Pet Spas

Beware of Potential Dangers

Dog gets a bath

The presence of well-coifed pooches sitting at the heels of kings and queens in paintings dating back to the Elizabethan era suggests pet grooming is anything but nouveau. Grooming our pets is as much for our benefit as it is for theirs. Sure, they look cute, but a good bath, haircut, nail trimming and a swipe of the ears makes for a very healthy pet.

That “cute” factor, though, can take some effort — and add some unwanted stress for your pet. Ever hear of a “water cat”? While some dogs may have an affinity for water and actually enjoy the occasional bath, cats would most likely give up their catnip before taking a dip. In addition, there are safety concerns to consider.

Here are some things to consider before taking your furball to the groomer:

Contact Your Veterinarian

Your veterinarian will know if any clients have needed treatment for grooming mishaps. Ask the veterinary staff if they have any recommendations for local groomers or if they can tell you which ones to avoid.

Heat Can Burn

Some pet spas use giant blow dryers to quickly dry a pet’s fur. Beware: too much heat can burn your pet’s skin.

Dog grooming facility

“I once treated a cat who was badly burned from being left in a dryer cage too long,” says Dr. Cori Gross, a field veterinarian for VPI Pet Insurance. “Sometimes groomers place cats and small dogs in the cage with a giant blow dryer facing them so they can tend to another pet. The blow dryers are safe—as long as they are monitored.”

Potential Problems

Other common pet spa ailments include clipper burn—when the pet’s hair is shorn too close to the skin, eye irritations due to fragrant shampoos and rinses accidentally rubbed into a pet’s eyes, and trimming the pet’s toenails too short (“quicking” them).

While most groomers are very competent and gentle, it’s in your best interest to find one who comes recommended by a pet owner or veterinary professional you trust. 


Most pets can be conditioned to enjoy regular pampering if they start at a young age.

Start Grooming Habits Early

Most pets can be conditioned to enjoy regular pampering if they start at a young age. Dogs in particular like a routine.

Dog at spa
  • A brush is a must: Accustom your pet to being brushed — not only will this conquer his fear, but it will promote a healthy, clean coat and make professional grooming easier.
  • Prepare the paws: Get your pet used to having his paws touched frequently while he’s still a puppy or a kitten. Over time he will develop patience and learn not to be sensitive to handling.
  • Don’t make a big deal out of it: A calm owner can make for a calm pet. Encouragement is positive reinforcement for good behavior. And rewarding your pet with a treat afterward can’t hurt, either.

Now look who’s sitting pretty.


Return to the VPI Pet HealthZone

Email this article to a friend or share it via your favorite social network.

Share This page

Related Articles

Pepper and Ginger

An hour after going out for their potty breaks, Pepper and Ginger both started throwing up violently. Their parents soon realized they had ingested poison meant for a pesky gopher.
 Full Story