Most trips to pet groomers go smoothly, but on rare occasions an animal is injured or killed. Five dangers…

Danger: Pets sometimes leap from grooming tables while wearing a hanging collar. The result can be a snapped neck or strangulation.

What to do: Ask the groomer his/her policy about monitoring pets while they are on grooming tables. The answer should be unequivocal—someone will always be with your pet the entire time it is on the table. Visit the groomer to confirm that there’s always a person with any pet that’s on a table.

Danger: Pets occasionally die of heat stroke in heated dryer cages. These devices generally are safe, but tragic mistakes sometimes occur.

What to do: Specify that you want your pet dried with cool air and/or towels only, not hot air. This is particularly important with brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog breeds, which can struggle to breathe in dryer cages…and with older or overweight dogs, which are especially vulnerable to heat stroke.

Danger: Some groomers sedate nervous pets. The result could be an accidental overdose or a potentially fatal allergic reaction.

What to do: Never use a groomer who sedates animals. If your pet is so anxious during grooming that a sedative truly is needed, ask your vet if he can arrange grooming right in the office so that there’s a medical professional on hand.

Danger: Pets that have a strong dislike for grooming can be injured when they struggle with groomers.

What to do: Brush your pet and handle its paws in the weeks leading up to a trip to the groomer. This could increase your pet’s comfort level with grooming.

Danger: Pet groomers are not ­licensed or regulated in most states. 

What to do: Favor groomers who are certified by the National Dog Groomers Association of AmericaInternational Professional Groomers…or the National Cat Groomers Institute of America. Or ask your vet to recommend one.