BSAVA Announces its 65th President

Alison Speakman has been appointed as the 65th President of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), taking over from the outgoing President, Sheldon Middleton.

Alison has been an active member of the BSAVA since graduating from the University of Glasgow Veterinary School in 1991. She works in small animal practice and has completed a residency in feline medicine at Liverpool University’s School of Veterinary Science, as well as a PhD in canine Bordetella bronchiseptica. She has also spent two years working in industry. 

Sheldon Middleton handed the President’s baton to Alison Speakman at the BSAVA’s AGM on the 18th of May. 

Sheldon’s year-long tenure was marked by a calm and level-headed approach, providing stable leadership despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, Brexit, and industry-wide skills shortages – a perfect storm that continues to put pressure on the veterinary community. Sheldon stays on to support the BSAVA as Senior Vice President.

Commenting on her appointment, Alison Speakman says: “There’s no doubt that Sheldon is a hard act to follow but I’m delighted that he continues to support the organisation and I look forward to building upon his achievements of the last 12 months.

“I’ve been a passionate member of the BSAVA throughout my career and a volunteer for almost as long. As a working vet, I know first-hand the value of being part of a professional community: the importance of shared values, educational opportunities, and support shouldn’t be underestimated. We must remain focussed on the day-to-day challenges veterinary teams face, respond appropriately and at pace, and continue to explore new and effective ways to support our members.”

With that in mind, Alison’s three priorities for the year ahead are to:

• Deliver ever-more innovative material across the BSAVA’s Education, Congress, and Publications arms.

• Develop a wider digital offering so that BSAVA materials are widely available and easily accessible.

• Highlight the importance of mental health, stress management, and wellbeing, and develop resources and member benefits to help ensure the safety and happiness of people within the veterinary profession.

“I am enormously proud to be a member of a profession that requires and excels in such a broad set of skills: intellect, knowledge, practical dexterity, compassion, and resilience under pressure – all of which are tested on a daily basis!” finishes Alison Speakman. “There is no other profession like it and to be President of an association which represents such people is overwhelming.”

With currently around 11,500 active members, the BSAVA is run by volunteers from its membership along with dedicated staff at its headquarters. It drives excellence in veterinary practice to improve the health and welfare of small animals and enables the community of small animal veterinary professionals to develop their knowledge and skills through leading-edge education, scientific research and collaboration.

To find out more about the BSAVA membership, structure, and purpose, please visit the BSAVA website at

Yellow is the colour for dogs that need space

Yellow Dog UK raises awareness for dogs who need space.

Believe it or not, not every dog wants attention. Some dogs are in training, some dogs have health issues or are recovering from surgery. Some dogs are rescues being rehabilitated or have suffered a bad experience, nervous dogs, or older, fragile dogs that find the world a scary place, through no fault of their own. These are the dogs Yellow Dog Charity want to help with this important campaign and instantly recognisable branding.

The charity are sharing this message across our dog loving nation so that all dogs and owners can enjoy their walks. The shy, the old, the injured, the timid – they deserve the joy of walks too by being aware that if you see a dog with his smart yellow bandana, jacket or lead on, you give them space.

Yellow Dog is an international campaign creating awareness for the dogs that need space, launched in 2012 in Sweden by Eva Oliversson, a certified dog trainer and dog behaviourist. Yellow Dog hope that both adults and children alike will learn that it is always respectful and important to ask before approaching or stroking a dog. This then becomes a good lifelong habit that works well for both animals and humans. As the issue is not about aggressive dogs, all aggressive dogs must wear a muzzle, but that the charity are a tool to help with training or socialising dogs and responsible dog owners.

Dave and Alison are the UK ambassadors for Yellow Dog, having had Yellow Dogs themselves. They passionately believe in the Yellow Dog campaign, and what it can achieve for these dogs and their owner’s quality of life, by educating everyone in the UK that Yellow Dogs need space.

For more information, visit, and @YellowDogUk

Bone Idol

Veteran groomer Ben Thorpe is the co-founder of Brighton's Bone Idol salon. With a passion for breed standard grooms, Ben has made his 14-year career a lesson in creating high-end grooms, which define and surpass traditional looks.

An interest in the history of the poodle breed has seen the master groomer craft out an expertise in the fabulous and flamboyant style the breed is known for.

Recently, Ben brought home a poodle of his own, 14 week old Arnold, who has already enjoyed his first 'puppy pants' grooming sessions from his doting dad.  

Here, Ben explains why he loves breed standard work so much, and why the origins of the poodle groom might not be what you think...

"I really love breed standard work, that real art of getting the dog to look as close to the breed standard as it can. I have been grooming for 14 years and it is the part that I enjoy the most.

"The poodle when they are properly clipped, and the schnauzer with their eyebrows looking correct, for me the enjoyment comes from seeing a dog at Crufts, and then coming back to the salon and making the dogs we see look the same way.

"At the salon we can refine our techniques and skills, such as putting the flat work in with a shorter blade to make it look hand stripped, or getting a pom-pom just right on a poodle, that is really lovely work to do.

"I am fascinated by the history of dog breeds, and where their standard cuts come from, particularly the poodle.

"Nowadays their cuts are seen in popular culture as flamboyant, but there is a reason that the standard groom is that way.

"Poodles were working water dogs, and their owners gave them a version of the standard grooms we see today to protect the joints, but also remove any unnecessary hair so as not to weigh them down.

"I recently got Arnold and so far he's had three haircuts and a maintenance bath once a week. 

"We are going to show him so he will be having the traditional breed standard groom with all the poms-poms, hopefully he will make his ancestors proud!" 

To find out more about Bone Idol, go to

Chloe’s top five

Chloe Pearson is the owner of Lottie's Lodge Dog Grooming, an all-natural, cage-free grooming salon in North Wales. Chloe gives us a rundown of her top five tips to marketability within your grooming salon.

As a dog owner myself of the late Lottie, my cockapoo who recently passed away, I loved putting photos of her on my own social media, but I never saw the attraction with a photo of her collared up on a grooming table. I decided to introduce an aesthetically pleasing space for dogs to be relaxed and happy after their groom. Here’s my top marketing tips for groomers:

Create an aesthetically pleasing brand and social media content

I always find this is something that can make your business much more desirable to new customers as first impressions always count. Ensuring your brand and content tie in together is highly important, including colours, font choices and layout of photos on the grid.

Double check spelling and grammar

Ensuring that all of my adverts, posts on social media and leaflets have no spelling or grammatical errors is highly important. This ensures your business looks professional and shows you have a high attention to detail, which people will then see is reflected in the grooms also.

Have a unique selling point (USP)

Making sure your business stands out from other local business through the use of a unique selling point helps drive in customers. Ours is the use of chair photos at the end of a groom rather than photos of them on the grooming table.

Regular and consistent posts

Keeping current customers engaged whilst attracting new customers is highly important and due to social media algorithms. The only way to keep at the top of people's news feeds is to post regularly and ensuring your content has purpose/interest.

Good lighting

If photos are your main marketing strategy, ensuring they are clear and bright always helps. Small things such as wiping your lens before taking a photos to remove any cloudiness in images, focusing the camera to the central point (the dog) so it stops blurriness, making sure the dog is central to the photo, not using filters etc. Most of the time a simple adjustment to the brightness, contrast or saturation can make all the difference.

Follow @lottieslodge

Tommy, Master Groomer

New York City-based Tommy has lived in New York City his entire life, and has been in the dog and cat grooming industry for over 15 years. We had a chat with the master groomer about his career, Doggy Stylez Grooming and what UK-based groomers can learn from the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Hi Tommy. So, what can you tell me about your career?

I began my grooming career as a bather/fluffer, studying textbooks and learning from the most experienced groomers. Pearl Stone, author of “The Stone Guide to Dog Grooming for All Breeds”, unexpectedly walked into Doggy Stylez a few years ago and asked where I’d learned to groom. I pointed at her book, which to this day stands on my shelf at the shop, as she grinned and introduced herself. Throughout the years, I went on to better my skills and develop a unique artistry. 

In March 2022, we were recognised as being in the top 15 grooming shops in Manhattan. In January 2020 we were in the top 10, and in December 2019, I was recognized as “Best of Manhattan: Best Groomer” in the local newspaper. It’s a very humbling experience.

What can you tell me about grooming in New York?

Grooming in NYC is competitive. If you’re not their first choice, you won’t last very long.

One thing about grooming in NYC is you end up becoming part of a community. On one particularly unpleasant occasion, the shop had been burgled in the middle of the night and we received about six phone calls notifying us. It’s unbelievable how much the UES community comes together to help each other.

What key differences have you noticed between groomers in New York and groomers in the UK?

One thing I’ve noticed would be the difference in stylised cuts, a lot of Asian-inspired and Asian fusion styles. In NYC, a lot of people like what we call “floppy-scruffy” style, leaving them looking “put-together scruffy”.

What are some key thing that you think UK groomers can learn from New York-based groomers?

NY is a high-paced, high-stress environment, much like most grooming shops. Take care of yourself first. Your body and mind matter more than working five, six or seven days a week. Put yourself first and your clients and business will reap the benefits.

Are there any general thoughts you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d love to share something my father taught me. He would always tell me to work hard, continue doing what you love, and you will achieve your dreams. I pass that on to the readers; wether it’s owning your own grooming salon, having a fleet of mobile grooming vans, becoming a celebrity groomer or a colour specialist — keep at it and you will achieve your goals!

Follow @doggystylezgrooming_ues and visit

Paws for Thought: Colton’s Groomers

In this June issue of Total Grooming, we speak with the fantastic Jodie Colton of Colton’s Groomers who tells us all about the brand, the training involved and how to grow your social media following to encourage more business.

Jodie set up her business, Colton’s Groomers, just over 12 months ago and has seen nothing but fantastic results ever since. The growth has been both rapid and positive, even to the point where she has built up a two-month advanced book for pups and clients.

Colton's groomers is a one-to-one grooming experience for the pooches and Jodie takes immense pride in making the grooms as relaxed, stress-free and comfortable as possible for her furry friends.

Jodie gives us some insight into how her ever-growing social media plays a part in this: “I want to treat them with love, care, and kindness. I try to portray this as much as possible on my social channels so that potential clients can see the 'behind the scenes' bits that you can't always see in the bigger commercial groomers.”

Colton’s Groomers is based within Jodie’s acre, walled country garden towards the rear of her home. This provides the perfect environment for dogs to come, play and explore when paying Jodie a visit.

Being City & Guilds trained, Jodie understands every aspect of the business of grooming, ranging from breeds, individual coat-specific grooming needs, styling and even animal welfare.

“A qualification always gives clients confidence, trust, and reassurance that their furry family members are in the best of hands,” Jodie explains, “I also completed and passed a Canine Care, Behaviour & Welfare course, which allows me to home-board dogs and gave me a greater insight into the health and well-being of animals. Furthermore, I took a canine emergency first aid training course to make sure that I know what to do in the rare case of an emergency.”

Being self-employed, from the comfort of her own home to boot, allows Jodie to devote a lot of time to dogs during their one-to-one visits. She is able to give longer appointments to meet the needs of each individual client, as well as their human counterparts!

Jodie continues: “It is great to be able to chat with people and allow myself time to give good home-grooming tips and advice, that ultimately benefit the dogs and can make follow-up grooms less stressful.

“Dogs receive regular breaks to have a drink and a run around in a very safe environment. I am lucky to have no commute and I don't have to deal with the hustle and bustle of a busy street location. I wouldn't want to run my grooming business in any other way, and feel blessed to enjoy my day so much!”

One thing that caught our eye here at Total Grooming is that Jodie is very quickly growing her social media following, particularly through Instagram. She believes that she has achieved this primarily through creating great content, as well as putting in the hard work to develop herself on the platform. By posting regular stories, feed-posts, and video reels, Jodie can stay within people's visibility. She also tries to be engaging by responding to comments and thanking her followers as often as she can.

As we’ve touched on above, one of the most unique parts of Colton’s is the one-to-one grooms and personal time with clients. This does nothing aside from heighten the experience for everyone involved. A real win-win if you ask us! This, combined with being qualified and trained leaves Jodie the upper hand to offer free advice and tips where necessary.

“Every dog is treated like one of my own, and I also offer home boarding for pooches in a family setting. This is so that owners can relax while they are away, safe in the knowledge that their dogs are with someone that they know.

“My family has been in the pet industry for over 30 years and dog grooming was always something I wanted to do. Having had careers in the makeup industry and recruitment, I knew I had to give my dream a go and it’s the best decision that I ever made. I feel so lucky every day to work with these beautiful animals, building bonds and creating trust. I can honestly say that I love every one of them... even the fidgety ones!” Jodie finishes.

If there’s one thing to take away from Colton’s Groomers, it’s that going the extra mile really does show in your work! Not only will you be able to offer a better service as a whole, but your social media following will grow also, undoubtedly bringing more clientele in the future!

Follow Colton’s Groomers on Instagram: @Coltons_Groomers, Facebook: Colton’s Groomers and TikTok: @Colton’s Groomers

Onwards and upwards

There are many things that you, as a business owner, should want to be looking for to grow your grooming salon. One of the aspects of a functioning business to always be looking into ensuring that your business is growing. We look to offer some advice with the help of a pro.

There are so many aspects to look at when owning a business. What will your interior look like? What sort of USP will you have? How will you market your brand to entice new clientele? One thing, however, does often slip the minds of business owners who are too comfortable in their current way of operating.

The aspect that we’re talking of, of course, is looking to grow your business to reach new heights. There is nothing wrong with being comfortable with where you, or your business, is at. However, an important thing that should really be a driving force in your career is the ambition to be constantly exploring new avenues to maximise the growth and potential within your grooming business.

There are so many avenues that you can focus on to gain traction here. This can range from inclusivity, to social media, to viral video marketing and more! Keira Robinson is the owner of Simply Grooming Pet Salon, a business that has amassed a huge following and has done nothing but grow over the years with the utilisation of tips, trends, innovative ideas and that old favourite, regular social media content to keep clients wanting more.

One of the biggest things that is a driving force behind Simply Grooming Pet Salon is that they have an inclusivity focus, and are able to cater to clients who may not feel comfortable in spaces that are full to the brim and packed out on a regular basis.

“I am a one-on-one salon, meaning I cater to clients that have anxiety about being in crowded, larger, and louder salons,” Keira said, “I have been grooming for four and a half years and have been a salon owner for three years. I started grooming when I turned 18 and opened up a salon a few months short of turning 20.”

Kiera says that she wanted a place to share her grooming journey, building a foundation to meet other groomers in the industry. This in itself is a fantastic way to demonstrate to not only your clientele, but your fellow groomers also, that you’re looking to grow, work with others and do what it takes to ensure that your business will grow at a steady rate. Making friends in the workplace is a paramount way to grow within any industry, let alone the friendly-natured grooming industry.

“I wanted a place to share my grooming journey and to meet other groomers like myself. Sharing my life and my grooming progress with others is something I never thought I would enjoy as much as I do!” Keira adds.

Keira created the social media accounts when she started grooming full-time back in 2017. One thing to mention, as with most things worth working for in life, is that you won’t always see results straight from the get-go. Perfection takes time, practice makes perfect, and Keira didn’t notice any substantial change in the social media following until last year.

“I started my account a few months after I started grooming full time back in 2017,” Keira continues, “It wasn’t until 2020/2021 things started growing. In just a few short months, my account has grown to almost five thousand followers!”

The key thing to take away from this is that if you’re doing what you love and investing time and passion into the business, the results will come. The effort that you’re willing to put in, alongside a fair amount of patience, will demonstrate to your clients your value and will result in loyal clientele who will visit you again and again.

When she first started back in 2017, Keira knew that one of the biggest ways to grow would be to document everything that was going on within the business. This could then be reflected upon, and used as more of an incentive to aim for bigger and better things within the industry.

After a while, in January 2019, Keira started to focus on posting content that made her happy, not only posting things she thought would be good for business. Shortly after, the realisation that posting things that were actually there to help others contributed even more and became a regular occurrence.

This line of thought came into fruition when Keira started sharing the story of how she started how own business at such a young age, (much like what she is doing right now with us!), and that really helped be a driving force for change.

Keira continues: “Since I started posting and sharing more of my everyday life in the salon, things have really changed. I am currently booked for the entire year with returning grooming clients.”

Amassing such a following, both client and fellow-groomer alike, has led to Keira becoming somewhat of a local icon, with others looking to her for genuine advice on how they can grow like she did.

“I get messages all the time asking for grooming advice or other groomers asking to shadow me. If you would have asked me two years ago if I thought someone would want to learn from me, I would have said you’re crazy.” Keira adds, with a touch of humour.

When it all comes down to it, what people genuinely want from a grooming business is the willingness and love for animal and pet care. Keira insists that one of the biggest factors in her growth is the fact that she is genuine, real and honest about what she posts. Clients, and fans of her work, see that as relatable and results in her following seeing nothing but an increase in numbers.

Keira finishes by saying: “Be you. Don’t put yourself out there as someone you think others will like. Be yourself. Ask for help. We all have to start somewhere, even when it seems hard or like you’re not improving, keep pushing. Find a mentor or teacher to help you. If you want to learn a certain style of grooming, find a couple of groomers you admire and reach out to them for advice.”

What we can take away from Keira’s story is that to grow, you must not only be willing to put in the effort and learn the industry. You must be putting yourself out there as someone who genuinely cares, someone who is looking to network and learn from others and someone who can offer something that is unique to the industry.

Follow @keirathegroomer


DogFest is back and is an absolute must for dog lovers and pet owners alike – expect a fun filled day to treat yourself and your most precious four-legged friend. Taking place in the stunning Loseley Park estate, near Guildford in Surrey on the 7th and 8th May, a day you and your dog will never forget awaits.

DogFest, in partnership with ManyPets (the new name for Bought By Many Pet Insurance) is the ultimate dog-friendly festival created for dogs and dog lovers and jam packed with activities to guarantee a memorable day out and a snoozing pup all the way home.
The mammoth festival sees over 150 shopping stands and over 10 fun-filled activities from flyball to dog diving, as well as food and drinks stalls serving everything from mouth-watering gourmet burgers to pawsecco and pupaccinios (perfect for pooches!) take over the park.

Visitors will be invited to try their paws at non-stop have-a-go activities including an agility course sponsored by Seresto Flea and Tick Collar, haybale racing sponsored by Wisdom Panel or take part in a 2k or 4k Big Dog Walk through the stunning country grounds to raise vital funds for Dogs Trust; or grab a rosette at the ManyPets Fun Dog Show, with categories including Best Rescue or Most Fabulous Fella.

Once festival goers and their dogs have had a go at the activities, they can pamper their pooch with a bit of retail therapy from venders like the Fabulous Filly, a unique bar and shopping experience made for dogs. Dogs can sip Barkarita and Pawstar Muttini Puptails whilst their owners browse the best brand from Poochi, and Furberry to Ted Barker.
Get expert advice from the industry’s leading professionals including behaviourist Adem Fehmi in the Behaviour Zone and Dr Scott Miller, resident vet on ITV’s This Morning, who will be attending for the first time, as well as a plethora of dog gurus provided by Dogs Trust at the Dog School.

Dr Scott Miller said: “I’m delighted to be at DogFest this year to offer advice to dog lovers both old and new! With the pandemic we’ve seen an increase in dogs being a welcome addition into people’s homes, but over this difficult time often the normal avenues of advice and support have been hard to gain access to. I’m really happy to be able to offer my expertise so dog lovers can ask their questions and gain invaluable knowledge so they can be the best pet owners they can be!”

There’s also the not to be missed Instagram worthy dog diving spectacle, delicious refreshments, and the ultimate retail therapy for you and your pup on offer…yes, dog heaven really does exist!
For those interested in re-homing a dog in need, the official charity partner, Dogs Trust, will be hosting a Village Green where visitors can meet dogs looking for a new forever home.
Dogs Trust are also inviting local rescues with their new families to reunite with their rescuers so they can be updated on their new happy lives.
There is also an action-packed main arena with demonstrations from hugely talented canines and trainers including TikTok sensation Lucy Heath. Crufts Freestyle winner Nicci Hindson will be showing off her dancing dogs in the obedience ring and showcasing the latest tips and tricks to teach your pooch.
2 The brand new V.I.Pooch (as in very important) experience is perfect for those more discerning festival goers allowing you entry into the exclusive V.I.P area plus a Goody bag, fast track entry, complimentary refreshments including an ice cream for you and your dog and a chance to meet paw-some celebrities!

DogFest takes place on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May at Loseley Park, Surrey. A variety of ticket options are available including weekend adult at £35 or online advanced tickets for families from £58.
DogFest promises a fun filled day for pets and owners alike and this year will reach wider than ever before with seven beautiful venues across the country, from Loseley Park, Surrey to Harewood House, Yorkshire.
For more information visit or make sure to follow DogFest on Instagram via @Dog_fest

Delicious dinners for canine companions in support of Veterans With Dogs

Devon-based charity Veterans With Dogs has teamed up with Forthglade, Devonian natural dog food makers, to unveil a delicious limited edition turkey dinner for dogs, to support the charity’s focus on training and providing assistance dogs to Veterans suffering from mental health conditions such as PTSD.

To support Veterans With Dogs, Forthglade has contributed £15,000 to the care and training of two assistance dogs, which includes a years’ worth of food and care for the pups whilst they are trained into important companions for Veterans who need them the most.

A staple from Forthglade’s grain free range, this much-loved recipe has been given a makeover to support Veterans With Dogs. Being grain free and containing no fillers, artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, this gentle recipe is ideal for dogs with sensitive tummies.

The meal is packed with 75% turkey and includes tasty sweet potato and vegetables. With added vitamins and minerals, the complete recipe provides dogs with everything they need to stay fit and healthy. Gently steamed to retain as much natural flavour and goodness as possible, the grain free wet meal is suitable for dogs aged from 1 year+.  It is available in a convenient 395g tray, RRP £1.59.  

Craig MacLellan, founder of Veterans With Dogs explains “We’re really excited that Forthglade has created this special pack for us to help support the charity, it means a great deal to us. Having their continued support helps us fund the training and placement of assistance dogs for Veterans, and raises awareness of the significant impact that assistance dogs have on improving the lives of Veterans suffering from mental health conditions, following their time in the Armed Forces.”

David Cox, CEO, Forthglade says, “We hope the Veterans With Dogs limited edition meal helps raise awareness of this important charity. Mental health and wellbeing can be so positively impacted by the companionship of a dog, and these hero dogs can truly transform a Veteran’s life.  Alongside the limited-edition meal for dogs, we’re really proud to be sponsoring two future hero pups throughout their Veterans With Dogs training programme.”

For further detail on the limited edition ‘Hero Dog’ meal, or to learn more about the charity, visit or to stock the product contact