Published by PETA Staff.

Recently, a disturbing video surfaced in which a PETCO staffer was seen violently yanking on the leg of a terrified dog. Unfortunately, although it is not well known, such incidents are not uncommon. But there are steps that you can take to protect your dog—without skipping the grooming.

1. Do It Yourself

The best way to ensure that your dog stays safe is to learn how to groom dogs yourself. It’s not difficult, and with practice, patient, and a calm approach, you may find that grooming your dog brings the two of you even closer together.

2. Self-Serve Dog-Washing Salons

There are two types of do-it-yourself dog-washing facilities: complete self-serve coin-operated ones and self-serve with on-site supervision, which might also offer supplemental grooming. This is a convenient way to keep your dog clean without having to invest in any grooming paraphernalia.

3. Let the Groomer Come to You

If you do decide to use a grooming service, you can request a house call by an individual or freelance groomer or have a mobile grooming clinic come to your residence.

4. Find the Best of the Best

Find an experienced groomer who is knowledgeable about animal behavior. You can also request references from prior clients, as well as asking your friends which groomer they’ve taken their animals to and been happy with. 

5. Do Your Research on Professional Groomers

If you must take your dog to a grooming salon, first check with the Better Business Bureau and do a Google search to see if there are any complaints from past customers. Go there and observe the atmosphere—is it chaotic or pleasant? How do the groomers interact with the dogs? If they appear to be impatient or rough with them, don’t hesitate to turn and walk out the door. If you decide to go forward, be sure to alert the groomer to any sensitivities or relevant health issues that your dog may have, such as arthritis.

6. Stay With Your Animal

Whatever you do, always insist on staying with your animal the entire time. Groomers who have nothing to hide should welcome you or at least let you watch through a viewing window. Never, ever let your animal be taken into the back room without you for any reason.

Maxine the dog needs a home

Our animal companions’ safety is too important to leave to chance. Please read PETA’s grooming factsheet for more ways to protect animals from abuse and accidents at the groomer’s.

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