Dog grooming has grown into a booming industry, with more pet owners recognizing the health and cosmetic benefits of professional grooming services for their canine companions. 

As demand grows, maintaining high standards around proper techniques, pet safety, and quality of care becomes paramount. This is where relief veterinarians step in to provide critical support and oversight.  

Who Are Relief Veterinarians?

Relief veterinarians are licensed vets who work on a locum tenens or temporary basis, filling in when a clinic or facility needs additional support. They may cover for vacationing staff, fill vacant positions, assist during busy seasons, or provide specialized services the facility lacks. 

Relief vets offering locum tenens placements have extensive training and qualifications similar to permanent veterinary staff. Veterinary recruiting agencies help place qualified relief vets where needed to provide consistent care.

The Expertise Relief Vets Offer Dog Grooming Facilities

Relief veterinarians lend grooming facilities invaluable medical knowledge about animal health and safe handling techniques. Their presence during grooming appointments helps ensure best practices are followed and dogs’ wellbeing is prioritized.

  • Specific benefits relief veterinarians offer grooming facilities include:
  • Guidance on safe and low-stress handling and restraint methods
  • Insight on breed-specific health considerations   
  • Ability to evaluate skin, coat, nails, ears, eyes, etc. for problems  
  • Administering vaccines and medications as needed
  • Monitoring dogs for signs of anxiety or distress  
  • Immediate response for medical emergencies   

Facilitating Mobile On-Site Veterinary Care

To maximize convenience and minimize stress for pets and owners, some relief vets operate mobile veterinary clinics, bringing their services directly to dog grooming facilities. These mobile vets can provide:

  • Wellness exams during grooming sessions
  • Administration of scheduled vaccines
  • Microchipping and prescription refills
  • Quick response to medical issues arising mid-groom

On-site mobile vet care eliminates transportation to/from a clinic for routine care. The familiar setting also helps anxious or stressed pets stay more comfortable.  

Ensuring High Quality Of Care From Start To Finish

From the initial check-in process through the finishing touches, relief veterinarians help uphold rigorous quality control grooming standards. Their presence and participation at multiple points in the grooming process help reinforce excellent pet care.  

  • Check-in exam – Relief vets perform an intake exam, review health history, evaluate vitals, and discuss any special needs or health concerns requiring accommodation during grooming.
  • Monitoring and supervision during grooming – Relief vets periodically observe grooming sessions to ensure proper techniques, gauge stress levels, and immediately intervene if any health or safety issues occur. 
  • Post-groom exam – At the end of the appointment, relief vets conduct another brief wellness check and discuss at-home care recommendations with pet owners.  

Addressing Emergencies With Swift, Decisive Action

In rare cases of emergency, relief veterinarians at grooming facilities can respond with urgency and competence. Their ability to quickly assess the situation, administer first aid if needed, and arrange emergency transport can be lifesaving. Their emergency response also helps mitigate liability risks for the facility.

Fostering Better Communication And Education

Beyond physical care, relief veterinarians also facilitate better communication, education, and trust between facilities, professional groomers, and pet owners. Relief vets can use appointments as “teachable moments” to:

  • Demonstrate proper brushing, bathing, and other at-home grooming techniques
  • Explain signs of skin/coat conditions pet owners should monitor  
  • Guide appropriate grooming frequency by breed, age, and health status
  • Answer pet owners’ questions regarding veterinary care

This education and transparency help pet owners feel more invested in their dog’s health and deepen the caregiving relationship.

Benefits To Veterinarians Providing Relief Services

For relief veterinarians, electing to support the pet grooming industry offers unique benefits versus traditional clinical settings. Benefits include:

  • Flexible locum tenens placements at multiple facilities  
  • Exposure to new settings, equipment, and occupational health skills
  • Opportunities to perform wellness care in less stressful environments 
  • Building rapport through positive experiences versus anxiety-inducing vet visits
  • Potential to explore interest in a veterinary niche like dermatology 
  • Expanded professional network and reputation 
  • Gain hands-on experience with restraint, husbandry, and behavior modification techniques

For veterinary students, locum tenens grooming placements also offer invaluable real-world experience and exposure to diverse breeds and temperaments.  

The Outlook For Relief Veterinarians In Pet Grooming

As pet ownership and the pet care industry continue rapid expansion, demand for relief veterinarians at grooming facilities is expected to grow. Pet grooming facilities and mobile grooming operations are prime settings for relief vets to apply their skills.

Relief veterinarians allow facilities to elevate their standard of care while supporting staffing needs and gaining specialized expertise. Their supervision and participation in grooming appointments give facilities a key competitive edge. 

Likewise, the unique experiences relief veterinary positions offer make them attractive options for licensed veterinarians seeking to broaden their knowledge, skills, and career possibilities. For the well-being of our furry companions, the outlook for integrating more relief veterinary involvement in pet grooming looks bright.


Relief veterinarians serve an invaluable role in supporting high standards of care, ethics, and safety within the dog grooming industry. Their medical expertise helps ensure grooming practices promote the health and well-being of our canine companions. 

By providing supervision, conducting thorough wellness checks, facilitating mobile veterinary care, responding urgently to emergencies, and using appointments as educational opportunities, relief vets become integral members of a grooming facility’s care team. Both grooming facilities and relief vets stand to benefit greatly from these collaborative working relationships. 

With the pet industry experiencing rapid growth, there are plentiful opportunities for facilities to integrate relief veterinarians to elevate their quality of service. Likewise, the unique experiences relief vet positions offer make them rewarding career options for licensed veterinary professionals seeking to expand their capabilities. 

Fostering these symbiotic partnerships between relief veterinarians and grooming facilities can pay huge dividends for the pets in our lives by ensuring they consistently receive compassionate, safe, and ethical care.