Many pet owners think nothing of dropping off their furry friends at the pet salon, but there is reason for concern. That’s because most states don’t regulate pet grooming, leaving the door open for just about anyone to call themselves a pet groomer.

So how do you ensure your beloved cat or dog makes it through the grooming experience unscathed? Do your homework.

Numerous family pets have sustained serious injury or death due to the negligence of the people who were hired to pamper them. The news is filled with reports of pets, left unattended on tables, accidentally hanging themselves, and of pets suffering fatal heat stroke, dehydration or severe burns from cage drying machines.

There have also been reports of smaller animals succumbing to internal bleeding after receiving blunt trauma to the chest and abdomen - veterinarians suspect these animals were dropped or stepped on at the pet salon.

Here are some tips to ensure a pet’s safety at the groomer’s:

— Do your research. Although many states do not regulate groomers, some offer certification programs. Ask your groomer if she is certified and what type of educational training she has had.

— Never hand over your pet until you have checked out the grooming facilities in person. It is a good idea to watch the staff perform the entire grooming process and to look for hidden dangers.

Hidden Dangers Checklist and How to Prevent Them

Danger: Pet is tied by leash to a grooming table is left unattended. This could result in your furry friend hanging himself.

Prevent: Make sure it is the groomer’s policy to never leave your pet unattended.

Danger: Pets left unattended in drying machines.

Prevent: Make sure your groomer uses a hand dryer or air-dries your pet.

Danger: Pet is not properly stored/handled resulting in him being dropped/kicked/stepped on.

Prevent: Make sure your groomer has properly trained grooming staff handling your pet, and request to see the facilities where your pet will wait for you to come pick him up.

This article was reviewed by Dr. Manny Alvarez