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Animal welfare act 2006

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is an extensive piece of legislation designed to improve and ensure good standards of care and to prevent abuse of animals - section 9 is key. This piece of legislation is important for both pet owners and dog groomers, or any individual interfacing with domesticated or captive animals.  Out of this piece of legislation comes what are known as the 5 Animal Welfare Needs, and these are: 

The 5 Welfare Needs 

Every pet owner must provide for the following needs of their pets: 

  • Health – Protection from pain, injury, suffering and disease and treated if they become ill or injured. 

  • Behaviour – the ability to behave naturally for their species eg. Play, run, dig, jump, fly etc. 

  • Companionship – to be housed with, or apart from, other animals as appropriate for the species. i.e. company of their own kind for sociable species like rabbits or guinea pigs, or to be housed alone for solitary species like hamsters. 

  • Diet – a suitable diet. This can include feeding appropriately for the pet’s life stage and feeding a suitable amount to prevent obesity or malnourishment, as well as access to fresh clean water. 

  • Environment – a suitable environment. This should include the right type of home with a comfortable place to rest and hide as well as space to exercise and explore.

 

As a dog groomer, I work very hard to ensure the welfare needs of the dogs that owners temporarily transfer into my care are met.  Below are the ways in which I aim to meet the standards expected in law: 

Health - matted coats can cause significant physical discomfort and can also mask skin health problems.  I will not attempt extensive dematting procedures on any dog, as this can cause pain and mental distress; I will inform you of any problem but be reassured that I will remove a matted coat in the most humane manner possible.  As a qualified groomer I will use a short blade, and very carefully shave the coat from the skin.  It is unlikely that any aesthetic trimming will be possible in this instance.  Be aware, that I do not accept responsibility for injury where I’m attempting to alleviate a problem.  At the outset of a groom, I will enquire about the health of your dog to try to ensure that I don't do anything or use a product that might exacerbate an existing problem.  The products I use within the salon are specifically for dogs.  During each groom, I’m on the lookout for any signs of abnormality in your dog's condition or health, and will draw these to your attention enabling you to follow up any problem with your dog's veterinary surgeon. 

  • Behaviour - I will observe your dog's behaviour to ensure that I reassure him or her at each stage of the groom, to reduce fear or anxiety.  I reward dogs verbally, and often give treats to try to establish good manners in the grooming salon as this makes the session more enjoyable for the dog and also for me.  I want your dog to like me and to trust me.  If your dog is allergic to some food, then please tell me so that I can give the right treats.  If you know of any reason why a dog might not like a particular procedure, then it is important that you tell me, as I can then work in a different way to try to ensure that your dog is both happy and safe, and that I am also protected. I’m aware that some groomers claim to work force-free, and in practice what this means is that they do not use restraint equipment whilst the dog is on the table.  I use restraint equipment to ensure that the dog does not fall or jump from the table, that it also stands reasonably still whilst we are working with sharp tools to cut hair; these are sensible risk control measures and are practiced by most professional dog groomers. 

  • Companionship – I work on a one-to-one basis which is ideal for dogs that suffer with anxiety or become defensive around other dogs.    

  • Diet - weight management is an area that your veterinary surgeon will be able to help with.  To help dogs feel more relaxed in the salon, I do use treats, but if this is a problem, then do let me know.  I also offer water whilst the dog is in the salon. 

  • Environment – I work on a one-to-one basis to avoid the need for dogs being crated or put in a pen. I therefore rely heavily on my customers collecting their dog at the appointed time. Dogs will be received in the salon and returned on their lead via the salon gate.  The salon gate always remains closed to reduce any risk of a dog escaping.