When regularly grooming a moving animal with sharp equipment, there are some common dog grooming injuries that can occur. Below are some of the most common injuries that can occur in a grooming salon and what you as an owner can do to help prevent and manage an injury.

Cutting the Quick
One of the most common dog grooming injuries that occurs, both at home and with professional groomers, is the cutting of the quick on a dogs nail. This is the messiest and looks like the most horrific injury with a lot of blood, but it isn’t quite as drastic as it seems.

Groomers have products called quick stop that helps stop the bleeding, sometimes when you take your dog home the wound can re-open. The best way to avoid this is by walking your dog on grass and not allowing them to run around for about an hour afterwards, this type of injury is very minor and wont require much attention.

Rear Dew Claws
Some breeds of dogs like your Maltese and Shih Tzu mix’s tend to have rear dew claws that can hang loosely. If you haven’t asked your vet to remove them as a puppy when they get de-sexed it can become a risk when grooming your dogs. Most groomers will ask if your dog has them but sometimes they can be difficult to see and if your dog is matted on it legs the groomer could accidentally cut the dew claw off. Now, this isn’t a major injury but it may require a bandage to apply pressure and stop the bleeding and then a vet visit to ensure it wont get infected.

Ear Knicks
Other dog grooming injuries that can occur and looks worse than it really is when their ears are cut. Some breeds have the inside of the ear flap shaved short and every breed’s ear is designed differently. Some have a skin fold that sticks out more than others and, when shaving a thick amount of hair off, the groomer can accidentally catch that skin and make a slight knick, which like cutting the nail too short, can make it bleed a lot. However, it is mostly harmless.

Groomers will apply pressure till the bleeding stops and generally this will happen pre bathing so by the time the dog is washed and dried the bleeding would have stopped. As an owner it can be scary knowing that this has happened but it is nothing to worry about as the ear will heal quickly and, as long as you keep it clean, the dog will stay happy and healthy. For bigger cuts in the ear it is highly recommended seeing your vet.

Frail Skin
Older dogs have very thin skin. In summer it’s understandable to want to go short but sometimes this could mean a potential injury to your dog. When you go to the shortest blade on a dog that has thin skin, it puts more risk to cutting the skin on legs and necks of the dog.

In most cases this needs veterinary attention and it is advisable that your groomer take it to the nearest vet after assessing the length of the cut. If it is only a couple centimetres long and not bleeding, it is most likely a surface scrape. But, if it is bleeding or longer, then a vet visit is advisable. For you as an owner with an older dog, instead of asking for the shortest blade, go for the shortest comb cut, that way the comb will act as a guard on the skin and you can avoid any accidental cuts.

Warts
If you have a dog covered in warts it is always best to know where they are and to tell groomers this so that cutting them is avoidable. When a groomer doesn’t know where a wart is, it can be cut off or cut open. This type of injury can lead to infection and should have a vet assess it. The extent of the wound will determine the course of action your vet will take.

Most of the time though the warts are just grazed and need to be cleaned whilst at the groomers so that they don’t become a serious injury.

Remember always talk to your groomer should you have any concerns about these or other dog grooming injuries so that you can have peace of mind that your pooch will have a positive grooming experience.


Jaime Levy has completed a Certificate II in Equine Studies, Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services with the Elective in Dog Training and Behaviour, Diploma of Equine Business Management and now completing a Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing. She has also been working as a dog groomer for the past 3 years.