they carry out those tricky (and icky!) jobs we struggle to do ourselves, such as trimming away poopy hair, overgrown nails, or fur between the paw pads that we may not be able to reach ourselves.

Good groomers will do far more than make our four-legged loved ones pretty. They build a bond with our dogs, assess their health, and do all the jobs we can’t do ourselves. So what is good doggy parlor etiquette, and how do we show our appreciation?

How Much Do You Trip A Dog Groomer?

Dog parlor tipping etiquette dictates that your tip a pet groomer between $16 and $30. In most cases, handing over a $20 bill should cover it. This is because in a relatively normal one-hour grooming session with a good groomer, it’s standard to tip 20% of the groomer. If this is a bit much, aim for at least 15%.

And the average cost of having your dog professionally groomed is $80 to $150, depending on the area and your dog’s needs.

But several factors can affect how much you tip a groomer.

When you should tip your groomer more than 20%

If possible, tip more than 20% in the following scenarios:

  • If you have a dog that is nippy or difficult to groom, especially if other parlors have refused to groom your dog. A big tip can help you keep a good groomer who can handle your dog.
  • Suppose you have a large or giant dog with a thick coat, such as a St. Bernard or Newfoundland. Dog breeds with double coats in the middle of shedding seasons, prone to sitting as they cannot stand for long periods, take much longer to groom her, so a larger tip is appropriate.
  • Give a big tip if you have a fearful or aggressive dog that your groomer can manage effectively. This applies whether the dog is a Rottweiler or a Chihuahua.
  • Consider a bigger tip if you have a very old dog or a dog with special needs. However, if you have a tiny toy dog, it’s equally important to tip well since they are vulnerable to broken bones and irreparable throat damage.
  • If your dog has severe matting or other fur problems your groomer needs to attend to,
  • A bigger tip is in order if your dog has special grooming needs, such as a special show cut for competition. Breeds like the Bichon Frise, Afghan Hound, Portuguese Water Dog, or Puli may need expert grooming, and a larger tip is best.
  • Tip more than 20% if your groomer does more than need to. If they remove plaque from your dog’s teeth or clean out a small yeast infection in the ears without being asked to, it’s good to tip for the extra concern they show your dog.

Also, consider the type of equipment your groomer needs to use for your dog. From hypoallergenic dog shampoos, special grooming hammocks and harnesses, dog perfume sprays, and treats, to high-velocity pet grooming dryers, the best grooms don’t come cheap.

What to tip your groomer over the holidays

If you have a long-standing relationship with your groomer, who your dog sees regularly, don’t forget to tip them if you go away for the holidays. A good rule of thumb is to give them 100% of one average dog grooming session.

So if a standard session costs you $80, and it’s getting to Christmas, you can give them $80 to show your appreciation for the role they play in your dog’s life. Alternatively, a gift basket or a bottle of wine can also work.

When you should tip your groomer 10 to 20%

It’s fine to tip between 10 and 20% if:

  • You have a medium or small short-coated dog that only needs a basic wash and dry with no additional treatments like trimming or de-shedding.
  • Your dog is easy to handle, obedient, and makes no fuss during a dog grooming session.
  • The grooming session is less than 30 mins.

When to leave less than 10% or no tip at all

Tip your groomer minimally, or leave no tip at all if:

  1. The tip is automatically included in the bill
  2. You were unsatisfied with service, particularly if you suspect your dog was badly handled
  3. You only needed something quick done, such as a nail trim, that took no longer than 15 mins.
  4. They did not do what you asked. Suppose you took your dog for a light trim and found them shaved. In that case, there is certainly no need to tip. See our article on how long it takes dog hair to grow back after being shaved.
  5. If you need a groomer but find you can’t afford any extra fees, rather have forego the tip than ignore your dog’s grooming needs.

How Much To Tip A Groomer For A Small Dog

How much you tip a groomer for small dogs depends on the dog. Handling an aggressive and nippy Chihuahua deserves a big tip, as does handling a Pomeranian with a collapsing trachea or fragile bones. Likewise, if you want to maintain the full luxurious coat of a Lhasa Apso or a Shih Tzu, don’t skimp on that 20% tip.

However, you can tip 10 to 15% if you have a short-coated, easy-to-handle small dog like a well-behaved Dachshund or Boston Terrier that doesn’t require more than the bare minimum.

How Much To Tip A Dog Groomer For A Large Or Giant Dog

Tipping 15 to 20% for a large dog with short hair that is not shedding, like a Dobermann, is fine, so long as the dog is friendly and obedient and all they need is a wash, nail clipping, and a dry.

However, for giant dogs who struggle to stand, have dense or thick coats, or large German Shepherds and Huskies that are shedding, make sure to tip 20% or more. These dogs can easily take up to two hours or more to groom properly.

Why Should You Tip Your Dog Groomer?

Pet groomers are usually underpaid for the service they render. In many places, groomers only receive about $10 000 annually, and most dog groomers’ wages are a mere $13.45 an hour. So, tips are an essential part of their income. Naturally, salon and parlor owners earn more, especially in affluent areas and cities where pet parents spend more to get their dogs looking perfect.

Unsurprisingly, the highest-paid groomers are in San Francisco, and they can be paid so much that they pull the median national annual pay for groomers up to $40 000. But this sadly isn’t the case for most dedicated groomers who care for our dogs around the country.

Why our groomers deserve more

It’s a popular misconception that dog groomers have a great job playing with puppies and kittens all day. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, being an employed dog groomer is a job that relies on a passion for dogs. Still, it is also a very physically taxing and occasionally dangerous one that takes tremendous experience and expertise.

To get a rough idea of the amount of effort it can take to groom a dog, just see this video:

Of course, most groomers aren’t grooming Samoyeds all day long. But even so, the list of services they supply goes far beyond what we might imagine. Aside from simply washing, brushing, and trimming, a good dog groomer:

  1. Assesses our dog for health issues such as skin issues, suspicious lumps and bumps, ear infections, parasites, and nail problems. They are often the first to warn us of a health issue we may have missed.
  2. Takes care of common hygiene issues that cause health problems and infections. This includes trimming the excess hair between the toes, ears, and eyes, clipping poopy hair away from their genitals, and removing matting.
  3. Performs several services we can struggle to do ourselves, such as clipping nails or getting that perfect Instagram-worthy show cut.
  4. Deals with fragile dogs that need careful handling because of their age, health, or size.
  5. Helps soothe dogs who are fearful and stressed by the whole experience (don’t forget to read up on why dogs hate baths.)
  6. Deals with aggressive or distressed dogs and frequently risks being nipped or bitten.
  7. Takes care of various dogs with special needs that can complicate matters further, including mastiffs who refuse to stand, super shedders, or neglected dogs who need their coats shaved.

This is not an exhaustive list of what groomers must do, but it should paint a picture of why they deserve a tip.

Help! I forgot to tip my dog groomer!

If you forgot to tip your groomer, don’t worry. If you have a standing relationship with the doggy parlor, you can simply call them and apologize. Offer Venmo your groomer $20, drop it off if you’re in the area, or make a note and tip them double on your next session.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much to tip a dog groomer at PetSmart?

So long as the service is good, you should tip Petsmart Groomers. They receive roughly 40 to 50% commission on each groom, meaning they get less than $14 per hour. Tip 20% for a good groom, or between $10 and $20. Adjust tips according the factors we mention above.

Do you tip dog groomers for nail trims?

If you take your dog in only to clip nails, only tipping a couple of dollars to say thank you is fine, so long as your dog is easy to trim. Tip $5 to $10 if your dog is difficult and puts up a fuss, and make sure you give a giant tip if your dog nips or bites the groomer and they don’t want to press charges.

If possible, get the groomer to show you how to trim your dog’s nails at home because trimming nails at home is far less stressful for your dog. You can read more in our article on how to cut a dog’s nails at home.

Do you tip dog groomers at Pet Supplies Plus?

If you are happy with the job, it’s a good idea to tip your groomer at Pet Supplies Plus about 20% for grooming your dog. In most cases, a $10 to $20 dollar bill is enough, but give a bit extra if your dog is difficult to groom, either because they have a tricky coat, a difficult temperament, or health issues that need careful handling.

Final Thoughts

A simple google search for “dog groomers near me” should help you find a pet groomer easily, but finding the right groomer for your dog can be tougher. A good groomer is far more than someone who gives your dog a wash and a brush.

In fact, their services are pretty vital, so tipping them is a good way to show your appreciation for the way someone cared for your dog. In most cases, 20% is standard, but several factors may mean you should adjust for more or less.


Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

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