Petsmart - 6-lb dog needs 8 stitches b/c of incompetent groomer

I dropped my 8-yr-old 6-lb Maltese to get groomed. I am new to the area and this was our first time using the PetSmart groomers. I had a bad feeling about the place because one of the groomers had 1-1/2 long blue fingernails, which I thought was odd and dangerous for a groomer handling scissors, clippers, and sharp instruments near animals. The same groomer was also trying to answer the phone, deal with customers dropping off their animals and groom a very hyper puppy at the same time.

90 minutes after I left my pet, I got a call from that same groomer stating, "Your dog was jumping around a lot and she got sliced. She's at the emergency vet right now getting stitches. " Um...what?!?!?

My dog had to have 8 stitches! 8! Her leg is barely long enough for 8 stitches. She was sliced on the inside of her leg, had several scrapes along her belly and another cut on her ribcage. No wonder she was jumping around! This groomer was hurting her over and over!

Though PetSmart paid for her vet bills, they've been terrible at handling the situation. The manager told me that the groomer was in her first week of employment and had just graduated from grooming school and she was new so accidents are bound to happen. He said that by policy since she was new, she wasn't allowed to groom more than four dogs in an 8 hour period, though apparently it's ok for her to groom a dog, and answer phones, and take incoming customers. The manager did offer to have another (and he really said this...) "competent groomer" finish the grooming for both my dogs, which I declined. (Fortunately I was able to rescue my other dog before they got him, too.)

He said that they are doing "some coaching" with the groomer and until she does it a few more times that she'll continue employment with them. I called their corporate office the day of the incident and was told that "someone would get back to me in 3-5 business days." No one ever called. I followed up with the store manager and with corporate...still a week later, no one called. When my dog went in to have her stitches removed, I followed up the store manager letting him know after two weeks that I still hadn't heard from corporate. 7 hours later, someone from corporate finally called asking me what they could do for me. They had no intentions of firing the groomer and insisted that they are "working closely with her" and feel that "in this economy" it's not wise just to fire people. Um...what?!?!?

So, it seems that PetSmart is ok with injuries to their customers. And not just little injuries. Not just a little scrape - but 8 stitches, scrapes, and a cut.... on the same dog! So, the only way to keep your pet safe is to keep them away from PetSmart groomers as they are knowingly allowing incompetent groomers to handle our pets.

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Grooming Services
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Animal Services
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Oct 26, 2015 #1053830

Yes it is becoming worse n worse - I walk in and was going to leave my dog for grooming. She says we accept walkins... I turned around to point at the sign that she was facing "we accept walk-ins" and unless I slithered in "I am a walk-in" she says oh I have to get someone to take that down...

2 1 Reply

Oct 26, 2015 #1053833

She said "we don't accept walk-ins"
When clearly policy was that they did...

1 0 Reply

Jul 10, 2013 #678206 Dubois, Wyoming

I'm sorry this happened and I'm sure it doesn't make you feel any better, but I'm an award winning groomer from phoenix, I have worked in several high end resorts, and even I have had accidents.Maltese skin is paper thin. Most groomers will have one or more accidents with Maltese especially if they require a shave. Although they should have followed up with you and made every effort to make proper recompense, it does happen even to the best of us. Always ask how long someone has been grooming, where were they trained, it helps you make an informed decision of whether you feel comfortable handing over your pet. Hope this helps a little.

7 0 Reply

Dec 21, 2011 #395518

I don't think that the pet was jumping around because the groomer was "hurting your pet" as you alleged. Once I was grooming a dog, the dog suddenly jerked it's body, and I cut the dog as the clippers moved along her skin. It looked like I cut her several individual times, because the marks were far apart. But that happens when a dog jerks suddenly, your clippers can cut whatever comes in contact with them. It can happen so fast. A lot of dogs aren't well behaved so accidents do happen.

As for you wanting the groomer to be fired - that's ridiculous. It's not like she did this over and over - she did it once. Do you think a person should lose her livelihood because of one accident? That's cruel and heartless.

9 6 Reply

Dec 21, 2011 #395473

@techiero the reason we have to clipper the cats close is because the shortest blade is less likely to cut the cats sensitive skin. The longer the blade, the wider the teeth are so the skin can get caught is the blades & send your cat to the vet for attention. Do your *** research. Or down own an animal.

2 1 Reply

Oct 10, 2011 #356719

TEchiero, you can't trim a cat. That is like trying to trim a lion's nails. Its unrealistic. Its either shave or nothing. They can shave out the matts and leave her the rest of her longer if you don't mind her being silly. BUT BECAREFUL because cats skin is like elderly people's skin tears very easy.

I work at petsmart and I was academy trained, I been there for a year and I never cut a dog. I sliced my fingers with my shears tons of times but not the dog. I am sorry you had a bad experience but not all Petsmart groomers are bad. Just sounds like that was a badly trained groomer. I can't say I can blame the groomer if she was trained wrong. I am sure she felt bad for it.

2 0 Reply
Grooming Girl

Oct 09, 2011 #356482

Techiero, do you understand how much more dangerous it is to shave a cat than it is to shave a dog? We are only allowed to use the safest blade (#10) on them since their skin is so thin, using a longer blade increases the chances of them being cut exponentially. Aside from that, if a cat does somehow get cut, the skin is so thin and fragile that it can spread and get wider, resulting in an injury requiring stitches, rather than silver nitrate or skin glue. Also, just because the clippers are lower power does not mean by any means that it is safer. In fact, I would think it would increase the risk for injury since the blade is moving slower, giving more opportunities for the skin to get between the blade. Besides that, cat's are far more aggressive for the grooming process than dogs.

As for Kirstencarey, I'm really sorry that happened to your pup :( Unfortunately, they aren't wrong, things like that do happen, no matter how long you've been grooming for. If they took your driver's license away for getting in a car accident, or took away your child because they fell and broke their arm / cracked open their head / somehow needed to go to the hospital for an injury, that would be like taking this person's job. It sucks, and you feel like being refunded for the grooms and having all of your vet bills paid is not enough, but she is new and learning and probably feels absolutely terrible for it.... Show more

3 1 Reply

Oct 02, 2011 #353028

Those injuries seem excessive... though there are no pictures of the other claims. It's pretty sad, but I'm sure your baby healed up well. Unfortunately, Petsmart wraps 3 jobs up into one when it comes to the grooming salon. Customer service, secretarial duties, and then the grooming part... I think it's a valid complaint in regard to safety. I also work for Psmart, and because of the other work we are required to do, I have limited the amount of dogs I do so I can make sure to have a good and safe haircut. I'm sorry your puppy got hurt!!! Any competent groomer would feel bad, I know that I do when I simply nick a dog. In regard to the cat grooming, the only blade that cat groomers are allowed to use are 10s and that is for safety purposes. Grooming cats is 50x more dangerous as they tend to be more uncooperative than dogs. If you just wanted a bath and any mats shaved out, that would not have been a problem I should think. A bath and good brushing would have taken care of any clumped up hair.

3 0 Reply

Jul 14, 2011 #312447

That was an awful way to handle a pet incident and I am very upset to hear about this. Unfortunately, PetSmart is labeled for this misfortune instead of the select individuals who are truely to blame. Rules and regulations can sometimes keep those individuals employed but for the sake and reputation of the company this should not have happened in the first place. If you have not guessed already, I am a PetSmart Stylist. I do not have 1 1/2 inch long fingernails, I love my job, and my heart goes out to you.

2 1 Reply
pit girl

Jun 19, 2011 #301616

I am sorry about your puppy getting hurt. But unfortunatly accidents do happen, groomers are using sharp dangerous instruments on a moving target who often times do not like the grooming process. I have been grooming for over 17 years in both big box stores and mom and pop shops. 99% of the time everyone is happy and everything goes well, but unfortunatly sometimes accidents do happen. It doesnt matter how long you have been grooming.

What happens and if you are driving a car and you get into a car accident. Does that mean that you should never drive again. That goes with your same reasoning to fire the groomer.

As with the cat, the safest way to groom a cat is with a 10 blade that will totally shave the cat down. This is for the cats SAFETY!!!!!! A cat's skin is very different from a dogs so the groomer needs to be extra careful with it.

1 3 Reply

Jun 07, 2011 #295217

I once called a local Petsmart grooming service to inquire about getting my semi-long haired cat clipped. They told me they would only shave my cat bald. They said it was company policy. I told them nevermind.
Hello? I wonder how much business a barber would get if a customer walked in, asked for a trim, and was told he could only get a baldie shave?
I only wanted to have trimmed the areas where clumps had formed in the cat's fur. I then invested $30 in a pair of pet clippers and clipped the cat myself. The clippers are wimpy, and it was slow going, but there was almost no risk of injury to the pet due to the low power. I found out that it wasn't that hard, and saved lots of $$.

0 2 Reply
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