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September 2009

Benny the Boxer

Too often the only press groomers receive is the negative kind. You know, the one where the headline blares or the announcer screams; ” Pet Dies at Local Shop. Groomer Negligent.” Well, thanks to Laurie Kay and Donna Stepanek of Biscuits and Bows in Palatine, Illinois, NBC Chicago had something nice to say.

Benny the Boxer is alive because of Laurie and Donna. Benny has cardiomyopathy and went into heart failure at their shop. He was fortunate because his groomers were trained in Pet CPR and First Aid.  They knew what to do and in five minutes Benny had a heart beat and was breathing again.

An article in the JAVMA (Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association) states that only 10% of dogs requiring CPR will walk out of a veterinary office if they have not received PRIOR PROPER CPR. They expect this percentage to increase as more people are properly trained in pet CPR.

It isn’t just CPR we need to know. We are more likely to use first aid. There are a host of issues particular in the grooming environment.

1.    Sudden Blunt Force Trauma. This occurs when a pet falls off a grooming table or you drop a pet after tripping on a cord or slipping on a wet floor.

2.    Heat Injuries/Heat Stroke/Burns. These injuries are a result of overexposure to hot dryers or exposure to hot clippers. In addition, burns can occur if a pet is given an opportunity to chew on cords or electrocuted because there are no GFI outlets around the tub.

3.    Neck Injuries/Strangulation. An unattended pet jumps off a grooming table or out of the tub while noosed.

4.    Cold Injuries. Overexposure to cool dryers can cause hypothermia.

5.    Dehydration. Groomer has not provided water for the pet.

6.    Bleeding Injuries. This is the most common injuries caused by scissors and clippers.

7.    Heart Failure. Stress, chewing on electrical cords, electrocution and pre-existing medical conditions can all stop a heart.

8.    Seizures. Stress, improperly stored chemicals and pre-existing medical conditions can induce a seizure.

9.    Allergic Reactions. Any product used on a pet can cause an allergic reaction.

10.   Choking. An inappropriate-sized treat or any treat given to a gulper can pose a choking hazard.

If any of these scenarios occurred, do you know what to do? It’s also important to encourage our clients to learn Pet First Aid and CPR. Would Benny’s parents have known what to do?

Precious lives are entrusted to us. Accidents can and do happen. Our responsibility as pet professionals includes proper and continual training. As more of us realize it’s importance, there will be more positive stories like Benny’s.

To find a pet first aid instructor in your area, visit