National Association of Professional Creative Groomers

Promoting safety and education in the grooming industry since 2009



Posted on September 1, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Many of my fellow writers here at Zen Dixie are Canadian…or at least Canadian at heart. What’s the one love Canadians share? Hockey.

Now, I am not a sports fan. I do know that the object of the game is to get that puck into the opposing teams net…but that’s about the extent of my knowledge concerning hockey. Basically, if it doesn’t involve a dog, I don’t really know much about it.

Seeing that I am surrounded by hockey fans, I have heard about the recent lockout. I have no concept of all the details involved, but the players were ‘locked out’ while the NHL and NHLPA hammered out details of the latest CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). In a nutshell, politics and greed took center stage while the little guys paid the price.

Like I said, I am not a sports fan but greed and politics seem to thrive in almost any and every profession out there….even my own industry, professional grooming. For example, I recently saw a group of groomers publicly ripping someone else to shreds for using OdoBan on a pet to remove odors. Now, I completely agree that a product such as Odoban should NEVER be used on pet as it can cause respiratory distress, burn the skin, and irritate the eyes. What bugs me is that this same group of groomers wouldn’t dare speak out publicly against using hair bleach on a pet…which can be much more dangerous than Odoban.

This of course makes me ponder ‘why’. Obviously these women aren’t stupid. They know that an industrial cleaning product contains ingredients that could be harmful if used on a pet, so why not speak out against a caustic and corrosive chemical like bleach? Could it perhaps be that their friends are the very people using bleach on pets? This is called ‘double standards’ folks….setting standards, but changing them depending on ‘who’ is the topic of discussion. We see it quite often in the grooming industry which lacks any regulation or mandatory education.

The NAPCG has worked tirelessly since 2009 to have the use of bleaching products and oxidizing dyes banned from use in grooming competitions. While it’s great to see that some shows such as The Atlanta Pet Fair have ‘limited’ the use of bleaching products….they have removed the use of such products from their creative grooming competition…they still allow it to be used for stain removal!

The biggest issue with this is that the most common ‘stain’ being removed are tear stains…on the dogs’ faces. How could someone possibly know that these products are dangerous and ban it from one competition, yet still allow a caustic chemical to be used right on an animal’s face? Politics, that’s how. God forbid we anger the ‘big dogs’ and have them throw a tantrum. It’s much better to allow the dogs, who have no voice in this matter, to be put at risk than have a top competitor be angry because they’ve been told ‘no’. Now many moons ago, I used bleach on my scalp as I am sure many of you have. But have you ever put it on your face? I have ‘dripped’ it onto my face, and rest assured it began to burn immediately.

Barkleigh Productions produces more grooming tradeshow/competitions than any other show producer in this country. The new rules they post for competitors ‘look’ okay. The problem is that only certain rules are enforced for certain competitors. Three years ago, a competitor entered the competition ring at a Barkleigh show with areas on her dog that had been pre-shaved. This competitor was disqualified from competition. The following year, another competitor entered the ring with areas pre-shaved on her dog. This competitor was allowed to compete and was docked 20 minutes of her allotted time. How can one competitor be disqualified and another is allowed to compete when they both violated the same rule? Politics, that’s how.

Quoted from Barkleigh’s competition rules… “All products, decorative objects, coat coloring and applications must be safe for the dog and the stylist”. Rather vague wouldn’t you say? Some of Barkleigh’s favorite competitors openly admit to using oxidizing dyes (dyes that must be mixed with a developer). These same groomers also ‘teach’ at Barkleigh shows and use the ole “if it’s safe for people, it’s safe for pets” analogy. Now, we have already established through scientific research that oxidizing dyes are harmful (even to humans). This explains the vagueness stated in Barkleigh’s competition rules…rules which can easily be bent and manipulated. Why can’t they simply state that oxidizing dyes should not be used on pets? Politics…that’s why.

While show producers feel they are not responsible for what their speakers teach, I beg to differ. It’s your show….you should take the caliber of your speakers as well as the information they present to your attendees very seriously….it’s called accountability….being accountable for the information your show perpetuates and promotes. That would be far too simple though…it would make playing politics much more difficult if you adhere to a set of real standards.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic professionals in the grooming industry, but politics are everywhere. I don’t think there is any way to avoid it, but we can refuse to participate. Of course that presents a whole different onslaught that one must endure. In an age where politics abound, double standards are the norm, and no one has to be accountable for their actions it’s no wonder that we have groomers using odoban, hair bleach, and oxidizing dyes on pets.

By now, you’re probably asking yourself ‘Why do I care? I am not a professional groomer.’ Well you should care. Most households have pets. You very well may need the services of a professional groomer. If ‘your’ groomer attends one of these shows and ‘your’ groomer sees these products/techniques being allowed to be used by competitors or being taught in a class, ‘your’ groomer just may assume this is a safe practice….and God forbid they apply these same products to YOUR pet. I don’t really care about the politics in my industry, but I worry about those who pay the price of these political games….the pets we have been entrusted to care for who cannot speak for themselves.

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