The British Dog Groomers’ Association sent a press release to the national press last week to provide some balance to the dramatic journalism used in reporting recent tragedies involving grooming salons. ‘We hope the national media take notice of the facts,’ said Heidi Anderton, director of grooming for the British Dog Groomers’ Association. ‘The issue of regulation is one which we as an organisation are actively tackling. We will share more information about a Quality Assurance Standard for groomers as soon as it is ready.’

The press release read as follows:

The sad cases involving grooming salons in the news recently are tragic and made more so where the incidents were avoidable. However, the British Dog Groomers’ Association (BDGA) would like to provide balance to some of the media reports which risk sullying the reputation of an entire industry.

First, we are concerned that the recent media storm should not have the effect of scaring dog owners away from using grooming professionals to take proper care of their dog. Full coat maintenance can be time consuming but is crucial for maintaining the health of any dog. Many breeds of dog require professional trimming and styling. Most coated breeds will require full grooming about once every four to six weeks but even short coated breeds can benefit from a ‘wash and brush’ up more regularly to remove dust and dirt. 

Secondly, dog owners looking for a groomer should seek out their nearest member of the British Dog Groomers’ Association (BDGA) ( For members of the BDGA, grooming is a vocation, not simply ‘a job’. The BDGA’s own history goes back over 30 years, and was founded on the principles of promoting excellence and life-long learning. Our members sign up to a code of conduct subscribing to the highest professional standards – a significant pledge, particularly in an unregulated industry.

The BDGA has a network of satellite training centres around the UK offering City & Guilds qualifications in grooming. These busy centres are working hard to ensure that each new generation of qualified groomers steps into the industry skilled and knowledgeable. As well as perfecting their craft, groomers who achieve their level 3 City & Guilds qualification in dog grooming will have undertaken rigorous health and safety training – invaluable in the grooming salon environment where sharp scissors and clippers are essential tools. This means they will be well aware of all the risks and will have been trained to take necessary precautions to avoid accidents. Dog owners looking for that extra reassurance should ask groomers about their qualifications.

Finally, we live in an imperfect world, where cowboy operators can be found in any industry. The BDGA abhors the conduct of those who fail to prioritise the welfare of the dogs in their care. Identifying these individuals when there is no licensing system in place is virtually impossible. Whilst government has little appetite for regulating this industry, it falls on the best of the best to self-regulate, and the BDGA is well placed for this. We are actively seeking the support of a key animal welfare charity in introducing a Quality Assurance Standard for groomers, which would provide reassurance to consumers. Talks are in early stages so for now we advise the dog loving public to take the time to select their groomers carefully and to watch out for further news on this development.