It should be the goal of every Pet Groomer and Stylist to treat all animals entrusted to their care with kindness, patience, respect and compassion, ensuring their safety, health and well-being.
Pet Groomers and Stylists should exhibit professional behavior and maintain their businesses with honesty and integrity toward their clients at all times while encouraging professionalism, compassion and participation in continuing education within the industry.
These standards of care, safety and sanitation were sourced, discussed and unanimously agreed upon by professional Pet Groomers and Stylists, grooming educators and national trade associations with decades of hands-on experience. They are a uniform set of standards to which all responsible Pet Groomers and Stylists should adhere, regardless of where and how they were trained.
They are not an attempt to govern or dictate style, methods or techniques (whether in general or breed-specific) beyond safety and sanitation practices. Nor do they include specific metrics, as these vary from breed to breed and situation to situation.
These standards were developed by the members of the Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance, a coalition of industry organizations whose members have combined to educate, train and certify tens of thousands of professional Pet Groomers and Stylists across the country.
While the PPGSA itself does not offer individual memberships or certifications, the member organizations of the PPGSA have uniformly agreed to incorporate these standards of care, safety and sanitation into their own education, training and certification programs. Therefore, anyone who is educated, trained or certified by any PPGSA member will have successfully completed a course of study that incorporates these standards.
For the purposes of this document, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
“Pet” – Any dog, cat or other animal accepted for grooming or styling.
“Pet Grooming,” “Pet Styling,” “Grooming,” or “Styling” – Clipping, trimming, styling, bathing or drying a pet for financial remuneration.
“Pet Groomer”, “Pet Stylist,” “Groomer,” “Stylist,” “Bather/Brusher” or Bather/Dryer” – An individual who clips, trims, styles, bathes or dries a pet for financial remuneration and who adheres to these industry standards of care for safety and sanitation.
“Pet Grooming or Styling Facility,” “Grooming Salon” or “Facility” – A commercial establishment where a pet may be bathed, brushed, clipped, trimmed and/or styled. This may be a brick-and-mortar facility, a mobile unit, or home grooming facility.
“House Call” or “House Call Groomer” – A person who clips, trims, styles, bathes or dries a pet within the confines of the customer’s private home, grounds, or business.
“Student,” “Trainee” or “Apprentice” – A person who is engaged in learning and acquiring knowledge of pet grooming or styling, either under the direction and supervision of a Pet Groomer or Stylist or while enrolled in a grooming or styling school, academy or training program.
“School,” “Academy” or “Training Program” – An establishment or program that teaches pet grooming and/or styling in a course of instruction which incorporates these industry standards of care for safety and sanitation.
“Cage Dryer” or “Box Dryer” – A piece of equipment that is attached to, or near, a cage or enclosure for the purpose of drying or aiding in the drying of a pet contained in a cage or enclosure, and which is capable of functioning without a person manually holding a dryer.
“Crate” or “Cage” – A safe and humane containment method of keeping and/or housing pets in the facility.
“Continuing Education” – Any program or course of study intended to enhance knowledge of subjects relevant to one’s profession.
“Pet First Aid” – The recognition of injury or illness and protocol for ensuring the pet receives appropriate care.
“Pet Friendly” – Any product, chemical, tool or piece of equipment which is safe for use for pets.
“Pet Restraint” – Any pet friendly restraint used or attached to a grooming arm, tub, or other facility fixture or equipment to hold the pet safely and under control.
Pet Housing Standards
All pets entrusted to the care of a Pet Groomer or Stylist must be treated humanely and compassionately to include:
- All pet housing provided by the facility must be in good repair, safe, secure, stable, durable, well protected, comfortable and in an escape controlled environment.
- Pets should be able to sit, stand and turn around comfortably in the provided crate or enclosure.
a. Crates must be adequately ventilated for the pet’s health, safety and comfort.
b. Crates and enclosures must be of material that is easy to clean.
c. Crates should be arranged so personnel can safely see and access all areas of the crates.
- Unless by owner’s consent, no more than one pet may be housed per crate or enclosure.
- Pets confined for more than four hours must be offered fresh water.
Every facility should provide a safe and healthy working environment for all personnel and the pets left in their care.
Facility Bathing Areas
- All bathing areas should be in good repair and safe operating condition.
- Products and/or chemicals used in the process of grooming and styling must comply with all applicable local, state and federal guidelines, rules and regulations and be pet friendly.
- Tubs for the bathing of dogs should have a non-slip bottom surface.
- Water temperature should be set at an appropriate level for the pet and care must be taken to prevent discomfort or injury from excessively hot or cold water.
- There should be a non-slip surface on the floor by each tub for groomers and stylists.
Facility Grooming Areas
- Grooming and drying tables should be safe, sturdy and in good operating condition.
- Table tops for dogs should be equipped with a non-slip surface that is easy to clean.
- Grooming arms, by which the pet is restrained, should be pet friendly and secure.
- All other products, tools and equipment used in the performance of the work must be maintained in good working condition and used in a safe, professional manner.
- Pet restraints must be safe and humane and follow current standards of practice for all pets.
- The facility should be cleaned as necessary for pet and human health.
- Crates, enclosures, tubs and tables will be cleaned between each pet.
- All dryers should be appropriately maintained.
- Cage or Box Dryers must be used in a safe, and humane manner. When cage drying:
a. The pet must be closely and frequently monitored to ensure its safety and comfort.
b. Unless by owner’s consent, only one pet may be housed per drying cage compartment.
c. The enclosure should accommodate the pet, allowing it to sit, stand and turn around comfortably.
General Facility Standards
- A first aid kit for the benefit of pets and all personnel, including eye wash products and equipment, must be on site.
- The facility should be ventilated to provide for good air quality.
- Air temperature should provide for the safety, health and comfort of all personnel and all pets.
- When pets are present, at least one person familiar with pet first aid must be in the facility.
- Emergency action protocols should be in place to assure all pets within the facility receive proper care should an emergency situation arise.
- Each facility must have the name and contact information of a local emergency veterinarian readily available.
- Cleaning products and equipment shall be made readily available to all personnel.
- The Facility must carry general and professional liability insurance.
- The Facility must be in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws.
- The Facility should keep and maintain records of all clients and their respective pets. Such records should include the name, address and phone numbers of the owner, the services provided, and the date such services were provided.
- Records for each pet should be maintained for a minimum period of one year from the date of service.
- Pet incident reports must be created in the event of any incident that occurs and kept on file for a minimum of three years.
- Accurate safety and health records for all personnel must be maintained in accordance with local, state, and federal requirements.
Animal Management, Handling and Safety Standards
General Professional Standards
- All pets must be treated and handled safely, humanely and compassionately at all times.
- No pet should be left unsupervised while on the grooming table or in the bathing tub.
- All pets will be closely and frequently monitored during the drying process.
- Pet Groomers and Stylists must be knowledgeable in the safe and healthy handling of pets. Students, trainees or apprentices working in a facility must be under the supervision of a Pet Groomer or Stylist.
- When brushing, combing, dematting, bathing, topically conditioning skin and coat, grooming or styling the pet, all products, tools and equipment must provide for the safety and health of the pet.
- All Pet Groomers and Stylists must be in compliance with accepted industry standards.
- Students, trainees or apprentices working in a facility must be under the supervision of a Pet Groomer or Stylist.
- All personnel must conduct themselves in a manner that promotes the safe, humane and compassionate handling and management of pets.
- Products, tools and equipment used in performance of the work must be safe and humane.
- The Pet Care Facility and their staff must present a clean, neat appearance.
- Workstations must be cleaned between each pet.
- All Pet Groomers and Stylists should be knowledgeable in safe handling and management of pets to include:
a. Accepting animals from and returning them to owners.
b. Safe and humane approach and retrieval techniques.
c. Safe and humane handling techniques.
d. Safe and humane use of pet restraints.
e. Safe and humane management of behavioral issues
About the Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance
The Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance is an historic collaboration by grooming and styling professionals. It is an effort by groomers for groomers, pet owners and the pets themselves. Members of the Alliance include the three major national dog grooming and styling associations, two major national cat grooming and styling associations, the major Canadian styling association, several state groomer groups, a nationally-accredited grooming school, allied trade organizations, major retailers who offer pet grooming and service providers.
PPGSA began with a meeting at SuperZoo 2014 and a desire to “put common sense to paper” regarding the standards of care taught to professional groomers. Its goal is to assure the uniformity of care and safety standards taught by Alliance member organizations through their certification and/or training programs AND to help educate pet owners about the importance of care and safety standards when choosing pet groomers and stylists.
PPGSA Founding Members include:
International Professional Groomers, Inc. www.ipgicmg.com
International Society of Canine Cosmetologists www.petstylist.com
National Dog Groomers Association of America, Inc. www.nationaldoggroomers.com
National Cat Groomers Institute of America www.nationalcatgroomers.com
Professional Cat Groomers Association of America www.professionalcatgroomers.com
California Professional Pet Groomers Association, Inc. www.cppga.org
New Jersey Professional Pet Groomers Association
Merryfield School of Pet Grooming www.merryfieldschool.com
Barkleigh Productions www.barkleigh.com
America’s Pet Registry, Inc. www.aprpets.org
Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council www.pijac.org
World Pet Association www.worldpetassociation.org