Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
PetSmart, which has been under fire for the deaths or alleged abuse of a small number of animals in its grooming salons, is making changes.
The Phoenix-based retail chain announced Feb. 14 that it is “implementing a comprehensive action plan to provide pets with an even safer and more enjoyable experience.”
“PetSmart is recruiting a team of recognized independent industry experts, accomplished master groomers and accredited veterinarians and pet behaviorists that will undertake a detailed review of PetSmart’s current training and grooming safety standards,” the company reported. “This team will provide an unbiased report of its findings and recommendations on any potential areas for improvement.”
In the meantime, PetSmart will:
- Host open houses so pet owners can tour the salons, meet the groomers and ask questions. “These open houses will include informative sessions with an overview of safety and training standards, grooming tips and procedures and — importantly — a review of PetSmart’s recently enhanced assessments of pets brought in for grooming,” PetSmart stated.
- Install cameras in all salons to “assist in ongoing associate education, provide additional oversight and ensure that the quality of service meets PetSmart’s strict standards.”
- Pay extra attention to short-nosed breeds such as English bulldogs, French bulldogs, pugs, boxers and Boston terriers. “These specific breeds are more likely to experience respiratory challenges, particularly in stressful environments, and for some dogs, this includes places like a grooming salon,” PetSmart noted.
The changes involving brachycephalic breeds include:
- An express service to limit the time the animal spends in the salon.
- The use of harnesses instead of a grooming lead.
Upon every pet’s check-in, groomers will look for signs of lethargy, excessive panting, excessive drooling, trembling or shaking, eye redness and resistance to entering the salon or kennel area.
“If a pet exhibits any two of these behaviors, PetSmart will not perform the service at that time,” the company stated. “Pet parents are welcome to stay in the store with their pet to see if the behaviors pass within 15 minutes. If not, groomers will work with the pet parent to reschedule the appointment or recommend a veterinarian who can perform the service.”
PetSmart is a retail partner to the Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance, which in 2015 developed “Standards of Care, Safety and Sanitation” for the grooming industry.