Certified Groomers should be considered essential for Pet healthcare

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The Covid19 pandemic has forced many non-essential businesses in the service industry to temporarily suspend operations. The Pet Groomer's association in India has also been following the guideline this far. But, as a pet owner and an international certified professional pet groomer, I would like to urge the government to relook at their decision with regards to professional pet grooming by qualified groomers. It is important to understand that pet grooming is not just about aesthetically beautiful looking pets, but also a health concern for many pets. Many owners are not aware about the safety precautions required to groom their pet or are not trained to notice subtle changes in their pets' anatomy or behaviour, as a groomer would. A professionally certified pet groomer is trained to take care of the pet's hygiene form a health perspective first. Noticing changes in skin conditions like parasites and infections, to physical changes like lumps and bumps, ear infections and overgrown nails; are all skills that are required of a professional pet groomer.

While silly haircuts done by desperate or enthusiastic pet owners might make for a funny internet post, there is a real danger in the wellbeing of that pet in question. Many owners can injure their pets while using sharp instruments like clippers and scissors or they can cause infections and irritation by misusing products or not following instructions properly. The pet can face health problems like matting,  overgrown nails, hair going into the eyes or water going into the ears, causing infections, due to neglect. I have had many pet owners come to me with pets that have gaping wounds because they tried to cut off a matt or knot in the hair of their pet. There have also been instances when an owner has failed to notice skin infections that can lead to maggot wounds or growing cancerous lumps that cause serious health implications for the pet.

There are many more 'horror stories' that many groomers can relate to. Our job is to keep pets looking and feeling healthy and hygienic. Many pets need medicated baths or regular haircuts to help control chronic skin problems, their nails need to be trimmed or the hair poking their eyes needs to be safely removed. These are services that a veterinary doctor may not have the time to look at while they are attending to more immediate, life-threatening situations. But letting these situations go unattended for a longer period of time, can make them serious issues. The saying, 'a stitch in time saves nine', holds true for the pet grooming and animal welfare industry. 

I would like to ask the Animal welfare Board of India to consider my petition and tag Pet groomers as the first line of support for the health and wellbeing of all pets. Thus giving us permission to operate our services within the required safety norms. We should also be included as essential services for the welfare of animals.