IF dogs and cats can talk this will probably be their plea the moment they sense you are about to send them off to a grooming salon where a complete stranger will perform services that are very personal, even for a cat or a dog.
Our pets are like kids. The reasons we don't leave a child alone with a barber or a dentist should also apply with pets. In fact, because animals can't speak to convey their fear, hurt, doubt and apprehensions, the more they should be under our careful watch all the time.
Incidences of pet injury and even death after or while being groomed in a pet parlor are becoming alarmingly frequent lately. This should not be the case if pet owners realize the following:
* Pets generally don't like strangers.
* Pets grow anxious in a new environment, particularly if you are not with them.
* Pets prefer someone familiar to wash, trim and scrub them, especially their private parts.
* As pet owner, you know your pet better to assess their level of discomfort during grooming.
Personally, I don't understand this nouveau personal care services for cats and dogs that seem frivolous and a modern march of folly. Since when did cats need a bath done by a purported seasoned groomer? When did a dog need its hair dyed or its nails polished? But the most important question is, why do their owners leave them alone for washing like a pile of laundry for pick up afterwards?
I am not stopping anyone from bringing their pets to grooming salons, I just hope they will err on the side of caution and stick around to make sure their pets will be all right. Pets on their own may protest while being groomed, but it will only fall on deaf ears because the pet groomers are being paid to finish the job.
Pet barbers, pet masseuses, pet groomers, however you want to call them are but newfangled jobs now held by people who likely didn't take any basic course or seminar on animal behavior or how to handle animals. It's also highly unlikely or rarely you would find someone who can honestly say and prove that they have been professionally schooled or trained by an expert and licensed pet groomer simply because these are new jobs created to meet market demand sans proper training.
At best, the hired hands can hose a dog down, towel it dry and blow dry the hell out of it. Then with your dog shivering from the stressful and invasive wet encounter, they will bring out their shears and snip, shave and clip away. If that doesn't turn your dog's tongue purple, I don't know what would.
Unfortunately, sometimes accidents and complications happen and you return to the pet shop to find not your sweet-smelling pet but one that looks ill or worse, already dead. Then a flood of blames and arguments will ensue, which is quite moot because you probably signed a waiver after you parked your pet for a wash-down.
If you must have your cat or dog groomed outside, please stay with them. Insist on watching while they are being done; it's your right and your pet needs you to be there. If your pet looks very stressed, you can stop it. Better have an unwashed pet than a trembling ball of fear.
If you have the luxury of time, grooming your own pet also has its own rewards. It creates a unique bond and allows you to get familiar with your pet's body and detect possible growths, lumps and wounds by touch.
Pets don't care if you hire the best pet groomer in town. They will still prefer you over anyone else to clean and fix them even if you don't do a great job of trimming their fur. Mom and dad know best. That much they know. – AJB
Alma J. Buelva is the editor of MetroPets. A journalist by profession, her love for writing goes into overdrive when the subjects are pets.