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Study Shows Pro Grooming Is Better at Curbing Dog Itching Than DIY

Data collected by The Pet Insight Project proves our kitchen sink salons aren’t quite cutting it.

by Sio Hornbuckle
November 21, 2022
a large fluffy white Poodle dog being groomed
Studio Firma / Stocksy

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As pet parents, it can sometimes be hard to tell what’s worth the big bucks. Does my dog need a fancy dog bed if they end up sleeping at the foot of my bed in the end? Should I buy them packaged treats or make my own? How different is a Tick Tornado from a regular pair of tweezers, anyway?

It’s rational to want to cut costs wherever possible, and there are often safe, effective ways to do so (though you should seriously swap your tweezers for a Tick Tornado ASAP). But DIY has its limits, and sometimes the pro options live up to the hype. A new study finds that, especially when it comes to dog grooming, you’re gonna want to call in for backup.

In a study provided to The Wildest, The Pet Insight Project monitored 200 dogs using data gathered from their Whistle health trackers. The team compared the activity data of 193 dogs a week before and a week after grooming appointments and found that licking and scratching was reduced by 25 percent in dogs who received solely professional grooming service, 10 percent in dogs receiving a mix of pro and home grooming, and only four percent in dogs receiving only home grooms. To put it simply, the study found that professional grooming is five times better for your pup’s health than home grooming.

Dr. Aletha Carson, a veterinarian and senior manager of data and clinical studies at Pet Insight, thinks there are a few reasons for the large difference between DIY results and pro results. Thanks to their years of training and experience, professional groomers are primed to spot and help address tricky issues, such as ear infections and skin issues.

They also have a huge array of equipment, including professional-grade tools: clippers, shears, and dryers that can yield great results. Dr. Carson also says attention to detail is important; professional groomers are able to give singular focus to a dog’s skin and fur from head-to-tail. It’s their literal job to get all these things right.

The data confirms what many dog parents have already witnessed when pups get the post-groom zoomies: Grooming with a professional makes them look and feel better. As usual, there are ways you can help your pup at home, so don’t throw away the dog shampoo yet. But if you have an especially itchy or fluffy pup, the data’s clear: The happiest (dapper) pup is one with a professional hairdresser on speed dial.

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Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.