Grooming Dangers

May 3, 2008 6:51:15 AM PDT
A Raleigh woman says her dog was temporarily paralyzed at a local groomer.

This woman has lots of questions not only about what happened, but why groomers aren't licensed in the state.

Carol Marks says, "I'm angry, I'm, I'm aghast that anyone could be so unfeeling. They could have cared less about me or the dog."

Carol Marks doesn't hold anything back when it comes to her experience at the PetSmart in Brier Creek. She adds, "They just absolutely didn't care. They've done this to my dog. They could have cared less that the dog couldn't walk." She's talking about her 9 year old golden retriever, Samantha.

She says, "I left her there for a simple bath. I was expecting to go and pick up a dog who smelt good, and looked nice, that's all I had hoped for."

Instead, when she went back Carol says her dog's legs weren't working and she couldn't come over to her." Carol says she knew something was wrong.

She adds, "To go and see a dog that couldn't walk and I mean, the fact that unfortunately she weighs 100 pounds, I couldn't just go in and pick her up and take her out of there."

In fact, employees had to put both Carol and Samantha on a rolling cart and wheel them thru the store to the vet's office. Carol says, "I felt even more helpless. I really did and they wouldn't help me."

Carol says the vet at PetSmart did look at Samantha, and said it was likely a herniated disk. She says they offered to x-ray Samantha, but she'd have to pay for it.

Instead, she decided to rush the dog to her own vet who told her Samantha, who is older and overweight, might have been hurt by being forced to stand too long during the grooming process.

A process that's left other PetSmart customers unhappy, after at least two deaths just last year. One in California, when a cocker spaniel died from what it's owner called suffocating in a tight muzzle.

And in Arizona, an English bulldog died when it's owner says it was strangled while a groomer clipped it's nails. For these two claims, PetSmart previously said that the muzzle was appropriate and that they were investigating the second incident.

The good news in the Raleigh incident, carol's vet put Samantha on pain medication, and within days, she was back up and walking. But carol's still not satisfied especially after she found out that dog groomers don't have to be licensed in North Carolina even though hairstylists and manicurists do. Legally, anyone with scissors can groom a pet in our state.

Carol adds, "There has to be some regulation. There has to be, you know I mean she is a dumb animal. You know, unfortunately she can't protect herself so there has to be some, some laws. There has to be.

And the International Professional Groomers' Association is pushing for licensing on the state level, but it's certainly not imminent. As for PetSmart, they had a lot to say about Carol and Samantha.

PetSmart provided us with this statement.

Pet safety is our number one business priority, and our groomers are extensively trained at the PetSmart Grooming Academy. They receive the education and resources to work at the highest levels in the business. We believe our accomplishments in providing a safe environment set us apart from other groomers.

The PetSmart Grooming Academy is an exclusive 16-week intensive training course all of our groomers complete before working with pets. Additionally, groomers must be re-certified each year in technique and pet safety.

PetSmart groomed over 8.3 million pets in 2007. Because groomers work with pets so often, they're trained to monitor their health and often the first to spot health concerns and stress.

In the event that there's a health concern, they work with pet parents and our on-site veterinarian to keep the pet healthy. It's also important for pet parents to make sure their pet is in good health before they decide to have it groomed.

We also suggest that if pet parents are concerned, they watch the process from our large windows or stay with their pet during grooming.

Because of the training and standards to which we hold our associates, Raleigh pet parents should have confidence their pets will receive great care when using any of our services such as grooming, training, PetsHotel or Doggie Day Camp.

In the instance that you're following, during the pet parent's visit to our store and while speaking to the Banfield veterinarian, the pet parent indicated the dog was arthritic and on steroids.

It was noted on the veterinarian reports that the dog was seriously overweight. In a careful review by our veterinarians at our corporate office, we have no reason, whatsoever, to believe there was any link between the dog's health problems the groom.

Here's some tips on what to look for when you're choosing a groomer.

You should ask your groomer if they have any certificates of training. If not, ask about their on-the job experience.

Ask to take a tour of the facility and try to choose a groomer based on referrals. Experts say there are other things to remember when choosing a dog stylist. Make sure they don't use hot blow driers on your dog.

And ask how many groomers are in the facility watching the dogs, most groomers have policies that require them to stand by the grooming table at all times so the dog does not jump or fall off while the pet is harnessed.


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