How do you know if your pet is safe with the pet groomer? Recently, a tragic incident happened in an Atlanta area pet salon that resulted in the death of a beloved pet. What is most distressing is that it was so preventable. Read the details here:
Family Blames Dog Groomer for Pets’ Death
Neither leashes nor collars should be left on pets at a grooming salon! This is grooming salon safety 101. Collars and leashes should be removed at check-in and either returned to the owner or stored. The pet can then be carried or led on a slip lead to a crate. Crates/cages come in many designs. The safest are crates that have solid sides. These prevent direct contact with other pets, which lowers the risk of injury or disease while also providing smooth sides that offer little possibility of injury. They usually also have doors designed to have no protuberances inside that could cause potential harm. This type of crate is likely the safest, but very expensive. Therefore, many privately owned salons find them cost prohibitive and utilize less expensive all-wire designs. All-wire crates have multiple areas that could catch collar or leash and cause strangulation. Even the smooth sided designs have some potential for this and for leashes being caught in doors as they close. Tour any salon you consider utilizing and note the crate/cage design and if collars and leashes are removed.
What about leashing the pet in the tub or on the table? In the article about the strangled dog cited above, another groomer righteously claims she never uses a grooming loop or leash. If true, this is a very dangerous practice also. Some dogs (especially puppies) are very active and difficult to control on a table. They can be out from under your hands and off the table in the blink of an eye. There aren’t many pet dogs that are well trained enough to reliably hold a stay on a table. Even the best-trained pets are not beyond being startled or tempted to a sudden leap. A loop provides that split second check of their movement to allow a quick save. A broken neck or strangulation from a loop or leash isn’t the only way a pet can die. It’s a long way to the floor and dogs that leap have died from skull fractures, broken necks, broken spines or had serious injuries such as broken jaws or legs and even internal injuries. A loop or other restraint should always be used for that little extra insurance. Brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds are extremely susceptible to damage from neck restraint. Pugs, Shih Tzus, English Bulldogs are good examples. The short faces compromise their internal breathing apparatus and larynx. Pressure on these animals’ throats can cause respiratory distress or physical damage. Other restraint is available for these breeds. Different types of restraint will be discussed in a future article.
A pet should never be left unattended in a tub or on a table. This is also grooming safety 101. It is also something that happens at some time or another in every grooming salon. The unfortunate reality is that although most salons have a strict policy against it, they are not designed or staffed in a way that makes it possible to comply. Phones, appointment books or computers and customer areas are not near enough to the tables and tubs. Frequently there is only one person on duty (a dangerous practice for both pets and employees). Most shops don’t have receptionists. A groomer must leave the table or tub to answer the phone, book an appointment, receive/release a dog to the owner or greet a walk-in customer and answer questions. Grooming tables are often in full view from front counters but tub areas are usually in a back room out of sight, and therefore extremely high risk if a dog is left unattended. When inspecting a potential salon, don’t bother asking if a pet is ever left unattended in tub or on table. Likely, the automatic response will be that it never happens, even if that isn’t true. Instead ask “What extra precautions do you take when you have to leave a pet unattended on a table or in the tub?” The only acceptable answer is that the pet is always removed to a secure crate, even if he is soaking wet or covered in soap. Grooming requires fairly intense concentration. It usually takes a few minutes to get a dog to settle well when it is put on the table. For a groomer to be constantly interrupted and required to take a dog off the table is stressful and time consuming. The temptation to leave the dog on the table is very great but there are some shops that do it right most of the time despite all this. It pays to make unexpected drop-ins at your salon to note if you have been truthfully informed on this subject and how the situation is generally handled.
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