Does Safe Pet Grooming Exist?

Still on the topic of pet groomers, today I ask another question. Is the pet grooming profession regulated? 

Since many of you regularly use this service, hopefully you read last week’s blog introducing the topic of pet groomers. It deals with training and certification and why a good skills set is of the utmost importance.

Now today, the focus is on risk and dangers, mistakes and mistreatment and, of course, licensing and regulations.

If the pet grooming profession were regulated, fewer pets would suffer mistreatment at the hands of pet groomers who work unchecked
If the pet grooming profession were regulated, fewer pets would suffer mistreatment


The Stark Reality

So, let’s take a deeper look into this profession. In actual fact, 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 need to take a course. What’s more, you can study online and not get any practical experience. That is, no real life training at all before actually coming into physical contact with a dog or a cat. The bottom line is that many pet groomers work unchecked.

I find this absolutely mind blowing. In fact, 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 obtain a pet grooming license without being certified. And what’s more, without having acquired any formal pet grooming skills whatsoever.

While most states in the USA call for pet groomers to be licensed, others do not. Most licensing requirements apply to operating practices at grooming facilities and may also include employees working at that location. In addition, some groomers need to have a domestic animal pest management license if they provide flea baths. 

So, if we look at this across the country, it would not be accurate to say that the pet grooming profession is regulated.

Not All Pets Enjoy Going To The Beauty Salon

Some pets will refuse to cooperate with grooming staff and actually put up physical resistance. This is unacceptable and should never be allowed to happen. On the other hand, even the gentlest and most experienced groomer can make a mistake. Also, their fur client could move unexpected, resulting in just a tiny nick. However, when a pet is belligerent, something far worse can happen quite easily.

Pet Peeve – This Really Happened

I was staying at a client’s home providing 24/7 care for several pets. This particular incident involved a mix breed dog, with a double coat, short stubby tail, and a nervous disposition. 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 insisted on providing the clipping service. In the first place, they knew how distressed the dog was. And second, they hadn’t notified their human client of the nicking incident. Was the owner, or manager, of the business present at the time? Who exactly was in charge? It certainly looks like a case of the pet groomers working unchecked.

In my opinion, this attitude is fraudulent and unethical. So, what do my readers think about this? I’d really like to hear from you. 

The Human Element, The Risks

This is not an attempt to scare you. It’s just a wake up call and a reminder of a devastating act of negligence. Yet it 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.

This medical emergency occurs when staff do not operate drying cages correctly and leave them running unattended. An example of another likely situation is when they leave a pet outdoors to dry in sunny and humid conditions.

Unfortunately, these tragedies are more frequent than you may think and, sadly, have happened to several clients of mine.

To Sum Up

Please do your homework and be cautious. 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. We must not tolerate animal abuse of any kind and we need to hold accountable those who commit such acts.

If you think you’re up to taking on part or all of your pet’s grooming routine yourself, this will be a great help:


Is Your Pet Groomer Certified?

If you have a dog, or a cat, you need a qualified groomer you can trust. That’s why pet grooming requires proper training, just like any other profession. After all, a good skills set is what really matters.

Let’s see. There are great groomers and there are terrible groomers. Then there are those that are somewhere in the middle. And, as we would expect, it’s the bad and the really bad ones that enrage pet parents everywhere. Unfortunately, those are the stories that make the news. However, they do serve as a warning. And if we learn from them, we can take precautions ourselves to avoid sad and tragic outcomes.

So, let’s take a look at some basics. Is your pet groomer certified? Here’s what you need to know.

Like any profession, pet grooming requires proper training. Is your pet groomer certified?
Like any profession, pet grooming requires proper training. Is your pet groomer certified?

Training To Become A Pet Groomer

By acquiring an education to become a proficient pet groomer, an individual can gain respect in the community. He, or she,  can either be an employee in someone else’s business or work independently.

And, how does a pet groomer get certified? Well, firstly, training programs are often available at a local community college. You can also attend a career school, take an online and/or blended course, or else serve an informal apprenticeship with a licensed groomer. The duration of a course varies, but the longest is 480 hours (16 weeks).

The Course Broken Down

The study program covers how to handle cats and dogs of varying sizes and temperaments, as well as bathe them, style their hair and trim their nails. Students are also taught how to recognize the signs of certain health issues or diseases and take the necessary precautions. Extremely important, too, is knowing how to sterilize equipment and maintain a hygienic work environment.  

The ultimate achievement in this chosen profession 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 field. Pet groomers are no exception and, in the USA, they can obtain certification through one of these three organizations.

National Dog Groomers Association of America.

International Professional Groomers, Inc.

International Society of Canine Cosmetologists.

To Sum Up

Don’t miss next week’s blog for more on the pet grooming profession. The risks and dangers. Mistakes and mistreatment. Licensing and regulations.

If you did happen to miss the above-mentioned blog, not to worry. Here’s the link:

And, if you think you’re up to taking on part or all of your pet’s grooming routine yourself, this will be a great help:

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


It’s 2:00 am and the family is asleep, but TatorTot becomes a true canine hero and detects a child’s health crisis. 

This all happened in the early hours of the morning. However, instead of being fast asleep, this pit bull rescue pup was alert. Instinctively he realized that his human sibling, four-year-old Peyton, was having a life-threatening episode. And, thanks to him, the little boy got the speedy and vital hospital attention he needed to survive.

Best buddies Peyton and TatorTot, the canine hero that detected the child's health crisis
Best buddies Peyton and TatorTot, the canine hero that detected the child’s health crisis

Introducing A New Blog Series – Pet Hero Stories

Across the world, people love to hear about pets that are true heroes. So that is why, from time to time, I’ll be publishing an ongoing series of stories about these pets. They illustrate the intelligence, loyalty and compassion that companion animals show towards other animals and humans, And they certain deserve our admiration and respect. Here’s the first one. Enjoy!

Pit Bull Rescue Pup Saves A Life

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, a local rescue organization pulled him. He then spent time with a foster family so they could prepare him for eventual adoption.

What follows is simply amazing when you consider the timeline of events. And, in addition, the fact that after being classified unadoptable, this heroic pet gives the alert to a boy’s medical emergency and helps save his life.

TatorTot never leaves Peyton’s side even at nap time
TatorTot never leaves Peyton’s side even at nap time

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 2am TatorTot was running around trying to alert the family that something was very wrong. When his mother got up she found the pup on Peyton’s bed, barking, pawing him and licking his face. Her son was unresponsive and barely breathing. Christi rushed him to the ER where he was successfully revived. However, 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.

No Training, Just Instinct

As most of us know, 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. Wow!

One of many awards given to TatorTot, the heroic pet who alerted a boy's medical emergency
One of many awards given to TatorTot, the heroic pet who alerted a boy’s medical emergency

In Memoriam

Up until recently this amazing dog enjoyed a life filled with fun and adventure in his adopted home with the Smith family. But sadly, he became very ill and on May 1st 2017, aged four, he succumbed to lymphoma. Nevertheless, this canine hero, who detected a child’s health crisis, will forever be remember as an inspiration to all mankind. RIP, sweet TatorTot.

To Sum Up

We love our companion animals and they never cease to surprise us. Their intelligence, loyalty and compassion towards other animals and humans is amazing. For more dog and cat hero stories in the coming weeks, please stay tuned.

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

More must read articles in this category:

Drowning senior saved by Golden Retriever,

Australian Cattle Dog protects a lost child,


When it comes to the topic of how a cat’s DNA affects behavior, I don’t know a single person who is more knowledgeable. Who am I referring to? None other than the amazing Jackson Galaxy. 

You probably already know him from his enormously successful tv show “My Cat From Hell.” In addition to that, he has authored several best-selling books. And, you may have heard, too, about and his impactful advocacy work across the USA. 

Companion cat’s DNA affects behavior due to inherited wild cat ancestor instincts and skills. Play hunting and chasing provide important physical and mental benefits
Companion cat’s DNA affects behavior due to inherited wild cat ancestor instincts and skills. Enrichment through play hunting and chasing provides important physical and mental benefits

A Jackson Galaxy Term

Jackson Galaxy often uses the term “raw cat,” which describes what all felines are pre-programmed to do. If you haven’t already realized what it actually means, please take note. I can’t stress enough how important this is. After all, if you want to understand what your cat does and why, it really is fundamental. So, let’s take a look at a cat’s usual 24-hour behavior cycle.

First of all NAP


  Next comes HUNT

 Followed by CATCH


And, of course EAT

 After all this is GROOM

Final full circle NAP

Wild And Not So Wild

I wonder if you’ve ever spent time observing wild cats, either in their natural habitat or at a sanctuary somewhere. And, if you’ve also noticed how all domesticated cats have a lot of characteristics in common. There are some striking similarities between the two, aren’t there? That’s because genetics determine how felines act, both in the wild, and in the home.

My point here is that in order to understand why our companion felines act the way they do, we need to look at their ancestors. And, this is the work that zoologists and other animal experts have done in the past and continue to do even today. As a result of their research, we are now able to provide a better quality of life for the animals we care for at home.

Let me give you a brief example. As we already know, 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. As for domesticated cats, when given the opportunity, they will behave in a similar fashion. They, too, love to hunt, kill and eat size-appropriate prey, such as lizards and mice. This is instinct. It’s in their DNA. That’s what cats do!

Play Hunting Activity For Indoor Cats

There are a number of ways you can get involved to enrich their life once you figure out how a cat’s DNA affects its behavior. Below are some suggestions and explanations so that your felines can satisfy their prewired hunting instincts and skills. Try to give them several play/workout sessions each day.

The Activities 

What cats love to do. They delight in running, pouncing, jumping,  chasing, searching and batting.

The Tools 

Mostly inexpensive, here are a few ideas to fulfill your cat’s activity needs. There are throw toys that make a noise, and wands with dangling objects. Plus, a laser beam never fails to give enjoyment. 

How about some interactive toys? For example, balls that spin and roll around on a track. Or a play station for pushing, poking and moving objects. Also, if your budget allows, a multi-level cat tower will give Felix and Fluffy multiple options to jump, bat, be on the look out, and even snooze. 

The Benefits

Finally, but most importantly, are the physical and mental benefits of keeping cats occupied and free from boredom. They result from the combination of activities and tools I already mentioned. In just a few words, they include cardiovascular health, agility, reflex acuity, muscle tone, and mental stimulation. 

To Sum Up

The message throughout my blog is that genetics determine how felines act. I now hope that pet parents who didn’t fully realize what all felines are pre-programmed to do, can make some meaningful changes. Love manifests itself in enrichment so that their companions can enjoy active and purposeful lives. 

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

Another must-read article in this category.

What dogs and cats are really telling you: