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  • Writer's pictureJosephine Bell

Lockdown changes rules for salon dog grooming: stay at home and D(og)IY unless it's welfare status.

Response to Defra-Revised Guidance - 12th January 2021/Dog Grooming

Since we now find ourselves once again in a national lockdown, many dog owners are finding it difficult to get their usual appointments with the dog groomer. Government rhetoric has shifted in recent days to try to restrict movement as part of its Covid prevention measures. Therefore, dog groomers are being encouraged to only deal with genuine welfare cases stating it should not ‘be business as usual’. This is applicable to dog groomers working in any environment, home based, high street, or mobile, who undertake home visits.

What are the new dog grooming rules?

Professional dog groomers should be assessing each request for grooming on a case by case basis, deciding what is urgent, and whether the dog in question really does need to be seen for welfare reasons. Dog owners are encouraged to carry out grooming at home. This article explains the recent rules and links to tips on home dog grooming, including a 'how to' video.

The rules only allow to get your dog groomed professionally if your dog’s welfare is truly at stake. The PIF states, "Groomers may accept a dog to be groomed by appointment where this is necessary for the animal’s welfare and not simply for aesthetic reasons. Welfare reasons could include on veterinary advice for a skin condition or excessive matting causing the pet discomfort. When routine grooming can be delayed without affecting the pet’s welfare until the national lockdown is eased it should be put off."

Certain breeds and coat types are more prone to matting, examples being, Poodles and Doodles, Cockapoos, Bichons, long silky coated Yorkies and double coated dogs. Nancy Woo from wikiHow states that while hair mats may seem like minor annoyances, they can become a serious problem. If stuck knots are not brushed out or removed, mats can tangle the fur to the skin, which can then cause sores, which are hidden by the matting. These sores can become infected, spreading across the body leading to systemic inflammation. During lockdown, the best way to avoid matting is through establishing a regular home grooming routine, brushing and de-knotting your dog's coat at least once a week.

Top tips for at home dog grooming

In the current climate, to prevent coat mangle, most responsible dog owners will be keen to establish a D(og)IY grooming routine. DIY dog grooming is an opportunity to further bond with your dog. Combining affection and stroking will help to create positive associations with grooming. Even if your dog is used to the groomers they might not relish the experience. Remember to reward your dog stage by stage with a treat for its patience. Build up slowly maybe just starting with a few minutes and breaking until the next day, until your dog starts to actively enjoy being groomed.

If your dog’s coat is slightly matted in places, it is advisable to finish the easy part of the groom first and come back to the knots. You may have to tug a little at knots which can make your dog anxious, so best to leave the worst until last. Investing in a decent comb, brush and professional dog nail clippers will help ease the process. Specialist grooming tools are readily available at online pet retailers.



‘How to groom a dog: 5 expert tips to help you groom your dog at home’, by Lisa Walden.

Lisa Walden's video demonstrates the A-Z of dog grooming: how to brush, shampoo, dry, and finally trim or clip your dog. She also demonstrates how to safely trim nails without causing them to bleed. If the worst were to happen, there are products dog owners can keep on hand to stem a bleed. Nails cut to high can bleed profusely, however there are easy to use 'blood stop' swabs you can use at home, in most cases avoiding a visit to the vet.

Positive associations for dog grooming

It is not surprising that many dogs find being groomed quite tiring and a bit of an ordeal. If your dog has developed a negative association you can change that by building up slowly with stroking introducing brushing and a treat. Split the process of grooming into bite sized sessions across the week so that the dog looks forward to it and will tolerate an extension of the process as time goes on. A spa like 'cool down' is important for dogs too - I always offer any dog I collect from a groomer a drink of cool water, a treat, followed by a short walk and a little snooze!

For the love of dogs,

Jo Bell

Chief dog minder at



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