Reports that 47 dogs died after being groomed at PetSmart stores — 32 of them since 2015 — have rocked pet owners and groomers alike.
“I just find it very unbelievable that that should even happen,” says CiCi Formosa, a former veterinary technician and now the salon manager at Midtown’s American Kennel Club Canine Retreat.
Both the American Kennel Club and the Humane Society of the United States offer online checklists to help pet owners assess prospective groomers, including finding out how big the cages are (dogs should be able to stand up and turn around). The Humane Society also suggests contacting the National Dog Groomers Association of America for recommendations and checking the Better Business Bureau for complaints.
Formosa, who has styled dogs for 10 years, says the best way to find a groomer is through word of mouth. “Ask people at the dog run or the vet hospital or friends with dogs who live in your building. Ask them who they trust, who they like the results from.”
Here are several other tips for finding a responsible groomer.
Check out the grooming area.
Some groomers will let you tour their facility, Formosa says, though perhaps not while they’re working, since it causes a distraction. Once you do get in, it’s easy to assess the property: “A clean location doesn’t smell dirty inside and is not a mess.”
Ask about the facility’s safety measures.
“We have rules, such as not leaving dogs alone on a table,” Formosa says. “Dogs shouldn’t be left on tables or in tubs alone — they can try to jump out and strangle themselves.”
Gauge the groomer’s interest in your dog’s specific breed.
“Get a feeling for that person, what they’re like and what they like to do — what dogs they might like to work with,” she says.
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