The Pet Industry Federation (PIF) said it has had a busy start to 2021, working to clarify advice and resolve a number of issues relating to lockdown which have directly affected its pet grooming members.
The group said that the most recent announcement of a third lockdown in England meant that many businesses in the pet sector, specifically those involved in pet grooming, were left “unsure about whether they were allowed to operate”.
PIF had previously worked with the Canine and 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.
According to the PIF, pet grooming is allowed in lockdown for “welfare purposes”, however DEFRA clarified this in separate wording it issued a week later which defined “welfare” as “extreme matting and veterinary referrals”.
The revised wording reportedly “caused concern” in the industry about how they could operate legally, yet viably.
In response, PIF has 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, for example images, emails, messages and client history, so that they can provide evidence which 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 which they can share with owners about keeping their pets ‘knot-free’ during lockdown.