Groomers: the Good, the Bad and the Unsafe

When it’s time for Rover to get his nails trimmed or his curls coifed, a professional groomer can ensure your pet gets the healthiest, best-looking skin and coat. However, not all groomers are true professionals. Here’s how to ensure your pet is safe from drop-off to glamorous, well-groomed pickup.

“Routine grooming is an important task that will likely be required for most pets throughout their lives,” says Dr. Jonathan Holbrook, DVM, veterinarian at Marion Veterinary Hospital. “Choosing a professional groomer and grooming facility can be a daunting task!”

Start your search by browsing groomers near you, reading reviews and talking to friends or family for recommendations. But before you make an appointment, consider taking a few extra steps in the interest of your pet.

“Meeting the staff and touring the facility can be most important when making this decision. Does the staff seem friendly, knowledgeable, caring and good with animals? Does the facility appear clean and odor-free, have ample housing for pets and have a veterinarian on staff or nearby in case of an emergency? All of these different facets should weigh heavily when choosing a groomer and grooming facility,” Dr. Holbrook explains.

While you’re there, keep your eyes peeled. Dr. Holbrook says animals should be closely monitored by groomers, never left alone in a bathing tub or while being dried. They should always be housed in clean, separate areas equipped to offer water and food as needed during their stay.

“During your tour, you should also be asked to provide current medical health records and information regarding your pet. Ideally only pets that are up to date on their vaccinations and deemed healthy by your local veterinarian should be welcomed into a grooming facility. This could be the most important piece of the puzzle,” says Dr. Holbrook.

Here are some important questions that should be answered to assure your pets remain healthy at the groomers:

Does the groomer require a copy of your pet’s complete medical records or, at minimum, a current vaccination history from your veterinarian? 

Does the facility require documentation of a current negative intestinal parasite screening from the past six to 12 months?

Does the facility inquire about the types of heartworm, flea and tick preventives your pet takes?

Does the facility refer you to a veterinarian for any concerns that arise and might require treatment?1

Do all the grooming professionals have a basic understanding of pet first aid and a relationship with a veterinarian in case of an emergency?

If you’d rather do your dog’s grooming yourself, Dr. Holbrook suggests simply speaking with your vet first to be safe.

“Pet owners providing grooming care at home should do so with caution. Please seek opinions from your veterinarian for tips on how to perform these tasks at home safely.”

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