Pets are not just our best friends, for many people, their animals are family. The proper grooming is important to keeping pets healthy.
Pet owners will spend more than $6 billion dollars on pet grooming services and products in the United States in 2018 according to the American Pet Products Association.
Although it’s rare, recent deaths of pets in the care of groomers have many animal lovers concerned. Some animal advocates and lawmakers are considering ways to protect pets.
There are some steps pet owners should take before you make an appointment at a groomer according to animal experts.
I’m fortunate to have a long relationship with an animal advocate with more than 25 years in animal care and twenty plus years of grooming experience. Betty Pettey-Schlereth has groomed three of my pets at Bow Wows Unlimited in Saint Louis. She recommends pet owners ask questions and make visits before booking an appointment.
“I would suggest making a list of questions when looking for a groomer for your pet. The first question I would recommend would be, may I come and look at your facility? Then follow up with asking how long they’ve been grooming pets and where they got the training,” adds Pettey-Schlereth.
After your phone calls, follow-up and make an appointment with prospective groomers. Pettey-Schlereth says groomers should be willing to show people around and answer questions about the type of equipment they use and what procedures they follow.
Experience and training is not the only factor. Spend some time in the grooming shop, observing and talking with other pet owners. This can be as informative as a tour of the facility.
On the tour you can check the facility’s cleanliness and inquire about any safety procedures in place or special requirements your pet may require.
My dogs have been rescues and initially after adoption they had special needs. Pettey-Schlereth works with many animals who have medical issues including anxiety. It is vital animal owners discuss medical concerns or behavioral issues with prospective groomers.
Several times, Pettey-Schlereth has noticed a different behavior with one of my pets and suggested there might be a medical concern to be checked out. It is this attention to wellness, as well as grooming, I appreciate.
“I compare it to being a nurse caring for a baby. They can’t talk, and you have to look at behavior and physical cues while grooming. No one wants to tell pet parents their pets were not behaving normally because you don’t want to upset them. But we get to know pets and we can spot potential health issues that need attention” explains Pettey-Schlereth .
Asking other pet owners about their favorite groomer is one way to find the right fit for your pet. Another is the National Dog Groomers Association working with pet groomers since 1969 to promote education and professional standards. They offer an online groomer locator at https://www.nationaldoggroomers.com/locator/index.html