The Pet Industry Federation has had a busy start to 2021, working to resolve a number of issues relating to lockdown that have directly affected some of its pet grooming members.
The announcement on January 4 of a third lockdown in England meant that many businesses in this sector were unsure about whether or not they were allowed to operate.
PIF worked with the Canine & Feline Sector Group to update the wording in its business guidance document, which provides recommendations for service-based businesses about what they can do in lockdown. Following its approval by Defra, PIF published the document to its members and the wider industry shortly after lockdown began.
Pet grooming is allowed in lockdown for ‘welfare purposes’ but Defra clarified this in separate wording it issued a week later, which defined ‘welfare’ as ‘extreme matting and ‘veterinary referrals’. The revised wording caused concern in the industry about how they could operate legally, yet viably.
In response, PIF issued a statement to its pet grooming members to give a clearer indication about when and how pet grooming appointments should be undertaken during this period of lockdown.
PIF advises that professional groomers should assess each request for grooming on a case-by-case basis, using their discretion and knowledge of the pet to judge whether a groom is required to alleviate any welfare issues the animal could experience during lockdown. Appointments should be justifiable and pet groomers are strongly advised to retain an audit trail (eg images, emails, messages, client history) so they can provide the evidence that led to the decision about the grounds for a welfare groom.
In addition, PIF has provided its members with further advice and a range of grooming tips that they can share with owners about keeping their pets ‘knot-free’ during lockdown.