A trip to the groomer can be frightening for dogs and cats—and it can put our beloved animal companions at risk of being abused or even killed.

According to news sources, a PetSmart groomer has been arrested and accused of cruelty to animals after a 1-year-old dachshund named Henry allegedly started having trouble breathing and bleeding from his mouth and then suddenly died. An X-ray apparently showed that he had a punctured lung and two broken ribs.

But this isn’t the first time that a groomer has been accused of hurting animals. Last year a witness in Atlanta reportedly used her cell phone to record a Petco employee who violently yanked on a dog’s paw and shoved the terrified animal around on a grooming table while trying to clip the dog’s nails.

PETA has a whole list of recent incidents of groomer abuse.

For example, a woman in Ohio warned groomers at PetSmart not to dry her Newfoundland (a breed known to be sensitive to heat), but when she picked up her dog, the animal was reportedly dry and was walking unsteadily and drooling. The dog collapsed soon afterward, and an emergency veterinarian determined that her temperature was over 109 degrees and that her organs were shutting down. The dog died the next day. A 9-month-old cocker spaniel reportedly needed staples to close nine deep gashes on her neck and paws after being groomed at a Petco store in Texas. After visiting a California Petco groomer, a 7-year-old shih tzu reportedly couldn’t walk and one of his legs was dangling. X-rays showed that the dog’s hip was dislocated. The groomer reportedly admitted to tugging on the dog’s leg during the grooming session. A groomer working at a Missouri veterinarian’s office allegedly threw an 8-pound dog against a wall so hard that she killed the animal. An 8-year-old pug allegedly died at a Pennsylvania PetSmart store after being placed in a head restraint. The dog’s guardians said their biggest regret was not staying with him while he was groomed. The list goes on.

How to protect your animal while he or she is being groomed: 

  • A good option is for you or your parents to learn how to groom your animal companion yourselves. Regular bathing, brushing, and clipping will help you build trust with your furry buddy while keeping him or her looking and feeling healthy.

dog bath

  • If you can’t groom your companion yourself and need to go to a grooming salon, stay with your animal! Never let your dog or cat disappear into the back room, no matter what anyone says. Groomers who have nothing to hide should welcome you or let you watch through a viewing window.
  • Consider mobile groomers who will provide services at your home, where you can watch and participate.
  • Find an experienced groomer who is confident with his or her skills and limitations and knowledgeable about animal behavior. Turn and walk out the door if the groomer appears to be afraid of or impatient with animals.
  • Look up your groomer on the Better Business Bureau website and do a Google search to see if any customers have encountered problems with the groomer.

dog grooming

Remember: Our dogs and cats are part of the family, and it’s up to us to protect them! Share this with your friends and family so they can keep their animal companions safe, too.