Wednesday, January 10, 2018

12 tips to help avoid tragedy at the pet groomer

 By Sophie Nieto-Munoz for NJ Advance Media
Posted January 10, 2018 at 07:11 PM | Updated January 10, 2018 at 07:12 PM

News of two dogs dying and a third being injured after being groomed at a New Jersey PetSmart received widespread interest, and concern from pet owners.

Pet grooming is big business, with owners expected to spend some $6.11 billion on services this year, according to the American Pet Products Association.

With more than half the households in the country owning a dog or cat, the demand for qualified groomers and safe grooming techniques is high.

NJ Advance Media spoke to Chuck Simon, a certified groomer and owner of Groomers Helper, who shared points to keep in mind.

Do your research

Googling “pet groomer near me” and clicking the first choice is not how to choose a groomer. “Most people are lazy and are not going to go any further than they have to,” said Simons, who has been in business for more than 30 years. He advises owners who care about their pets to do their due diligence and research extensively before committing to a groomer that will handle your beloved pet.

Decide your priorities - are you willing to spend more, or travel further? Are you looking for a good bath or a nail clipping? Find someone with experience, pictures on their website and most importantly, talk to a customer of that groomer.


“Reviews should come from people walking out their door,” said Simons, whose customers also come from word of mouth. Most groomers don't advertise for grooming customers, so a substantial amount of ads should raise a red flag.

While he isn’t the biggest supporter of Yelp, Facebook reviews work can be brutally honest, giving pet owners a good handle of past customers’ experiences.

National Dog Groomers Association of America

Though licensing is not required in New Jersey, Simons pointed out it’s very important to find a groomer who is passionate enough to continue their higher education, more than likely being a qualified groomer. The first thing to find is a National Certified Master Groomer, typically on behalf of National Dog Groomer Association of America (look for the logo of a barber shop pole with a poodle). These groomers have to pass written and practical tests, become an expert on safety procedures and hygiene, and more than anything, know how to groom a dog.

“If that groomer took the time to be certified, then they pretty much know everything, know the breeds and they can handle a pet.” Still, check out their reviews, Simons urges, but traveling a few extra minutes for a National Certified Master Groomer could make the world of a difference to your pet.

Sophie Nieto-Munoz | For

All groomers should use clean equipment, Simons said. Though not everything needs to be sterilized, cleaning equipment should be disinfected after each usage. Cages for the animals should also be wiped down before a new animal enters. To avoid infections and pet illness, Dogington Post, a pet advocacy site, urges floors and crates to be cleaned with bleach at the end of the day. Even though there are vaccines for pets, illnesses including kennel cough are airborne. A lack of cleaning products (and those musty scents) are signs to not leave your pet there. 


One of the biggest rumors in the grooming industry is that pet salons sedate or tranquilize pets. If you hear of this, run, Simons said. A sedated pet is worse than an anxious pet, because it’s trying to fight the sedation, making it harder to work, Simons said.

“If someone is going to give your dog something, it should be under a licensed veterinarian. Groomers are not doctors,” he said. “I wouldn’t take my dog to a groomer that uses sedation.”

Cage dryers

Another concern of pet owners that may partially be a myth is cage drying.

Towel or air drying, forceful blowers and kennel dryers are the three ways most groomers dry pets, Simons said.

Towel or air drying takes hours, so most groomers opt for forceful blowers, which blows the water off the pet and fluffs it.

Cage dryers have the worst reputation of drying methods due to news of dogs overheating with this technique. Most of these stories, Simons said, are because of operator negligence who box a dog up, put heat on it and don’t pay attention.

“It’s not the dryers. It’s the people who are using them,” he said.

But he said not to worry, since good kennel dryers have a fail safe that can’t exceed a certain temperature.

He doesn’t let his cage dryers go above 82 degrees, and pets should only be in the cage for 10 to 15 minutes. Check that these dryers have plexiglass fronts, so it’s visible if a dog is in distress.

“If we can force dry them, we’re going to force dry them, that’s what we prefer,” Simons said. “But some dogs just absolutely don’t let you.”


Monday, January 1, 2018

A Year of Animal Oddities Around the World: 7 Reader Favorites

December 30, 2017

A rare white giraffe and her calf in Kenya. Video of the animals was believed to be the first of its kind. 
Hirola Conservation Program/Caters

The animal kingdom is full of wondrous, wild and weird stories.

So it’s no surprise that animals made headlines across the globe in 2017 for rare, odd and heroic episodes. Here is a look at some of the stories that captured our readers’ attention.

These rare white giraffes were spotted in Kenya.

A pair of spectral animals roamed the plains of Garissa County near the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in Kenya’s east.

The animals, rare white giraffes, inspired awe across the world after the Hirola Conservation Program posted a video of them.

Abdullahi H. Ali, who founded Hirola, said it was the first known video of white giraffes.

The giraffes displayed the characteristics of a genetic condition known as leucism, which inhibits pigmentation in skin cells, Dr. Ali said.

A hero dog was awarded a medal in Britain.

A Belgian Malinois that was badly injured by shrapnel in Afghanistan was awarded the Dickin Medal, Britain’s highest award for animal bravery, in November.

The dog, Mali, was recognized for helping to sniff out Taliban militants and booby traps during a mission by Afghan and British Special Forces in 2012.

The Dickin Medal has been awarded 69 times since it was established in 1943. Its recipients include 32 pigeons — G.I. Joe among them — 32 dogs, four horses and one cat.

Snakes kept Bangkok’s fire department busy.

Snakes have always been a part of life in Bangkok. They lurk in toilets, swim in flooded streets and slither into people’s homes.

In 2017, the Bangkok Fire and Rescue Department, which is responsible for removing snakes from homes, was busier than ever. It received more than 31,800 calls for help, more than three times the number it got just five years earlier.

Firefighters with a python in Bangkok. Credit Amanda Mustard for The New York Times

As the sprawling city of more than 8.2 million people continues to expand into what was once wild land, snake encounters are likely to be frequent.

Syrian zoo animals were evacuated from a war zone.

Nine animals clinging to life at an abandoned zoo on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria, were evacuated to a rehabilitation center in Turkey in July thanks to the help of an American journalist and businessman.

An ailing lion was given water while being transported from an abandoned zoo near Aleppo. Credit Four Paws International

The animals — three lions, two tigers, two bears and two hyenas — were relocated after months of uncertainty amid the country’s brutal civil war. The zoo’s owner had fled, leaving the animals caged and alone.

The American, Eric Margolis, financed the effort by local groups to move the animals after the months long siege of Aleppo finally ended.These elephants kept warm with giant blankets.

These elephants kept warm with giant blankets.

When unseasonably cold weather hit the Winga Baw camp for orphaned elephants in Myanmar in December, workers scrambled to protect the seven animals in their care. But with temperatures falling to a 40-year low, the usual technique of using straw to keep the animals warm would not suffice.

Temperatures fell to 46 degrees in some parts of the country. But the camp, in the Bago Region of Myanmar, had a secret weapon: giant knitted and crocheted blankets.

How do you keep a blanket on an elephant? Caretakers at a camp in Myanmar tied it firmly around the animal’s belly. Credit Save Elephant Foundation

They were donated by Blankets for Baby Rhinos, a wildlife conservation craft group made up of 1,500 knitters and crocheters across the world.