The History of Pet Grooming

Pet grooming is a common practice in our society. People don’t even think twice about spending hundreds of dollars having their pets groomed and bathed by a pet grooming professional. It is such a common convenience that many people forget the history of what made this profession what it is. If you look at the paintings of the Elizabethan era you will see pets portrayed in paintings that are well groomed and clean. Who did the grooming? Was grooming a pet an actual profession in days gone by? Was the local barber responsible for pet care as well as cutting human hair and juggling various medical responsibilities? Would the local Lord or Lady have their hair cut alongside their pet?

As domestic breeds and house pets became popular in the 17th century, poodles in France received recognition for being the dog of the court. References also record that professional grooming parlors were open for dogs at that time. In 1879 Vero Shaw wrote a book called The Book of the Dog, which discussed dog grooming in England and gave helpful hints of how to clean, groom, and keep your dog healthy.

As animals became more a part of society, the appearance of pets and work animals became more important. Animals were groomed, either by their owners or professional pet groomers. Animals such as horses were groomed by stable boys or their owners as a kind of offshoot of the owners taste and wealth. As animal labour was replaced by automobiles and machines, the grooming of the animal took on a more personal reflection of the owner, particularly in high society. A well-groomed and clean animal was a sign of wealth and prosperity.

In today’s perception of pet grooming, the animal is considered part of the family or something to show as a source of pride. Organizations such as 4H incorporate pet grooming into their program so that not only the health of the animals is displayed but also the owner’s attention to the animal. Special events are organized to present current animal grooming techniques and the products of the pet grooming industry. Horses and other livestock are adorned during parades and rodeos making the animals a showpiece. There are even pet grooming conventions that meet periodically around the United States and the world to present the newest techniques and equipment used in the pet grooming industry.

There are thousands of web pages dedicated to the art and fashion of grooming and as with many long-standing professions a rich history of pet grooming dictates pride and self-achievement in the professional. So the next time you visit your local pet grooming expert, remember that they are not just a service, but they have been backed with centuries of expertise, refinement, and dedication to the art. The next time you drop off your animal to a pet grooming expert, remember your animal will be taken care of with pride and integrity.

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