The BBC has responded to viewers’ complaints that its prime-time dog grooming series, ‘Pooch Perfect’ sets a bad example to pet owners.
In a statement issued on its website ahead of tonight’s episode at 8pm, the corporation said:
“Grooming is a healthy and necessary part of responsible dog ownership particularly with certain breeds. Some breeds require more regular grooming than others to ensure that they can see properly, move easily, keep cool and breathe freely. For example, brachycephalic dogs (like the Shih Tzus seen in episode one) need more regular grooming to prevent them from over-heating due to their shorter snouts.
“During the production process, the producers consulted with both the RSPCA and British Veterinary Association (BVA) to ensure best practice as regards animal welfare. Both organisations were given details of the proposed grooming challenges and both were happy to recommend individuals who then became part of the production team. The animal welfare consultant is himself an ex-RSPCA Officer and was recommended by Dr Samantha Gaines of the RSPCA and our on-screen vet was suggested by Daniella Dos Santos, senior vice president of the BVA.
SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE
“All the challenges were designed to highlight the skills and knowledge of the professional groomers taking part in the show. At no point did the animal welfare team feel there was any risk to the dogs’ welfare and all the dogs were monitored throughout to ensure they were happy, did not show signs of stress, that they had sufficient food and water and had adequate rest away from the studio environment.
“Of the 20 challenges across the series, four made use of some form of limited temporary colour. Any use of colour was strictly controlled and only used to highlight the groom and any use of colour was explained and contextualised for each groom. All colour was temporary, animal safe and washed out almost immediately depending on the dog’s coat.
“In one groom, the dogs were dressed in an outfit. These outfits were all ‘dog friendly’ and checked by the animal welfare team to ensure that they did not restrict the dog’s movements, that the dogs did not get too hot or caused them any discomfort. In challenges in which contestants used some sall accessories to accentuate their grooms, every item was checked by the animal welfare team and only permitted if it passed their strict criteria and did not pose any risk to the dog.
“Whilst every owner had a very positive reaction to their dog’s groom, the production team gave them the option to have their dogs regroomed the following day. In challenges that used colour, the dogs are shown having been re-washed to highlight the temporary nature of the colour. After the series had completed filming every owner was contacted and reported that their dogs were happy and healthy, had enjoyed the process and had not suffered any ill effects.
“Throughout ‘Pooch Perfect’, it is made clear that the contestants are professional groomers and that dog owners should not try these creative grooms at home. Every precaution was taken throughout filming to ensure each individual dog’s welfare and the production team firmly believes every dog was well treated and that no dog was harmed physically or mentally by the process.”