When Grooming Goes Wrong
When Julie and Isaiah Williams brought their three pugs to the Whitehall Township, Pa., PetSmart for bathing and nail clipping, one of their pugs died, according to WFMZ.com.
Reports say that Pujo’s ability to breathe was unrestricted and that the dog had no pre-existing health conditions. Pujo’s death could not be determined by the animal autopsy.
Allegedly, the Williams mentioned that an employee subsequently informed them that Pujo “was put in a head restraint” that the couple said was intended for longer-snouted dogs, not shorter-snouted ones. The Williams also reported that the individual attending to Pujo might not have had certification or training for the breed.
PetSmart expressed sorrow for the Williams’ loss and acknowledged that Pujo received “immediate veterinary care” after the pug showed “signs of stress.”
PetSmart also reported that its pet groomers “complete an extensive training program, which includes breed-specific training and an annual safety certification. We believe that a continued focus on high standards, rather than a license, is a more effective way to hold groomers accountable and promote safety in our salons,” according to a statement via WFMZ.com
In another case, according to USA Today, Mentor, Ohio, resident Cindi Tousel’s 6-year-old Newfoundland, Gracie, died shortly after an Aug. 30, 2014, PetSmart grooming appointment.
Four and a half hours later, on the advice of PetSmart staff, Tousel brought Gracie to an emergency vet who told her that Gracie’s organs were “shutting down.” Gracie died the following day. The Dogington Post reported that Tousel’s dog was drooling, had an abnormal gait and registered a temperature of 109, compared to a normal temperature of 102.
Tousel’s veterinarian said her dog’s condition was due to Gracie suffering from excessive heat.
PetSmart made a statement saying the company would look into what happened to Gracie, and it based its next moves upon the ultimate findings. The pet retailer said pet well-being is a “top priority.” PetSmart compensated Tousel $2,200 for veterinary expenses and gave her flowers, and its corporate offices contacted her.
Though Tousel said Gracie was thoroughly dried off, she wasn’t certain whether a blow dryer was used, and she said she told the PetSmart groomer not to dry Gracie.
USA Today pointed out that Newfoundlands’ sensitivity to heat is well known, information that Tousel might have understood a dog groomer to already know.
Dogs with full, thick coats, such as Newfoundlands, require additional attention because they are more likely to overheat, increasing the chances of death, said Lisa Jordan, owner of Nature’s Pet Day Spa in Gainesville and Summerville, Fla. In her experience with dryers clamped to kennels, dogs can overheat if the heaters are not monitored. Timers might not shut off because dryers can get turned over, preventing them from being shut off.
Susan Briggs, CKO of Crystal Canine in Houston, said that even in climate-controlled centers, such as her own, a dog still can overheat.
Briggs had a dehumidifier in her climate-controlled groom shop and still had a Polish sheepdog she and her staff were drying show unexpected signs of heat stroke. Thankfully, everyone recognized the dog’s signs of stress and took action.
|Petco Under Fire After Dog Dies While Being Groomed|
Petco moved swiftly to deal with a public relations nightmare after a dog died while at one of the mega chains’ stores for grooming services.
Allison Marks had taken her golden retriever to a Petco in Midlothian, Va., to be groomed.
Staff at the store told her the 2-year-old dog would be ready to go by noon; Marks became concerned when she had still hadn’t heard from the store by 1 p.m.
When she called the store, she was told to go to a local animal clinic without explanation.
“They didn’t even tell me why I had to go—just that one of the managers would meet me there.”
When she walked in she saw her dog, Colby, on the veterinarian’s table with his eyes glazed over.
“I just started screaming; Colby was my everything,” she said.
The vet told Marks that her dog had been dead for more than 45 minutes and that his temperature still hovered above 105 degrees.
The Petco employee told her they had found Colby in the drying unit and that the groomer who had been working on him had left the store to attend a graduation.
Marks, 51, told ABC News: “I don’t know if they turned him over to another groomer who dropped the ball or what. I know people walk back and forth past the dryers, because I have to take Colby back there myself because he gets anxious.”
An investigation by Petco found that “animal care protocols” were not followed during Colby’s appointment and the people involved have been let go from the company, according to a statement.
Petco also removed the type of dryer used in this case from all store locations.
“We are also using this incident to reinforce our standards of care, and will be conducting nationwide sessions to reinforce this training with grooming salon team members in every Petco store next week,” Petco said. “It’s important to know we do not use heated dryers in any Petco grooming salons, and we can confirm there was no heat used in the drying process during Colby’s groom, but other details are still being investigated.”
Marks was said to be considering legal action, but for Petco the bigger issue might be the national publicity.
The story ran in national newspapers and on TV, and it went viral on social media.
Just three months ago at a Petco in Georgia, a groomer was fired after a customer caught him on video treating her dog roughly. That incident also went viral on social media.
Earlier in the year there was an outcry after a bulldog in Indiana died at a PetSmart where he was being groomed.
This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Pet Product News.