Coronavirus: Is dog grooming an essential service?

Pet grooming is allowed onsite.
Pet grooming is allowed onsite.

As many Victorians count the days until they are permitted to visit a hairdresser again, spare a thought for their dogs, who are currently suffering the same fate.

But while hairdressers are banned under Melbourne’s current stage four coronavirus restrictions, is dog grooming an essential service?

Despite some owners and veterinarians arguing that many breeds need to be groomed in order to maintain their wellbeing, under stage four restrictions dog grooming is not classified as an essential service.

Restrictions: When can my business operate as lockdown eases

But after pressure from pet owners and the animal welfare industry, the Victorian Government has moved forward the date at which dog grooming will be allowed.

Where previously the roadmap to reopening the state’s businesses and economy listed dog groomers for an October 26 opening at the earliest, they will now be permitted to reopen from September 28.

In the meantime, the government says that if a pet’s welfare is impacted due to an urgent requirement for grooming, the owner should consult with a veterinarian.

The government’s change of heart came after strong calls for an urgent reevaluation of the service, with more than 22,000 people signing a petition to have dog grooming reclassified as essential.

Melbourne veterinarian Dr Jack Zaks recently told radio station 3AW that pet grooming was a welfare issue for many animals.

The Elsternwick Veterinary Clinic vet said he had been treating dogs who had been injured when their owners attempted to groom them themselves as they could not access professional groomers.

“We’ve had … people … trying to groom their own dogs. What they’re doing is they’re cutting these dogs and there are gashes of skin,” Dr Jaks said.

Dr Zaks said some breeds, such as poodles, required regular grooming to avoid matting, which can be very difficult to remove if left unchecked.