Good Pet Grooming Can Save Animals' Lives

In Honor of Pet Cancer Awareness Month, Petco™ Shares a 7-Point Grooming Assessment to Help Protect Our Animals' Health

29 Apr, 2013, 09:00 ET from Petco

SAN DIEGO, April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The reality is that, just as with humans, cancer can strike any pet, and sometimes a pet parent can miss warning signs. The best way to protect and care for the complete health of your pet is with routine veterinarian visits that can identify physical, mental, social or emotional changes.

In addition, groomers have saved the lives of numerous pets by noticing both gradual and rapid changes in a pet's physical health, helping to identify cancer in its early stages. In honor of Pet Cancer Awareness Month, Petco™ is sharing its 7-Point Grooming Check-In used by their groomers to help pet parents recognize red flags.

Groomers don't see the pet as frequently as a pet parent, so it's easier for them to spot physical and behavioral differences. By logging notes on the pet's health during each grooming visit, they can compare notes from previous visits and track any differences. The information is shared with pet parents so they can take their pet to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.

Below are the seven key areas Petco groomers pay close attention to:

Eyes: A pet's eye color should be bright. If a pet's eyes are dull in color or have a green or yellow discharge, there may be an underlying issue such as an allergy, infection or something more serious. Bloodshot eyes could signal an issue, as well. However, a dog that is stressed may have bloodshot eyes, so it's important to evaluate the situation and determine how long the condition has been present.

Ears: It's natural for a pet to have an odor to its ears, but when the odor is strong, there may be an issue. Ears that are swollen, tender and have discharge are also critical red flags.

Nose: Look for changes in texture and color. A prolonged dry, cracked nose, particularly with loss of pigmentation, scabs or open sores, should be examined by your veterinarian sooner rather than later. Contact sensitivity and nasal discharge are also warning signs.

Mouth: Groomers, of course, look for old, decaying teeth and swollen gums, which could be signs of gum disease. But when teeth look healthy and the gums are puffy, it may signal another underlying health issue.

Paws: Cracked pads typically result from irritants, diet or rough terrain, and are not necessarily indicators of a more serious problem. However, the pet should still be seen by a veterinarian.

Skin & Coat: Groomers run their hands along the pet's body to check for bumps, scrapes, lumps, hot spots, warts and matting. Lumps or other growths can be a sign of cancer. Any raised surface should be examined by a veterinarian.

Underside: Swollen anal glands can be a sign that they need to be expressed, but if a pet reacts negatively to being touched, have a veterinarian examine the area.

If any of the above warning signs are present, have the pet examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Pet Cancer Research Fundraiser
Cancer is the #1 disease-related killer of our dogs and cats and Blue Buffalo and the Petco Foundation have teamed together to find a cure for this terrible disease. Last year, together they raised more than $1.5 million, exceeding their goal by $500,000. This year the team hopes to inspire donors to help exceed their goal of $1.5 million. For each bag of Blue Buffalo dog or cat food purchased at Petco stores across the country from May 4 to May 26, 2013, one dollar will be donated to pet cancer research and treatment. Donations of any amount will also be accepted at Petco registers or online so customers can contribute as much as they like to the cause. Petco is also asking those already touched by pet cancer to share their story or to gain inspiration from pets that have beaten the odds by visiting their Virtual Memorial Wall. To donate or to share a story visit:

About Petco
Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,200 stores nationwide and in Puerto Rico, including more than 50 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and  The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $110 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 350,000 animals every year.

About Blue Buffalo
Blue Buffalo Company, located in Wilton, CT, is the nation's leading pet food company, and provides a complete line of healthy and holistic natural foods and treats for dogs and cats. Blue Buffalo products are sold nationwide in PETCO. For more information visit

About The Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research

The Blue Buffalo Foundation For Cancer Research was established in 2003 by The Blue Buffalo Company, a manufacturer of healthy and holistic dog and cat foods under the BLUE™ and BLUE Spa Select™ brand names. Finding a cure for pet cancer is one of the top priorities for The Blue Buffalo Company because its founders have had some personal experience with this disease. "Our dog Blue, a large breed Airedale and a great pal, had three bouts with cancer," said Bill Bishop, Blue Buffalo's CEO. "After Blue was diagnosed, we wanted to find out all we could about pet cancer, and were amazed to learn that it is the leading disease-related cause of death for both dogs and cats. So one of the first things we did after starting our pet food company was to establish a foundation to raise money for pet cancer research, and raise awareness among pet parents of the early warning signs of this disease." 

Mia West