Dog Dies During Grooming at Petco; Tips for Finding a Quality Groomer

     As a pet owner and animal lover, it saddens me to see preventible incidents like this in the headlines. When we leave our dog in a professional’s care, we expect that they will be cared for and pampered…not left to die.

     On May 29th 2015 Allison Marks left her beautiful 2 y/o Golder Retriever, Colby, at the Petco in Powhatan County VA to be groomed. At 1 PM, an hour after Colby’s expected finish time, she became concerned and called Petco. She was instructed to meet the store’s manager at an animal emergency center. Colby was pronounced dead by the vet center from apparent heat stroke. The dog’s temperature was 105, 45 minutes after being discovered. The groomer left Colby in a cage with the dryer on while she left work to attend a graduation party.
     Petco reports that they are taking full responsibility, have removed the no-heat dryers, fired staff and are completing employee education. In my opinion, not leaving a dog in a cage for extended periods of time under a dryer is common sense…and I have to question the employee screening processes and quality of the groomers the company hires, and procedures for when an employee leaves work…in the middle of a dog grooming.
     My heart goes out to Mrs. Marks, and I hope that knowing she is in the thoughts and minds of America brings her some comfort. How do you make sure your dog isn’t in a similar situation?

1. Ask the groomer questions:

  • How many people will be caring for my dog?
  • How many dogs are you caring for at one time/ dog to groomer ratio?
  • Do you have timers on your dryers, how long will my dog be left in a crate?
  • How often are dogs in cages checked on?
  • How many years experience does this groomer have with animal care?
  • Have you had any grooming incidents here? Injuries, deaths and illness. 

2. Make sure to speak directly with the groomer, make eye contact (if in person) and or speak to the manager.

3. If you’re unhappy, or don’t feel right in your gut about your interaction…go elsewhere! There are many places that provide grooming that offer quality care.

4. Groom at home. John Paul Pets offers very reasonably priced, salon quality dog products for home use! Make the dog bath a family event, and spent the money you save on something fun!

5. Check for Better Business Bureau complaints and or simply complete a google search for incidents at the facility.

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