By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– PetSmart, North America’s leading pet specialty retailer, has always been committed to the health and well-being of all pets. That’s why the company is implementing a comprehensive action plan to provide pets with an even safer and more enjoyable experience in its grooming salons. This plan, outlined below, goes into effect today.
Independent task force to review training curriculum
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. This team will provide an unbiased report of its findings and recommendations on any potential areas for improvement.
Salon Open Houses
Beginning this year, PetSmart will host Open Houses in all grooming salons for pet parents to meet their local groomers, discuss their pet’s specific needs, tour their local salon and have all their questions answered. These Open Houses will include informative sessions with an overview of safety and training standards, grooming tips and procedures and – importantly – a review of PetSmart’s recently enhanced assessments of pets brought in for grooming, designed to ensure a safer grooming experience.
Enhanced salon monitoring
PetSmart will begin the installation of cameras in all grooming salons to provide reassurance to pet parents that their pets will receive the best possible care from the highly skilled grooming staff. Video will be used to assist in ongoing associate education, provide additional oversight and ensure that the quality of service meets PetSmart’s strict standards. Installation plans are underway.
Higher safety standards
The actions above augment new, higher safety standards PetSmart implemented on February 2, 2018. The company now solely offers specialized care for English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, Pugs, Boxers and Boston Terriers (and 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. 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 parent immediately, so pet parents 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 parents 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 parent 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 parents 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.
In 2015, PetSmart played an active role in shaping and advocating for the adoption of care standards for all pet groomers in the industry. More information about this effort, as well as the proposed standards, can be found here: