It is the assumption of many pet owners that pet groomers must undergo education of some kind along with certification or licensing. Unfortunately, this is not true. Many states do not require any training or certification and just about anyone can set up shop as a dog groomer or apply to work in a dog grooming salon. For this reason, there are many dangers associated with pet groomers; though not all dangers are due to inexperienced or uncaring groomers.
Many pet owners are unaware that pet groomers often use a device known as a cage or kennel dryer or another type of enclosed pet-drying machine. Unfortunately, there are no legal laws, rules or regulations regarding the operation of these machines, or about who can safely operate them. Deaths have been reported regarding dogs dying from being left inside a cage dryer for too long at too high of a temperature.
It is a well known fact that some dogs are simply skittish or aggressive around strangers, or even with people they are somewhat familiar with --- like their groomer. While this itself does not necessarily indicate a bad groomer (but rather, a dog who simply does not enjoy its time at the groomer), it causes the groomer to use sedation in order to groom the dog. While some owners give consent for this, some groomers may give the dog sedatives without the permission of the owner. This can result in serious complications, as groomers are not veterinary professionals and often do not have the knowledge associated with sedatives and various dog breeds and sizes. Dogs can have allergic reactions to sedatives, resulting in death; or too much of a sedative can be given, resulting in death.
While the grooming table itself is not necessarily a threat, the combination of the leash and table can be deadly. These leashes, which hold the dog on the table, can become a noose. Too much pulling could result in strangulation or suffocation. Accidentally falling or jumping off the table can break a dog's neck. Therefore, groomers should never leave a dog unattended.
Damage to the Eyes
Before the dog can be dried or trimmed, he must be bathed. Just as people do not like soap in their eyes, neither do dogs. Though the shampoos used are often safe for use on pets, even a little bit of shampoo in the eyes can result in irritation. Soap that gets into the eyes result in corneal abrasion, which requires veterinary attention. Dogs may have red eyes after soap enters their eyes. Fortunately, a veterinarian can easily treat this using eye drops.
Once shampooed and dried, the clipping begins. Though there is always a chance the dog could accidentally get cut with a pair of trimming shears, the real issue is the electric clippers. Electric clippers get hot, especially when used on dog after dog. Clippers that are accidentally pushed too close to the skin, often from a dog wiggling around, results in burns or irritation to the skin. Like people, dogs have areas of skin on their bodies that are more sensitive; accidentally burning these areas results in itching, redness or irritation to the area.
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- ABC News; "Are You Putting Your Pooch in Peril?"; Liz Marlantes et al.; August 2006
- WTVD; "Grooming Dangers"; Diane Wilson; May 2008
- Fox News; "6 Pet Health Hazards at the Groomer's"; Jessica Doyle, June 17, 2009
- Today Show; "Dog's Death is a Warning about Groomers, Expert Says"; Bob Considine; August 2008