AKC GR Reaches Thousands of Groomers at Groom Expo
This month, the American Kennel Club’s Government Relations Department joined thousands of attendees in Hershey, Pennsylvania for one of the largest grooming shows in the world, Groom Expo. AKC Government Relations team member Emily Holmes made presentations to interested groomers on the importance of understanding how legislation can impact the grooming industry. Additionally, she was available to talk to grooming professionals about important laws and specific legislation that directly affect grooming businesses. This offered attendees the opportunity to engage in two-way communication about factors impacting their work and industry, and how the AKC Government Relations Department can be of assistance.
Held annually in September, Groom Expo hosts dozens of educational seminars, grooming competitions, and a weekend packed with events for groomers to meet and mingle with fellow pet professionals. The Expo is home to GroomOlympics, and a variety of other grooming competitions including: Poodle, Salon Freestyle and Sporting, Wired Coated Breed, All Other Purebreds, and Creative.
AKC has seen an increase in recent years in the desire of lawmakers to regulate and license groomers. This includes the introduction of legislation such as “Bijou’s Law” in New Jersey, which would require all pet groomers and salons to be licensed by the state. Since then, groomer bills have continued to pop up on the state and local levels (most recently in New York and New Hampshire).
“As the number of proposals at the state and local level to regulate professional groomers and grooming salons increase,” stated AKC Vice President of Government Relations Shelia Goffe, “the AKC supports training and oversight for professional groomers to ensure that health and safety is always a primary consideration when grooming a dog. We recommend that grooming professionals pass a course and exam on basic health and safety standards, such as AKC S.A.F.E. Grooming.”
The American Kennel Club also announced the new ‘Safety in the Salon Recertification Course’ as a continuing education opportunity complementing the AKC’s S.A.F.E Grooming Certification program. The American Kennel Club first introduced its AKC Safety in the Salon course in 2015, recognizing that grooming is important to the overall health, comfort, and well-being of pets. Setting the standard in groom safety to ensure these needs are met for all pets in salon, the Safety in Salon course reviews best practices focusing on pet care, health, and safety. Topics covered include accident avoidance, disease awareness, and sanitation. To date, more than 3,000 grooming professionals have successfully completed the course.
Part of this course demonstration was an AKC S.A.F.E. Certified ‘Mock Salon’, which was created for groomers to learn about grooming safety best practices, as well as becoming an AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Groomer or Salon.
After their initial program certification period, AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Groomers and Salons will be required to recertify online via AKC’s Canine College. Continuing education is a key component in the AKC S.A.F.E. Certification Grooming Program. In order to maintain their certification status, AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Salons must recertify annually. AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Groomers need to recertify every two years.
“Groomers are an integral part of the rapidly growing pet care industry, and the AKC recognizes that grooming professionals play an essential role in helping keep dogs healthy and happy,” said AKC Executive Vice President Mark Dunn. “The American Kennel Club is happy to support groomers by providing grooming safety education and the support of AKC’s Government Relations resources as part of its mission to protect canine health and well–being through advocating for responsible dog ownership.”