Evaluation of dog welfare before and after a professional grooming session
Keywords:behaviour, dog, grooming, stress, welfare
Some types of dog fur require special care, such as regular washing and cutting. Owners often prefer to turn to professional groomers working in equipped facilities. The aim of this study was to investigate if a professional grooming session can cause stress to the dog.
Nine dogs were subjected to a standardized 30 minutes-grooming session. Each animal was videoed for 5 minutes before and after the grooming and all videos were analyzed to measure the duration of potential signs of acute stress in dogs. Moreover, a veterinarian behaviorist provided a holistic assessment of the dog’s stress level with a 0 to 5 scale.
Concerning the level of stress of dogs and the duration of each analyzed behavior before and after the grooming session, no statistical difference was found. Only nose licking was found to be statistically higher after the grooming (W=-2.52; p=0.012).
Most dogs appeared already stressed before being groomed and, for this reason, more research is needed to better investigate if the grooming itself is stressful for dogs.
The findings of this study suggest that the grooming shop can be stressful for dogs for all the time dogs stay in it, from the arrival until the departure. Owners and groomers should be aware of how to reduce such stress which may become a welfare issue.