Does a Dog Groomer Need a License?

city hallThe professions that most closely resemble dog grooming have strict regulations and licensing required.  Dog grooming typically does not have any strict rules and does not require any special licensing. There are some situations where you will need a different kind of license, such as owning your own grooming business or charging others for training. However, for the most part, anyone can currently call themselves a dog groomer and charge for services. States are taking notice of the complete lack of regulation for dog groomers and they are starting to propose state mandated legislation. To check your state’s current specific dog grooming legislation laws check your state’s local Small Business Association or whatever department of government seems applicable for your state.  If you aren’t sure about that, you can Google the phrase “business licenses and permits for the state of ……..”

Types of Licensing

Business License: Obviously, if you want to start your own dog grooming business, you will need to obtain a business license.   Pretty much every state in the U.S. has some kind of license to collect sales tax or just to register a new business.  Often times, if you live in a city, you will have some additional business permits to acquire.  The cost is minimal, but it will need to be renewed yearly and displayed in your business location. Some groomers who initially start out grooming from their home decide to bypass a business license. I wouldn’t recommend doing this because if you are caught by your state or your city the fees you will have to pay will be much larger than the initial cost of obtaining a license.

Training/Schooling License: For groomers who would like to use their skills to train others will need to obtain a training license. This is only needed for those who are going to be using their business only for training. If you are currently grooming and want to train a minimum amount of people your state should not require a license. It may help you attract potential students by obtaining a license and calling yourself a “licensed trainer”, but anyone who researches will understand that a training license really means very little.

Do Not Confuse Licensing with Certification

For a dog groomer, licensing and certification are two totally different things. Certification can be used to distinguish yourself from other grooming professionals, while licensing only allows you to comply with your state’s regulations. For better clarification, certification is offered through training and proving your skills; while licensing is obtain through an application at your local offices. Licensing does not prove that you are a skilled professional.  It only maintains your status as a legal business.

The Sad Reality

white dog looking upwardsThe sad reality is that until states take it upon themselves to regulate groomers, there will continue to be inexperienced people that are calling themselves professionals in order to make a quick buck. There are constant news stories that depict just how dangerous letting someone, who is not properly trained, groom an animal. Mutilation and death are common occurrences due to the lack of regulation. You can help by encouraging your local office to push for legislation that would require annual inspection of all groomers and grooming facilities. In addition, educate the public on the possible dangers of using an inexperienced groomer. It seems that the worse the economy gets, the more I see new people trying to start dog grooming out of their house, often for far less money than any professional can afford to charge. They don’t last long, but the damage that they do to the pet grooming business lingers.

11 Responses to Does a Dog Groomer Need a License?

  1. Deb Speelman says:

    I have started a petition on to address the need for licensing and oversight in this industry. My dog was injured and died as the result of an incompetent groomer leaving him on a table with the noose around his neck and walking away. Too many dogs are injured and killed. Please share. Thank you.

    • Raymond Monticello says:

      This sounds more like an accident rather than licensing. No matter how many licenses you require or certifications needed there will always be accidents. Sorry for your loss.

    • Hana says:

      A license is not going to prevent a dog from being injured at a grooming salon. Getting personal references on the shop & its owner, getting to know the hired help and checking reviews before handing over your dog to a groomer might. Small business owners can’t afford a bad rep, it will put them out of business, so they are generally more careful when handling pets personally. Some may not do much background on any hired help, but again, references will help there. What you want will only make it harder for truly caring people to do something most love doing, and make some sort of living at it.

  2. jenette barrett says:

    i have just had my dogs shaved at my vet’s office…the groomer nicked ALL THE NIPPES OF BOTH DOGS! what do i do? i have pics…

  3. Mel says:

    I am a dog groomer, I worked with a groomer who owned her own salon for 2 years when I found myself unemployed, I started grooming dogs for other people, I believe myself to be qualified to groom dogs, I am a mobile dog groomer, one of only 3 mobile groomers in town. I hope that grooming laws do not become more stringent so I can stay in business. Many of the the accidents that I have heard about have occured in places such as petsmart and petco and other prominent businesses.

    • Ambi says:

      You hear about them more because they’re a corporation. Local business get less focus when something bad happens. Funny story, the whole gluing wounds together was created by local mom and pop shops that glued up wounds and sent the dogs home without a word to their owners. This could never happen at Petco or PetSmart. If anything happens we let their pet parents know, then we take care of the vet bill, instead of letting you find out later.

      • A russell says:

        I am the director of a shelter and just had a call from a lady whose dog was cut in several places at PetCo. She wanted to file a complaint. She kept calling and was told the dog was not ready. When she got there at 6 the groomer was conveniently gone and she was given her injured dog. She asked to see the groomer and was told she went home early. The staff told her the groomer was new to the store. When the manager finally came around they did pay the vet bills. It happens everywhere

    • doris says:

      Referring to yourself as a dog groomer in the very first statement, without providing any credentials , or past training , or even education on caring for our “best friends” , is not at all why I lost faith in your capability of bathing and grooming any animal. Your closing derogatory remark concerning another business, actually multiple businesses, is what made me doubt your credibility.

    • Kim says:

      Government oversight is not the answer. Neither is certification or licensing or mandatory education. There are alternatives to using the government to be our babysitter.

  4. Misuk Ko says:

    I am thinking of opening my own grooming shop recently.
    So I have been researching about that and found your website.
    It is very useful and I learned a lot that I should know and consider
    before I start a grooming business.
    I appreciate it.

    I have a question.
    Do I need a grooming certificate to start my own grooming shop?
    I know that I need a business license but I can not find anywhere
    if I need a grooming certificate to open it.
    I am living in PA.

    I would be grateful if you could reply.

  5. Robert Suprise says:

    Every time my wife takes our dog to the groomer in about a two weeks the dog gets sick. The dog gets a high fever and will not eat or drink. Once we had to take her to the dog hospital and stay 2 days until the fever went down. We used to go to another groomer in our area and never had a problem. She had to move out of town. So the one my wife likes.I tell her go some place else. She will not listen.

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