• Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association

  • Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association was founded and incorporated by Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins in 2015. Now with its fully functioning Board of Directors, and new Co-Presidents Beth Ritchie and Lisa Herbold, we are moving in 2021 to form 501c6 status. We have been very proud of our accomplishments in 2020 assisting the pet grooming industry during the pandemic.

    Our NEW website can be found at www.IPPGA.com! This site is no longer the official page of IPPGA. This page remains as a remnant history of the organization’s beginnings.

    The NEW IPPGA Membership application form can be downloaded HERE.

    The Annual Meeting of IPPGA was held Sunday August 23, 2020 from 5-6 pm CT via ZOOM this year and ALL Groomers in Illinois are welcome to attend. The links can be found on Facebook on the IPPGA public page. We hope to return to in person Annual Meetings in 2021.

    IPPGA’s Response to the Pandemic
    The Governor of Illinois declared Shelter In Place beginning March 21, 2020 and closed “non-essential” businesses, including all pet grooming. IPPGA worked to obtain official written verification that all commercial pet grooming in Illinois was indeed non-essential and shared that information with all groomers as we could. We received many complaints and reports of groomers operating illegally during that Shelter in Place order. All professional pet grooming in Illinois, even those INSIDE “essential” businesses such as veterinarians, kennels, and pet retail, was to cease all grooming operations during that period of the public health emergency. On March 31, Governor Pritzker extended the public health emergency Shelter in Place order until April 30. IPPGA worked to communicate with all the businesses that might not have known during that period that they were operating illegally. Our Board of Directors mobilized a massive response, working with our members, other leading grooming businesses and chain stores, to submit a proposal that our Board wrote to the state with guidelines for SAFE re-opening procedures which our organization researched, wrote, published and promulgated publicly. IPPGA’s then Co-President Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, who had political experience, worked to get a letter before the Governor that detailed the scientific and legal rationale by which grooming was being moved nationally to essential status because of the need to care for living creatures. These documents are available to see on our public IPPGA Facebook page.

    IPPGA was most gratified to see the Governor of Illinois moved only two industries – pet grooming and Lawn&Garden to “essential” status as of May 1, 2020, owing largely to our research and efforts. We were congratulated by several elected officials for the effective and helpful way that we responded to this crisis.

    IPPGA’s President had also made a set of videos for her clients regarding home care of your pets – see links below.

    IPPGA is a member of #NAGA the National Alliance of Grooming Associations. Leaders of state grooming associations from all over the industry met at this time of crisis and issued this statement that reflects what IPPGA also believes:

    “The hallmark of Care in the Professional Pet Grooming industry is based on safety and sanitation. We recommend that groomers follow local, state, and federal authorities’ directives while practicing personal welfare and safety choices.”

    And secondarily, this language: “Groomers have a civil and moral obligation to follow any laws regarding the care of the pets, their clients and themselves.” #NAGA #groomerscare #groomersforgroomers #groomersforlife

    Any commercial pet grooming that was still operating from March 21-May 1, 2020 was subject to law enforcement sanction and subject to fines announced at $10,000 if public authorities have to be involved to shut these businesses down.

    Below is a link to a photo of an email received from the Illinois DCEO showing the official determination that Pet Grooming is non-essential and not allowed after March 21, 2020.


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    We know that pet owners all over the state were, all of a sudden, experiencing grave concern about a number of things in their lives. We are here to provide support, information, and resources for any groomer in Illinois.

    We had also received reports of pet owners trying to arrange privately that their pets still be groomed while it was illegal to do so. The public is warned to PLEASE not ever try to persuade groomers to break the law. Public health matters more than anything. We worked HARD to be restored to essential status and in the end only missed 6 weeks of grooming. We were so happy after May 1 to see all our beloved pet clients, though many were a bit more matted or dirty than usual! We feel very needed now!

    The videos Jennifer created to help pet owners groom their own dogs at home are linked on this blog and address techniques like line brushing, deep raking or combing to remove undercoat, and reaching more out of the way but high friction areas that mat easily on dogs. Cats that have longer hair primarily need combing especially in the chest, groin, and rear end areas, and along their sides that touch the ground when they lay down. In dogs if you have a very dry coat that gets filled with static, take a small amount of conditioner in a spray bottle and spray that on a dog’s coat while you are brushing and combing your pet – it will help the tools pass through the coat more easily. With cats, do not apply products they could lick that are possibly toxic, just use a bit of water on your hands to control the static. The videos linked on this blog address the issues that should be considered if you wish to attempt home bathing. Your groomers are still likely always contactable on social media or via phone or email to advise you about specifics of your pet, and what tools are best to use, if we are ever shut down again. We highly recommend that you do not attempt to cut your pet’s hair unless you are under direct specific guidance from your groomer. Brushing and combing are what owners can do at home to be the most helpful. Illinois’ professional groomers were happy to return to the practice of the craft that we all love so much on May 1, 2020.

    No matter the breed, regular professional grooming is one of the best things that you can do for your beloved pet!

    Please email us at IPPGA@aol.com with any questions.

    Illinois Groomers, please use our Facebook page and members only group as a place to discuss and as a clearing house for information.


    Any professional pet groomer that lives or works in Illinois or a border area is invited to JOIN us – there are no dues to join –  there is no charge at this point to become a member. What we ask only is that you sign and mail in this APPLICATION   and pledge publicly to abide by the PPGSA National Standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation in your grooming work, and to abide by our Code of Ethics (modeled on the CPPGA Code of Ethics). IPPGA exists to promote high standards of professionalism and care for the pets we groom, collegiality among groomers, and education and advocacy for our profession. Joining the Facebook group does not mean you have joined IPPGA!

    Once we receive your signed application, pledge, and contact information, we will mail you a Certificate suitable for framing, which we encourage you to post proudly where you groom to demonstrate your commitment to excellence in our profession. We will then proudly list you on our Membership Directory page where the pet owning public can see your name stand out above others in your part of the state as a Groomer committed to the highest standards of professionalism in the industry.

    Here is the APPLICATION FORM to join IPPGA – print it up or scan it, signed, and send it to us. You can email a scanned signed application to IPPGA@aol.com or you can mail it to IPPGA, 69 Green Bay Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022.

    Here is a PDF of the IPPGA Mission and Code of Ethics for you to post or share.

    The IPPGA holds its Annual Meeting at the All American Grooming Show each August. At this meeting we receive updates from national leaders in the grooming industry about issues that matter to our profession, such as legislation in various states and local units of government to regulate or license groomers, etc.

    We welcome any member to consider serving on our Board of Directors. Please email IPPGA@aol.com if interested. We do most of our business via our Facebook page. Even if you don’t like Facebook, consider a non-public account just for the purpose of being able to access the wonderful discussions and information on the IPPGA Facebook group.

    IPPGA membership will for the remainder of 2020 be offered FREE to all who qualify and fill out the application with pledges to follow the PPGSA Standards and the Code of Ethics.

    1. Be a professional pet groomer residing in Illinois
    2. Or be a professional pet groomer in a border community of another state that does not have its own state groomer organization, and that may draw customers from Illinois.
    3. Sign on to our CODE OF ETHICS (see below). We will publish on our membership page the names of all our member groomers so that customers looking to find the best groomer in their area will know that you are publicly committed to follow these ethical standards in your profession.
    4. Agree to abide by the PPGSA National Standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation in your grooming space or facility. (These basic common sense standards were created by a broad and diverse leadership of our industry across the nation recently in response to efforts to license and regulate our industry in a few states.)

    Special thanks to industry leaders for leading the way on our need to have professional organizations in each state that will allow us to speak with one voice in proposed legislation that may affect us, and allow us to educate and to advance collegiality in our profession with one another.

    Pet owners throughout Illinois looking for a great groomer for their beloved pets can rely on IPPGA members to be professionals committed to the highest standards.

    IPPGA was formed out of our mutual commitment to excellence in caring for your pet and the need to educate the public about the importance of professional grooming for pets. We all have pledged to hold to national standards of safety, care, and sanitation. And our members also pledge to abide by the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct in their pet grooming.

    Every IPPGA member signs a public pledge to abide by our Code of Ethics (below) and pledges to abide by the national PPGSA Standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation everyday in our businesses.

    Use our Member Directory to find a trustworthy groomer in your local area that has pledged publicly to follow these high professional standards.

    Groomers and members, please use our Facebook page to learn more and chat with other members.

    Our annual meeting is held Saturday night of the August All American Grooming Conference held each year in Wheeling, Illinois. For more information about Illinois’ most important grooming event, see www.aagroom.com.

    You can contact us at IPPGA@aol.com for more information or go to our website www.ippga.com.


    The goal of the Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association is to enhance relations between pet groomers and consumers, promoting professionalism, safety, and sanitation within the Illinois grooming industry.


    As a member of the Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association, Inc., I pledge to treat all animals entrusted in my care with kindness, patience, respect and compassion, and place their welfare above all else, ensuring their safety, health and well-being.

    I pledge to exhibit proper professional behavior and maintain my grooming business with honesty and integrity at all times toward my clients as well as other professionals within in the pet care field.

    I pledge to work toward the highest standards in pet styling, stay current with industry trends and continue to improve my capabilities as a professional pet groomer through continued education.

    I pledge to provide education to my clients and the general public on the safety and benefits of professional pet grooming.

    I pledge to promote harmony among my peers, contribute to the growth and development of myself, my fellow groomers and the grooming industry by encouraging professionalism, compassion and continuing education. 


    Looking for a groomer who you can trust to follow the highest standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation in the care of your pet? Want to make sure your groomer is publicly committed to ethics and professionalism in their grooming business practices? Then choose a groomer who has pledged, as a member of IPPGA, to uphold these principles. See our growing list of members (under construction during Fall 2017) for a great groomer in your area of Illinois or surrounding metro areas.  Our members will soon be listed here.

    Any professional pet groomer, grooming assistant, or other professional who works directly with groomers, and who works in, or lives in Illinois, or in a border metropolitan area such as NW Indiana, the Quad Cities or St. Louis, is welcome to join IPPGA by signing the pledge to abide by our Code of Ethics, by pledging to adopt PPGSA national Standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation, and by posting their business with us on our Member Directory. While donations are accepted, we do not require dues from our hard-working members, and are grateful for the grooming industry businesses that sponsor and support us as we work to better the lives of the pets and families we serve by being the best at our profession that we can be.


    In 2019 Sheryl Woods and Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins assumed a Co-Presidency, as supportws by vote of the membership at the 2019 Annual Meeting at the All American Grooming Conference. Board Members now include: Sheryl Woods and Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, Co-Presidents. Jessica Lynn Pendergrass Secretary/Treasurer. Kathryn Simard, Mary-Beth Burger-Ritchie, Hollus Thomas, Barb Abbott, Jessica Ohl, Obi Oki, Lisa Herbold,


    While pet grooming is an ancient art dating back to the Middle Ages, it is only in recent decades that it has become truly professionalized. In the post World War II modern era, pet grooming has grown into a high demand, well-paying profession requiring significant skill, talent, and training.

    Vocational educational Grooming schools in the United States began to appear as early as the 1960’s. Grooming text books and later videos allowed groomers, no matter where they lived and worked, to learn from industry leaders. Early visionary groomers in the 1970’s and 80’s began to encourage professional organizing and training for the industry as a whole, and companies that manufactured tools and products groomers were using helped in organizing and promoting educational opportunities for groomers. Some of the greatest advances for groomers, such as the series of competitions that results in the selection of Groom Team USA that represents us in international competition, have been made possible by not only hard-working volunteer groomers, but also by significant support from manufacturers of grooming equipment and supplies.

    In the early 1980’s the first ever grooming conference was held in Chicago – more later on this. The idea of conferences for groomers was greeted with gratitude and excitement by groomers everywhere. Barkleigh Productions began to offer over a dozen conferences in different regions of the USA each year. At these conferences groomers can attend workshops led by industry experts, grooming competitions, and trade shows help us learn more and access the best in tools of the trade.

    Most people in the public are not aware that the pet grooming profession in the USA is almost entirely unregulated. No required training or monitoring of skill or conditions, such as exists with, for example, the cosmetology field. No state at this time requires groomers to be licensed. We have heard grooming clients react with shock and even some fear to hear that this is the case. Currently, the public operates with the pet grooming industry under the caveat emptor principle – let the buyer beware.

    While currently no groomer licensing exists and there are no requirements nationally or in any states in order to be able to charge for one’s services as a pet groomer, this may change in the near future. One county in New York recently adopted groomer registration (not licensing). Two states, California and New Jersey, have seen recent legislative efforts and difficult conversations around some form of state licensing for groomers, but none have been yet finalized or have become law. Still it appears that licensing and regulation, which many of us believe could be a good thing if done correctly, is coming – not “if” but only “when”. Groomers in every state are being urged by pet industry professionals such as PIJAC and WPA to plan to make sure our voices are heard in policy discussions that affect our work.

    In the absence of governmental regulation, leading groomers began to encourage us to “regulate” ourselves – voluntarily. Several important national and international organizations now test and certify the competence and skill of groomers, and professional associations for groomers like IPPGA now exist to help groomers learn best practices in the industry. These certifications are entirely voluntary credentials that many good groomers now seek in order to improve themselves – and without state law mandates.

    Groomers that are certified with IPG, NDGAA, or ISCC, the major grooming certifying organizations, will proudly display their certifications that they earned through rigorous voluntary testing and training in their businesses. New ways to certify groomers are even begin explored by the American Kennel Club, the AKC, which is the largest dog organization in the world.

    The public is encouraged to ask questions of their groomers about our training, protocols, etc. Interview us as you would anyone you might hire to take care of members of your own family.


    Like all other professions, the grooming industry is constantly growing and changing. New discoveries, new science, new products, innovative techniques can make us even better at what we do. We in IPPGA welcome this and get very excited to learn new things, even those of us with decades of experience and mastery.

    One example of why continuing education for groomers can be very important: for decades, squeezing and draining a dog’s anal glands during the bath has been standard procedure for most groomers. But recent veterinary studies revealed that routinely squeezing these delicate glands were actually causing two major problems down the road for the dog – they were breaking down the rectal wall muscles so that in later life, the dog may begin to have problems with normal rectal functioning. And second, they found that draining a gland actually in many cases caused it to over produce more of the smelly stuff, actually creating more problems than if we just let nature take its course. Veterinary leaders began to tell groomers at conferences and through professional recommendations that we stop doing this routine procedure. Owners often ask for it when they see their dog “scooting”. But this scooting is normal behavior that helps dogs expel from their glands naturally. Dogs will usually also be able to expel what they need as they defecate. Too much scooting, redness, discomfort, etc., – any problems in the anal glands should be treated by a veterinarian anyway, not a groomer. Good groomers who stay up on best practices are no longer routinely squeezing your dog’s anal glands, unless they are working under direct partnership with the family veterinarian. And this has meant that many of us have to spend time – repeatedly – telling our clients about this change in best practices in our industry. Change happens slowly and requires education of all veterinarians, pet owners, and groomers.

    This is just one of the many reasons why organizations like IPPGA are formed – so that we can all help educate each other about what is best for your pet.

    IPPGA now has a lending library of Groomer to Groomer magazine available for all members that contains every single Groomer To Groomer issue for more than a decade! Contact us at ippga@aol.com for more information!


    The real beginning of groomers gathering in a conference and competition happened right here in Chicago! The All American Grooming Conference was begun in the early 1980’s by a visionary and legendary Des Plaines area groomer, Jerry Schinberg, on whose shoulders we all now stand. One of Jerry’s last conversations with IPPGA founder Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, ICMG, was about the importance of resurrecting a state association in Illinois to help groomers to better themselves and the possible impacts of movements in other states to better regulate and possibly even license groomers.

    There had been a previous incarnation of a professional association for groomers in Illinois in the 1990’s that gave us a good start, but it did not survive into the 21st century. All organizations require time and effort from passionate volunteers and money to help the organization function. Subsequently Illinois has not had a professional grooming association in decades.

    In 2014, after inspiring conversations with the beloved late great grooming icon Jerry Schinberg, who was then suffering from terminal cancer, about the importance of professionalism for Illinois groomers, Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, who had been one of the first few dozen Certified Master Groomers tested and certified in the 1980’s, began a Facebook group in 2015 for an Illinois Professional Pet Groomers Association, allowing Illinois groomers to more easily exchange ideas.

    After conversations with industry leaders in the state such as Dan Vaughn, Certified Master Groomer, who runs groomer education programs in Chicago,  Jennifer decided to donate the necessary legal fees and incorporated IPPGA in 2016.  We consulted with national leaders who ran similar state groups elsewhere in the USA. With deepest thanks to the inspiring example of our colleagues in the California Professional Pet Groomers Association, whom we have modeled ourselves after, and helpful advice from Teri DiMarino, their President, we have adopted their excellent Code of Ethics and Mission statement as our own model.

    IPPGA members are required to work currently or formerly in the grooming profession or in some aspect of grooming businesses. They must live or work in Illinois or in a bordering community such as NW Indiana, the Quad Cities, or the St. Louis area. And they must sign a pledge to uphold our Code of Ethics and to abide by the national PPGSA Standards of Safety, Care, and Sanitation.

    Illinois is now one of a handful of states that has now formed a state association devoted to promoting safety and care, ethical practices, and education of ourselves and the public about the importance of grooming your pets. We are a member state association of NAGA – the National Alliance of Grooming Associations.


    We leaders in the professional pet grooming industry throughout the United States now organize ourselves and set standards for ourselves, much as lawyers and doctors do. Groomers should proudly display in their businesses the training and certification, testing and memberships that they participate in to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in working with these precious live dogs and cats who are loved by their families.

    We believe that the public is best served by groomers who work to educate themselves and demonstrate a level of skill and commitment to best practices.

    While many good groomers can and do learn to do excellent work through the more traditional route of interning and apprenticing with more experienced groomers, some groomers are self-taught or grew up in the industry. Professional groomers should proudly and happily answer questions from prospective clients about their training, their protocols, their experience, their philosophy, their continuing education, etc.

    The public can ask to tour the facility or even stay to watch the groom of their pets. Most groomers welcome client interest and are proud of the hard work they do on these pet family members, and are happy to educate the public about what we do.

    Especially when discussing price for services, most pet owners in the public seeking “bargain prices” are amazed when they actually observe the groom just how incredibly hard groomers work to earn their wage. Pet grooming is both physically and psychically demanding. The groomer must control a living animal while bathing, drying, brushing, dematting, and cutting its hair and toenails. Pets often resist grooming, especially if they have not been trained to accept these procedures from their youth. And most pet owners have learned that they are not able to adequately groom their own pets at home – it is simply too hard to do. Professional pet groomer perform vital services to the health and well-being of your pet, and therefore, your family. Paying your groomer a living wage is money well spent.

    Professional groomers truly study very hard to learn their craft, care deeply about the pets you entrust to them, and work far harder each day than most pet owners know. Professional pet groomers earn every penny they are paid – and then some.

    And given the fact that there are hundreds of millions of dogs and cats in the USA, and only tens of thousands of groomers, clients do come to see the value of finding a good professional groomer, booking their appointments well in advance, and then keeping those appointments on time, paying the groomer a fair wage for the work asked of them, and then seeing the benefit in terms of a happier, healthier pet that feels better and is easier to manage at home. Good groomers are in short supply not just in the USA but all over the world. Demand always exceed supply.

    IPPGA is building a state-wide directory of professional pet groomers who are publicly acknowledging their commitment to the highest professional standards in our industry. Clients in the public are encouraged to seek these groomers out and interview them when searching for a professional pet groomer.

    Your pets are living, feeling, wonderful creatures who are beloved members of your family. You can feel good about choosing a pet groomer who has publicly pledged to abide by our IPPGA Code of Ethics, which includes continuing education. If your pet groomer is not a member of IPPGA, ask them about it, and encourage them to join. There is no dues – only a pledge to excellence in care.

    Contact us at IPPGA@aol.com for more information.