Many in pet industry believe animal grooming should be essential business

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Spring is the busiest time of year for dog groomers, which were listed as non-essential under Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order.

Those in the pet industry are speaking out, hoping for the reversal of this order, not because of the money they’re losing, but for the safety of the dogs.

“We are able to bathe ourselves, wash ourselves, do the maintenance in between. If we don’t get our hair cut or colored once, it’s probably not going to put us in the doctor’s office,” said Katie Funk, owner of Happy Paws in Overland Park. “But if a dog doesn’t receive regular grooming, it can end up in the vet’s office.”

Funk said besides the service of grooming, her business is running pretty much like normal, offering boarding and doggy day care.

She said this makes it even more confusing for people looking to get grooming services.

“We are constantly having to turn people away,” Funk said. “I think this week alone, I had to try to reschedule 75 dogs to try and find a way to fit them into our future schedule.”

There’s a growing divide whether pet grooming should be essential or not. Most in the pet industry believe that answer should be yes.

Funk said dogs left without proper grooming can end up getting matted fur, hot spots, nails cutting into their paw pads and skin irritation, just to name a few.

For owners, lack of grooming can be one way to introduce bacteria into your home.

“I support what we are doing. I understand it 100 percent, but I also see from my professional standpoint what issues it could cost down the line,” Funk said.

“If [the stay at home order] is really April 20th, like they are saying in the state of Kansas, then yes, most dogs can last a week or two without being groomed. But if it is pushed out and keeps going and going, it’s going to turn into a much bigger problem for us and for the dogs we care for.”

Funk is one of many in Johnson County and all over speaking up about why they believe this is important.

She advises to refrain from self-grooming your animal.

If your pet is having issues, she says call your vet. They are able to perform basic grooming services if medically necessary.

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