Guidance for groomers on procedures

Whilst the grooming industry is unregulated, dog groomers are still required to work within the confines of the law. The British Dog Groomers’ Association has reviewed existing legislation and consulted with external professional bodies including the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in order to offer members the following recommendations over certain procedures.

Anal glands

A vet should first identify whether a dog needs regular expression of the anal glands and advise how frequently it should be done by a competent person, to avoid unnecessary forceful squeezing of anal sacs that don’t need emptying.

Internal expression of the para-anal sacs involves entering the body cavity, which is the practice of veterinary surgery, and can therefore only be carried out by a veterinary surgeon of student/registered veterinary nurses working under the direction of their veterinary surgeon employer.

Members are advised only to undertake external expression of anal glands if this has previously been demonstrated to them by a veterinary surgeon, and only on the advice of an individual dog’s veterinary surgeon. If there appears to be a problem with the anal sac, groomers should not carry out the procedure and advise the customer visits a vet. The groomer should not attempt internal expression of the para-anal sacs.

Groomers wishing to offer external anal gland expression should check with their insurers whether they are covered for carrying out this procedure. This is important in the event of a health problem occurring and the procedure being implicated.


Teeth scaling

In carrying out dental procedures for dogs and cats, the most important area to clean effectively is the area below the gum line surround the teeth (the periodontal pocket). The delicate tissues attaching the tooth to the jaws are easily damaged, resulting in pain and possible tooth loss.

Pets not under anaesthetic will not usually remain stationary whilst the procedure is performed. Cleaning below the gum line is always uncomfortable and small, uncontrolled movements of the head during effective tooth scaling could easily lead to periodontal damage, no matter what instruments are being used (sharp tools and/or ultrasonic or sonic scalers cooled by water jets). Cleaning only the visible tartar above the gum line is not effective and could disguise dental issues, delaying effective treatment.

Anaesthesia-free dental procedures are not in the best interests of the health and welfare of patients. Effective dental procedures need to be carried out under anaesthetic, by a veterinary surgeon. Members are therefore advised not to undertake teeth scaling, with any form of instrument.

Ear cleaning / plucking

Members are advised only to clean the external meatus of the ear, and not to enter the ear cavity (for plucking or any other purpose) as there might be an underlying problem that requires further attention from a veterinary surgeon. If there appears to be a problem with the ear, groomers should not carry out the procedure and advise the customer visits a vet.



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