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When Grooming Goes Wrong



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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.


This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Pet Product News.

 

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