Whippet Media: Matted coat collage

RSPCA responds to Whippet Media over Dog Groomers plea to “TAKE US SERIOUSLY!”

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  • RSPCA recognise the “Importance of regular dog grooming and coat maintenance as well as the role of professional dog groomers”
  • Groomers call for the law to be changed and hold owners more accountable for the regular maintenance of their pets coats.
  • RSPCA “Disappointed” at the shows apparent focus on the aesthetics of grooming.
  • Dog welfare expert for the RSPCA Dr Samantha Gaines is worried that already “dogs suffer from serious health conditions as a result of the way they’ve been bred to look”

Since our last article was published Whippet Media have received a response from the RSPCA over Dog Groomers’ worries over failure to acknowledge the “huge issues” we face in our salons every day when it comes to regularly matted animals.

Whippet Media’s first article can be found HERE.

This article was in response to comments posted by the Daily Mail over BBC’s Pooch Perfect sending a “worrying message” about using dyes and colours on dogs coat. Even before Pooch Perfect had aired the first episode.

Daily mail article can be found HERE.

We need answers.

We contacted the RSPCA and called for them to make comment on their ‘miss-placed’ concerns, when there are far bigger issues that need addressing within the grooming industry.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said:

“The RSPCA is very pleased that there was a veterinarian and an animal welfare consultant involved early on in the production and present throughout the filming. This specific expertise is critical in helping safeguard the welfare of animals used in these types of programmes.”

DR. Samantha gaines, Dog welfare expert, rspca

Having business’ in the pet care industry we can all agree that the RSPCA and Dog Groomers will always have the welfare of animals in our care placed in the highest of regards.

Dog with dyed ears
The Whippet Media: @nicole_whippet instagram Vegas poochon

“Grooming is an essential part of responsible dog ownership and we look forward to the inclusion of information within the programme highlighting how this can impact on a dog’s health and happiness such as their movement, how easily they can see and breathe, and how they stay cool.”

DR. SAMANTHA GAINES, DOG WELFARE EXPERT, RSPCA

This is what we do every day.

As groomers, we strive to make the general public aware enough to place great importance upon the impact the lack regular grooming could have on their animal. So it is at least a start that the RSPCA can finally address the issue, and support the grooming industry for the work that we do in keeping animals safe and comfortable.

It’s safe to assume the RSPCA are never going to agree with the dyeing of animal coats. Is it cruel? As groomers I think we can all safely agree that dogs who are groomed creatively are not abused, nor are they in pain or unhappy. Is it necessary? Absolutely not, however neither is a continental trim on a poodle. Going down the route of “what is necessary in grooming and whats unnecessary” is falling into a completely different rabbit hole. Thats a conversation for another article! (watch this space).

Silver poodle in continental trim
Photo Credit: Naomi Short with Wallace the silver standard poodle

Dr Gaines continues…

“However, we are disappointed that elements of the show focus so much on the aesthetics of grooming. Sadly, the importance of dogs’ appearances has already come at the expense of dog welfare and many breeds now suffer from serious health conditions as a result of the way they’ve been bred to look a certain way. It’s important that programmes like this do not further perpetuate the idea that dogs are ours to objectify and treat as toys or fashion accessories.

DR. SAMANTHA GAINES, DOG WELFARE EXPERT, RSPCA

RSPCA’s assumptions are disappointing

It’s disappointing for the RSPCA to make such sweeping statements about the “elements” of a show that has only aired one episode. Surely judgement should be reserved until after all episodes have been shown.

When it comes to grooming, our main objective is to ensure the dog comes to our salon and leaves more comfortable than when it came in. However, all groomers will always ensure their grooms look aesthetically pleasing, otherwise we wouldn’t have any business, right? I think it’s important to be realistic when it comes to discussing the grooming process. Most customers wouldn’t come to us to get their dogs groomed if we didn’t shape the face, or show off the dogs best assets, so I think it’s always realistic to assume there will be aesthetic elements to day to day grooming…. even the matted dogs.

“We really hope that this series will emphasize the importance of regular dog grooming and coat maintenance as well as the role of professional dog groomers so that owners are better informed and understand the need to care for their dogs’ coats in order to avoid any health or behaviour problems.

DR. SAMANTHA GAINES, DOG WELFARE EXPERT, RSPCA

“Anyone who is concerned about the welfare of a dog can pass on their concerns to the RSPCA by calling our emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999. We always look into complaints that are reported to us and do what we can, within the law and the confines of our limited powers and resources, to improve animal welfare. We have investigated cases in the past involving dogs who have not had their coats properly maintained and we recognise that this can lead to serious suffering.

DR. SAMANTHA GAINES, DOG WELFARE EXPERT, RSPCA

To conclude I think the reality of this situation is that more often than not the RSPCA in particular have their hands tied by the law when it comes to what can be reasonably done to investigate regular coat neglect. They simply do not have the resources to chase up every complaint, especially since in the eyes of the law ‘bringing the dog to a groomer’ is showing reasonable effort in looking after the dog.

These laws need changing… Groomers need more support and their authority when it comes to coat care needs to be reinforced by the RSPCA and Veterinary care professionals regularly. It sometimes feels as thought the grooming industry gets treated as a bit of a joke, and we aren’t taken seriously when it comes to giving advice. (if you don’t believe me just go on some of the doodle pages!)

What the RSPCA can do in the meantime is stop focusing on the fact that healthy happy dogs are getting dyed when there are bigger issues. Issues that aren’t getting better.

It’s like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, it’s a bit pointless and didn’t help stop it from sinking.

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