The professional approach: Do Dog Groomers Wash or Cut First?

Do Dog Groomers Wash Or Cut First? Deciphering The Grooming Sequence



Anna Maria,Anna Maria is a content writer specializing in pet-related topics. 29th May 2024

Over the weekend, my dog groomer friend sent me a message “ I am grooming a Shih Tzu that has not seen a brush for so many months.  My hands are already starting to hurt”. I asked her if there were tricks to make grooming services faster and easier. 

Out of curiosity, I also asked the question “do dog groomers wash or cut first?”. According to her, it all depends on the dog groomer as it’s also on a case-to-case basis. I see the question – do dog groomers wash or cut first pop up on online dog grooming forums a lot of time. 

So, for today, we shall find out if pre-grooming before a bath is necessary or not. Do dog groomers wash or cut first? Let’s now discover the process of professional dog grooming and learn a thing or two about them.

Do Dog Groomers Wash Or Cut First? Advantages of Pre-Clipping A Dog’s Coat

Do dog groomers wash or cut first? Here are the reasons why some dog groomers prefer to cut the coat before bathing:

1. Pre-cutting significantly reduces the amount of coat to be shampooed

To save on cost, some dog groomers would rather cut before washing a dog because this calls for less shampoo. The economics behind dog grooming is something not to be taken for granted because that is crucial in operating a business. 

On average, dog groomers spend roughly $15.00/week on shampoo alone and this is one reason why some of them pre-cut before bathing a dirty pooch. 

Anyway, I asked my dog groomer friend what dog shampoo she recommends and these are her 2 faves:

1. Nature’s Specialties Plum Silky Conditioning Shampoo

This is a product widely used by dog groomers. It provides texture even to the most limp and unmanageable hair. It is infused with aloe vera and silk proteins to give out long-lasting shine. But don’t just take our word for it, try it for your pooch and you’ll be surprised with its amazing results.
  • Pros

    • Grooming industry dog shampoo standard
    • Trusted by many competitive dog groomers
    • Contains non-oily conditioner that gives texture and highlights to dull and limp coat
    • Safe for puppies as young as 6 weeks old

  • Cons

    • Not ideal for dogs with skin allergies.


Anthony | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“An eccentric neighbor of mine, who used to work at a pet salon, recommended this brand to me – according to him, it’s a fairly trusted brand that many pet grooming businesses use…”.

Heather | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“This has been the best shampoo I have found in my 7 years as a doodle mama. We have tried about everything, from 2-in-1s, shampoo with conditioner, conditioning shampoos, leave-in creams and mists, you name it..”.

2. Nature’s Specialties Plum Silky Conditioning Shampoo

Genetics influence skin sensitivity. Aside from heredity, your dog’s sensitive skin could be caused by food, a dry atmosphere, or fleas. As dog lovers, we understand how difficult it is to find a shampoo that nourishes, conditions, and does not contain skin-drying ingredients. 

Pro Pet Works is paraben-free and does not include alcohol or sulfates, making it an excellent alternative for dogs with skin issues.

  • Pros

    • It relieves dry and itchy skin
    • It cleans, moisturizes, and detangles coat
    • The powerful trio of aloe vera gel almond oil, and oatmeal is a heaven-sent for dogs with itchy skin
    • Tearless formula

  • Cons

    • Some dog owners say it does not lather well but otherwise, it cures their dogs’ skin issues.


Sue N. | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“The most healthy shampoo I ever found for my dogs! Great for skin, tangles, creates beautiful shines. Smells like a million dollars…”.

Olivia | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I got this shampoo for my cavalier as he was itching a lot last month and I noticed dandruff on his back. This stuff doesn’t have much of a smell and makes his fur so soft and shiny! It did help eliminate his dandruff…”.

2. Pre-clipping also reduces the drying time 

Do dog groomers wash or cut first? Some of them prefer to cut before washing. 

Can you imagine how long it takes to dry a long-haired or a double-coated dog? To style better, most groomers would work on a dry coat so they can achieve the breed-specific cut they’re aiming for. 

But take note, dog groomers resort to hair dryers that are made specifically for pets to prevent skin dryness and itchiness. If you want to invest in a pet hair dryer, here’s what my dog groomer uses:

1. Dopict Pet Dryer

Why would we recommend the Dopict Pet Dryer to you? The first feature is its powerful and steady motor, which can dry dog hair quickly. Second, there are three nozzles, which are ideal if you have dogs with varying coat texture and length. The third feature of this product is its portability. 

  • Pros

    • It comes with a sound-absorbing substance that minimizes the high-decibel sound that can scare away dogs
    • The filter is easy to clean
    • Has varying wind speeds
    • Temperature is adjustable

  • Cons

    • This product could have been perfect if not for its short power cord.


Mastiff Mike | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“It’s super powerful, solidly built, and much quieter than I thought it’d be. I put off buying it for so long because people said it’s as loud as a vacuum, which drives my dogs crazy. However, it’s not as loud as my vacuum…”.

Genie Ram | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I recently had the opportunity to try out a Pet Hair Dryer, and overall, it has been a convenient tool for drying my furry friend after baths or rainy walks…”.

Do Dog Groomers Wash Or Cut First: Advantages of Pre-Bathing A Dog’s Coat 

Do dog groomers wash or cut first? Dog groomers have valid reasons why they’d rather wash before cutting and here are the reasons why:

1. Pre-bathing gets the dogs as clean as possible 

Double-coated dogs such as a German Shepherd allow dog groomers to shampoo the coat thoroughly. Plus, applying conditioner on severely matted portions makes it easier and faster to remove heavy mats and tangles. 

Speaking of conditioner, have you tried applying conditioner onto your pooch’s coat for a sleeker and softer coat? If not, check this out:

1. Zesty Paws Itch-Soother Dog Conditioner

A lot of dog groomers swear by the benefits of conditioner especially on long-haired dogs and curly-haired like a Goldendoodle. The Zesty Paws Itch-Soother Conditioner contains oatmeal that moisturizes the skin as well as shea butter for healthier skin and coat.

  • Pros

    • Leaves a long-lasting vanilla scent
    • A bath conditioner that is safe for puppies
    • Can be used on all dogs, regardless of hair texture and length
    • A great choice for detangling severely matted coat

  • Cons

    • Some say it’s difficult to rinse


Caitlin | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I bathed 2 chow chows and 1 miniature schnauzer with this shampoo and conditioner combo. The owners were thrilled and said they’ve never felt their dogs so soft!…”.

Harry | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“I’ve only used it once. Others had said it was difficult to rinse off. I found it to be the same but left a little on and my golden doodle’s coat came out amazingly soft”.

2. Pre-bathing removes dirt and debris which makes it easier for dog groomers to work on a dog’s coat. 

Not all pooches are the same with some of them enjoying the attention and being treated like a diva. On the one hand, some pooches are anxious, making styling challenging. 


So, do dog groomers wash or cut first? As you learned today, it is all up to the dog groomer. The length and texture of a dog’s coat determine whether it should be trimmed or bathed first.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to wash a dog?
It depends on the dog’s size but generally speaking, quick washes are done within 20 to 30 minutes.
How long does it take to cut a dog’s coat?

It can be anywhere between 10 and 60 minutes. It all depends on the size of the dog, coat type, and behavior.

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