Ditching the dog groomer during COVID-19 outbreak, yay or nay?
Pet groomers and dog owners are putting themselves at risk — unnecessarily
Small businesses are struggling to stay above monetary water in the age of social isolation, and that includes dog groomers, too. Whether they can be considered an “essential business” is arguable. What isn’t debatable is the fur collection sprinkled all over your couches, bed and the carpet. Even the dog bed is starting to look like a flat monster. And if your dog hops up on you one more time with those long dog claws, (s)he’s going to draw blood. Your pup needs to get to a dog groomer and fast, but now you’re concerned about how in the world to do it when you’re supposed to be socially isolating.
I can’t even blame you. I figured out a way to get hair supplies via Instagram from my local beauty supply store, just to stay home with freshly permed, clipped and washed hair that barely anyone would see. So making sure your dog’s fur is on point makes absolute sense to me. For dog owners who have their own supply of dog nail clippers, dog shampoo and conditioner (including antibacterial dog shampoo for more sensitive breeds), and dog brushes, you’re probably in the clear. You may have already used this equipment, and your dog groomer is Plan B.
I already knew how to take care of my hair and very rarely go to hair salons, so I save money all the time. But that took many years (I’ve been sitting in beauty salons since preschool), lots of quiet observations from the mirror, and some trial and error in my high school years. But if hair care for dogs (or humans) is not something you’ve even considered doing before, this is going to be quite the challenge for you during social isolation.
There are enough video tutorials circulating the Internet to walk dog owners through grooming their pets. Maybe you won’t be an expert at it, but you can probably get by. And your dog already likes you, so chances are pretty high that you won’t have to go through that uncomfortable concern about dog muzzles or growling or dog socialization. It’s just you and your favorite four-legged friend, who is probably ecstatic to be getting all this extra attention.
But what is of concern is The Atlantic’s report that pet groomers are not receiving hazard pay for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. One April 9 Petco corporate slide deck allegedly confirmed that face masks weren’t being given to pet grooming employees until very recently.
While the debate continues about the complexities resulting in felines being able to get COVID-19 and dogs still in the clear of spreading it — although they can get canine coronavirus, usually from dog kennels — the fact still remains that dogs cannot stroll solo into pet grooming offices. The dog owner is holding that collar, that harness and any additional toys to keep that dog busy during the process. This leaves pet groomers, without proper supplies, at risk of touching a potentially infected dog owner. Or, vice versa.
But there are so many alternate possibilities for dog grooming, and I ponder on why they’re not being used more often. If physical fitness instructors can do live workouts to keep their socially isolated students active, then dog groomers can do the same — from home. Let’s be real here: As long as people have exercise equipment, they could easily just look at a printout or checklists of exercises and do it by themselves. They don’t need someone counting off their exercises and telling them what to do next. They want that fitness instructor to make sure their form is correct and to keep them motivated.
Professional dog groomers provide a similar expertise. Yes, dog owners can look at a set of instructions and struggle their way through the Lion Cut, the Miami Clip, the Modern Clip or a Puppy Clip. But would you rather your amateur dog grooming be done alone, or would you rather have a professional watching you do it the first time to make sure you do it correctly? For dog owners, this is your time to show your professional dog groomer some appreciation.
Whether you hire this person through a dog care site (some dog walkers, dog boarders and dog sitters are also trained in professional dog grooming and this will be on their business profiles) or do a live Uber Conference chat with someone from a pet grooming chain, you two can work together — without having to risk each other’s health in the process. They clearly need to keep getting paid, and you need to see what color your couch used to be without all the fur on it.
Take tips from TeleHealth. If you can manage your dog’s health and appearance from the comfort and safety of your own home, try that instead. And give your virtual dog groomer a nice tip, too.