COVID-19 and dog grooming: Clarification provided for groomers and dog owners (April 28th 2020)

COVID-19 and dog grooming: Clarification provided for groomers and dog owners (April 28th 2020)

Grooming & Hygiene

COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions currently in place in the UK has changed and limited many aspects of how we access products and services that we need for our pets. Pet shops are still permitted to open and veterinary clinics continue to offer a greatly restricted range of services deemed essential or emergent.

However, as is the case for shops and services that serve people’s needs, those for pets deemed as non-essential have been closed for the duration.

Dog grooming salons and services is one of these things; and for the last few weeks, professional dog grooming has essentially been off the table for the UK’s dog owners, as a car journey to and from a grooming salon is deemed as non-essential, as was the grooming itself.

However, in the wake of calls to consider the need for professional grooming for certain types of dog coats and in certain states of cleanliness and condition as a welfare issue, the Pet Industry Federation have just announced (as of 28th April 2020) clarification for dog groomers in terms of whether or not they can or should offer their services, and how to deliver them whilst remaining safe.

This guidance and clarification is vitally important for both dog groomers and their customers, and clearly outlines what services (if any) dog groomers may offer at present, and how to execute them. So, what does all of this mean?

Well, some dog groomers that do or can work in a certain way and the owners of dogs with certain types of coats or in a certain state of unkemptness may be able to offer or access grooming services.

This article will outline the Pet Industry Federation’s exact guidance on COVID-19 and dog grooming as of 28th April 2020. Read on to learn more.

Can you drive to a dog groomer during lockdown?

This one is still a no. Driving your dog to a dog groomer’s premises is still classed as a non-essential journey and so you can’t go out in the car just to take your dog for grooming.

Can a dog groomer drive to you during lockdown?

Interestingly, this is allowed. Whilst people and businesses have been asked to work from home/remotely wherever this is possible, people are still permitted to travel for work where they are not able to work from home.

This means that if a groomer offers a mobile service from a grooming van that comes to you, or if they offer collection and drop off of dogs to customers, these are not things that they could do from home and so this is permitted.

Can you walk your dog to a dog groomer during lockdown?

Yes, if your dog groomer is in walking distance of your home, you can walk your dog to their appointment with the groomer, leave them there, and walk them home again. Exercising an animal (and yourself) is permitted, and is not classed as a journey in the same way going out in the car is.

Who decides if a dog groomer still works during social distancing?

As long as a dog groomer can fulfil the remit of working within the current COVID-19-related laws, the decision whether to open or not – and/or to be selective about what clients to see, and why – falls to the groomer.

Initially, most dog groomers believed, and no clarification was supplied to the contrary, that it would not to be possible to offer their services within the remit of restrictions, and/or were specifically told that this was the case. However, the Pet Industry Federation’s clarification on this subject will provide a great deal of reassurance and guidance for many groomers who will now find it viable to return to work, albeit likely in a limited manner and prioritising the grooming of dogs that need this as a welfare concern to prevent matting and discomfort.

It still remains the case though that a groomer who flouts the rules or operates outside of the remit of social distancing regulations is apt to find their operation closed and possibly, fined.

How can a groomer offer their services and maintain social distancing?

Here’s what the Pet Industry Federation has to say about dog grooming, the law, and social distancing safely and legally.

  • Dogs should be groomed in a mobile premises or picked up and dropped home by the groomer if transport is involved, and only one dog at a time can be carried.
  • Dog owners may walk their dogs to the groomer and back but cannot drive them.
  • Only one dog should be groomed at a time, and only one dog should be in a groomer’s van/on a groomer’s premises at a time.
  • Grooming vans and premises should be disinfected between dogs.
  • If warranted and possible, dog groomers should provide video assessments of clients’ dogs and their coat needs to identify those at risk of matting and associated welfare needs if they are not groomed.
  • Groomers should also offer advice where possible to dog owners to help them to maintain their dog’s coat at home.
  • Dog groomers who do open should follow all social distancing protocols; maintaining six feet distance from clients, who should of course not stay while the dog is groomed, and ideally handing off the dog remotely.
  • Non-cash payments are advised as is the case for all businesses, and once more as is the case for all businesses, few groomers will be able to operate at normal capacity at this time, and so may have to be selective and prioritise dogs in most need of grooming based on their welfare needs.


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