Un-groomed pets turning into health issues

Posted at 6:08 PM, May 13, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — According to the Governor’s Stay-Home Order, pet grooming is deemed non-essential. However, veterinarians and groomers alike are seeing and hearing about the problems that come with dogs not getting the grooming care they require.

“The executive order limits what we’re able to do currently. Initially maybe it’s not (essential), and it’s (grooming) more aesthetics or cosmetic, but I think we are getting to this point where I think we’re seeing that it’s becoming more essential”, Dr. Ryan Carpenter of Family Friends Veterinary Hospital told Fox 17 Wednesday.

Dr. Carpenter along with other vets in Michigan are able to help with some of the duties associated with grooming, but only when a pet is already in his care for a more pressing need.

“If the pet is already in our hospital, the contact has already happened." Dr. Carpenter explains. "We’re not going to not trim their nails or express their anal glands if they medically need that.”

Dr. Carpenter says the lack of grooming is now causing new pressing needs.

“Pet owners want to come in, their dogs are starting to scoot, or their nails are getting too long and they’re having trouble walking." Says Dr. Carpenter. "I had a dog that had really bad ears, so we had to take care of the ears, probably all because it had not been groomed,” Dr. Carpenter added.

Mary DeGraaf, the owner of The Grooming Corner in Jenison, has been shut down since March 24th.

“They’re (customers) just angry and don’t know what to do, just like I don’t know what to do,” DeGraaf told Fox 17.

DeGraaf added that she gets multiple calls every day asking when she is going to re-open and adds that pet owners doing some of the grooming on their own can lead to problems.

“I’ve seen it many times where the dog is cut because the person doesn’t know what they’re doing. If they cut the toe nail, if you cut it too short, it will bleed for along time and have to be cauterized.” DeGraaf adds that “a lot of dogs can’t go to the bathroom good because the hair is around their butt and it gets stuck in the hair.”

DeGraaf knows she could operate safely under the social distancing guidelines.

“They could pull up to the front door, hand me the leash, and I’ll take the dog in. You have to follow the rules unfortunately, even though these dogs need it. People are desperate at this point, they love their dogs and they see that they’re in trouble, they don’t want to see their dogs hurting like this.”

DeGraaf and Dr. Carpenter point to hot spots, eye infections, packed anal glands, and in-grown nails as the biggest problems associated with dogs not being properly groomed, and they’re hopeful Governor Whitmer will allow it soon.

“I hope the state is starting to realize that we need to start looking at getting our dogs back to being groomed before we have more medical trouble,” Dr. Carpenter said.