How about the PetSmart grooming scandal? Never heard of it? The story broke in September 2018, and many people are just not aware of it. NJ Advance Media conducted an investigation over 14 states beginning in 2008, and found that 32 deaths occurred at the hands of “groomers” at PetSmart. Most of those have occurred since 2015, the same year PetSmart was bought by a private equity firm. The number seems small but there’s no way to know how many dogs may actually have died. The company has not been entirely forthcoming, and pet owners may not be reporting pet deaths. Actually, most states don’t place value on pets, so bringing suit is not feasible.
If you know me, you know I believe in transparency. You should be able to watch while your dog is groomed. If the groomer does not permit that, go somewhere else. I’m not saying you have to stay, just that the groomer should have no objection if you choose to do so.
As a pet owner, you must know your pet. Does he stress easily? Is he a rescue dog who fears being left? My sweet beagle Reba used to go to a local vet’s grooming service for an occasional claw trim. I know they were kind and patient, but she always came out of the 20-minute experience shaking. Only a two-hour nap could make her world right again. I can’t imagine what the full spa treatment would have done to her.
The article about PetSmart appeared in the Plain Dealer, and many cases cited involved bulldogs or other brachycephalic (flat-faced) dogs. Those dogs do overheat easily, and perhaps the grooming situation in those stores did not accommodate the needs of such breeds. An assembly line service may be inexpensive, and just fine for dogs without special needs.
What’s the attraction to PetSmart? We’ve often heard that their obedience instructors generally double as cashiers, and I don’t know what else the groomers do. There are professional obedience instructors out there, often highly recommended; likewise, there are groomers in freestanding shops who will give your sweetie a great makeover, being kind to him all the while. It isn’t just what’s cheapest, but what is best for your pet.
You may believe your dog is your best friend. Are you his?