More regulations are needed in the pet grooming sector
Too many pets suffer mistreatment at the hands of pet groomers

It doesn’t take much to call yourself a pet groomer and start charging clients for grooming services. Anyone can do that.

You don’t even have to have taken a course. What’s more, you can study online and not get any practical, real life experience at all before being actually coming into physical contact with a dog or a cat.

I find this absolutely mind blowing and I’m dismayed that there are little or no regulations in place to protect pet parents and their pets from potentially harmful situations. And, I’m talking about scenarios where a pet can actually lose its life because of negligence.

It’s hard to believe that an individual can actually get a pet grooming license without being certified and without having acquired any formal pet grooming skills whatsoever.

While most states in the US require pet groomers to be licensed, others do not. Most licensing requirements apply to operating practices at grooming facilities and that may also include employees working at that location. Some groomers are required to have a domestic animal pest management license if they provide flea baths.

Not All Pets Enjoy Going To The Beauty Salon
Some pets will refuse to cooperate with grooming staff and actually put up physical resistance which is unacceptable and should never be allowed to happen. Even the gentlest and most experienced groomer can make a mistake when their fur client makes an unexpected movement, probably just a tiny nick. However, when a pet is belligerent, something far worse can easily happen.

PET PEEVE: While a mix breed dog, with a double coat, short stubby tail, and a nervous disposition, was in my care, I noticed that he had a cut on the tip of his tail. I immediately reported this to my client who told me that his dog had gone to a new pet salon and that it had taken three members of staff to control him. To this day I am shocked that the groomers had provided the clipping service in the first place knowing how distressed the dog was, and, second, that they hadn’t notified their human client of the nicking incident. In my book, this attitude is fraudulent and unethical.

The Human Element, The Risks
This is not an attempt to scare you. It is just a wake up call and a reminder of a devastating act of negligence that happens far too often at brick and mortar groomers all over the country. Dogs have died and continue to die because of this. Hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. It affects brain function, damages internal organs and can rapidly cause unconsciousness, coma and death.

Incidents where this medical emergency has occurred are when drying cages are inappropriately regulated and left unattended as well as when a pet is left to dry outdoors in sunny and humid conditions.

Unfortunately, this is not as infrequent as you may think and, sadly, has happened to several clients of mine.

So please be cautious and check out as thoroughly as possible the reputation of any grooming facility you contemplate using. Better safe than sorry.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!

NOTE: Rather than post a disturbing video showing pet groomers mistreating dogs and cats, I decided to publish this photo. Animal abuse of any kind must not be tolerated and those who commit such acts need to be held accountable.


Pet groomers can obtain certification through one of three organizations
An experienced pet groomer beautifying a Yorkshire Terrier

There are great groomers. There are terrible groomers. And there are those that are sort of in the middle.

The bad and really bad ones are what enrage pet parents everywhere and their stories are what make the news.

So, let’s take a look at some basics which I’ll be presenting today and next week.

Training To Become A Groomer
By acquiring an education to become a proficient pet groomer, an individual can gain respect in the community they serve either as an employee or by working independently.

Training programs are often available at a local community college, a career school, online and/or blended course, or one can serve an informal apprenticeship with a licensed groomer. The duration of a course varies, the longest being 480 hours (16 weeks).

Besides learning how to handle cats and dogs of varying sizes and temperaments, as well as bathe them, style their hair and trim their nails, they should be able to recognize the signs of certain health issues or diseases and take the necessary precautions. To this list we must also add knowing how to sterilize equipment and maintain a hygienic work environment.

The ultimate achievement is to become a Master Groomer.

How Groomers Get Certified
Like all professions, becoming certified is proof you have learned the basic skills to begin a successful career in your chosen field.
Pet groomers are no exception and they can obtain certification through one of three organizations. These are…

National Dog Groomers Association of America
International Professional Groomers, Inc
International Society of Canine Cosmetologists.

Watch out for next week’s blog that highlights how the pet grooming profession is regulated.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!


Hero dog TatorTot and the boy whose life he saved in a medical emergency
Best buddies Peyton and TatorTot dressed up to celebrate St Patrick’s Day
Highly awarded pit bull TatorTot is a hero and the best “nanny dog” ever
Rescue pit bull TatorTot saved a young boy’s life
One of many awards given to hero dog TatorTot

From time to time I will now be adding to my blog an ongoing series of stories about pets that are true heroes. They illustrate the intelligence, loyalty and compassion that companion animals show towards other animals and humans that are worthy of our admiration and respect. Here is the first one. Enjoy!

In 2013, TatorTot was a high-energy, pit bull puppy being held at a Minneapolis, MN, municipal pound. Just before he was scheduled to be put down, he was pulled by a local rescue organization and placed with a foster family to prepare him for eventual adoption.

He had only been at the Smith household for four days when Christi’s four-year-old son, Peyton, suffered a severe low-glycemic episode while he was sleeping. At around 2 AM TatorTot was running around trying to alert the family that something was wrong. When Christi got up she found the pup on Peyton’s bed, barking, pawing him and licking his face, and her son unresponsive and barely breathing. She rushed him to the ER where he was successfully revived. If the boy hadn’t received medical attention in time, he could have had a seizure, gone into a coma, or simply not have survived.

Medical-alert dogs generally undergo training but, instinctively, TatorTot knew what to do. And, for his heroic action, he was given the PETA Heroic Dog award, a Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association Hero Award and the City of Brooklyn Park Mayor’s Good Canine Award.

Until recently this amazing dog enjoyed a life filled with fun and adventure in his adopted home with the Smith family. Sadly, on May 1st 2017, aged four, he succumbed to lymphoma. However, he will forever be remember as a canine hero and an inspiration to all mankind. RIP, sweet TatorTot.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!


A healthy, happy cat gets exercise and mental stimulation
Cat gets a workout playing with a feather stick

I don’t know a single person who is more knowledgeable about cat behavior than the amazing Jackson Galaxy. You probably know him from his tv show “My Cat From Hell,” his best-selling books and advocacy work.

He often uses the term “raw cat” to describe what all felines are pre-programmed to do. If you haven’t already realized this, please take note because it is fundamental for understanding what your cat does and why. Here’s the behavior cycle.

wake up

Wild And Not So Wild
Wild cats, from the biggest species (Siberian Tiger) down to the smallest (Rusty-Spotted Cat), are hunters. They hunt for survival and spend many hours, every single day, doing precisely that.

Given the opportunity, domesticated cats, also love to hunt, kill and eat tiny prey, such as lizards and mice.

Physical Activity And Energy Expenditure For Indoor Cats
You can help your feline companion satisfy its innate hunting instincts and skills with several play/workout sessions each day. Here’s what to do and why it’s so beneficial.

The Activities:
* running
* pouncing
* jumping
* chasing
* searching
* batting

The Tools:
* multi-level cat tower
* throw toys that make a noise
* wands with dangling objects
* interactive toys
* laser beam

The Benefits (Physical and Mental):
* cardiovascular health
* agility
* reflex acuity
* muscle tone
* mental stimulation

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!