I happened to be over at PetSmart today and was headed for the check out. I looked over and I saw one of the groomers pulling the hair out of a dogs ears with her hands. I am not talking about a gentle tug, mind you, but an all out hair jerking and pulling in big wads. Can you imagine someone pulling out your hair in big chunks like that? As you can imagine, the dog was in distress, practically jumping off the table and so was I just watching this. When the groomer saw that I was watching her and how upset I was, she kind of turned around and kept right on doing what she was doing. I saw her speaking to someone (who I found out later was the manager of the grooming salon). The manager came out to speak to me. She proceeded to tell me that this was a normal practice to prevent infection in the dogs ears and that they have been doing this for years (well, thanks for admitting that). I proceeded to tell her that I had never seen anything like that before and to me, not only was that barbaric and torture to the poor dog, but as a health care professional, pulling out the hair actually has the potential to cause an infection. The store manager, also a really nice guy, came out and told me (as if this makes it okay) that at least they do this in the open so that everyone can see it. What? No, it is not okay to do this in public or behind closed doors. It is not the right thing to do!!!
I left, not appeased by the response and still terribly upset by the whole thing. I proceeded to call my friend, who is a groomer and owns a grooming salon and mobile groomer (Bark N Style). She was also appalled at hearing this was being done and although this has been common practice in the past, it is really archaic and not recommended as a practice by a groomer and should be done at a vets office, if at all. So, I went back there and I explained again how bad this was not only from a medical standpoint but also from a dog protection standpoint. It is NOT okay to hurt/abuse a dog if he is at the groomers because the owner asked you to clean out his ears. I dont think so. I encouraged both the grooming manager and the store manager to better educate their clients and if need be, refer them over to the vet to have this done. Is this a money thing? I would certainly like to know, as a pet owner, that the distress that you are causing my dog surely outweighs the need to have his ears cleaned out in the chance that he might get an infection or that you might possibly be causing him to get.
I certainly do not want to see a dog in pain or distress caused by a groomer. And you would think that the groomer (being the dog advocate she is claiming to be) would not want to be the cause of the distress that I saw in that one dog today. They told me this is a common practice with some dog breeds over at PetSmart. The owner of that dog, I hope you read this.