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.
PetSmart 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 improvement.
In recent months, PetSmart has made headlines after customers in several states filed complaints about the retailer’s grooming practices. Multiple reports have cited animals being hurt—or worse—at PetSmart facilities.
Beginning this year, PetSmart will host open houses in all grooming salons for pet owners to meet their local groomers, discuss their pet’s 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 highly skilled 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’s website.
“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 responsibility 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 experience for pets in our care and to give pet parents the peace of mind they deserve.”
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-certification and participate in quarterly grooming safety training sessions.