PetSmart Makes Improvements
to Grooming Policies and Procedures
PetSmart has implemented an action plan that the company said will provide pets with an even safer and
more enjoyable experience in its grooming salons.
The retailer 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 team will provide an unbiased report of its findings and recommendations on any potential areas for
Beginning this year, PetSmart will host open houses in all grooming salons for pet owners to meet their local groomers, discuss their
pets’ specific needs, tour their local salon and have all their questions answered. The open houses will include informative sessions
with an overview of safety and training standards, grooming tips
and procedures, and a review of PetSmart’s recently enhanced assessments of pets brought in for grooming, designed to ensure a
safer grooming experience.
The retailer will begin the installation of cameras in all grooming
salons to provide reassurance to pet owners that their pets will receive
the best possible care from the grooming staff, according to officials for
the company, which has headquarters in Phoenix. Video will be used
to assist in ongoing associate education, provide additional oversight
and ensure that the quality of service meets PetSmart’s standards. Installation plans are underway.
The actions above augment new, higher safety standards PetSmart
implemented in February. The company now offers specialized care
solely for English bulldogs, French bulldogs, pugs, boxers and Boston terriers as well as any dog mixed with one of these breeds. 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, officials added.
PetSmart’s higher safety standards for these breeds include:
• An uninterrupted Express service provided by a dedicated grooming professional, limiting the amount of time a pet spends in the
salon. When the groom is complete, the pet is returned to the pet
owner immediately, so pet owners are now asked to stay in or near
the store during their pet’s appointment.
• The use of harness-style methods, instead of a traditional lead
such as those commonly used in the grooming industry, due to the
breathing challenges these breeds often have in response to stress.
• Additionally, all PetSmart groomers now perform a broader safety assessment of every pet at check-in. They closely observe pets
for any combination of the following: lethargy, excessive panting,
excessive drooling, trembling or shaking, redness in eyes 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. Pet owners 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 owner to reschedule the appointment or recommend a veterinarian who can perform the service.
A summary of these higher safety standards, an overview of
PetSmart’s Grooming Academy, tips for pet owners to consider before having their pet groomed, a video tour of a grooming salon and
a behind-the-scenes video of its grooming curriculum are available on
“PetSmart has set the highest safety standards in the industry, and
we are always looking to improve,” said Gregg Scanlon, senior vice
president of store operations and services. “We recognize the respon-
sibility we have every time a pet parent chooses PetSmart, and we
want to live up to our promise of being their trusted partner every
day. That’s why we’re taking action—to help create an even better ex-
perience for pets in our care and to give pet parents the peace of mind
PetSmart Academy-trained stylists complete 800 or more hours of
hands-on instruction and safety certification, working with at least 200
dogs of all breeds and sizes. All stylists complete annual safety re-certi-
fication and participate in quarterly grooming safety-training sessions.
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