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The American Kennel Club (AKC®) is pleased to announce the expansion of its AKC S.A.F.E. Grooming Certification Program with a “Safety in the Salon Recertification Course.” The course was soft-launched at Groom Expo, hosted by Barkleigh Productions, Sept. 12-15th in Hershey, PA.

“The launch of the Safety in the Salon Recertification Course brings the AKC S.A.F.E. Grooming Certification Program full circle,” stated AKC Executive Vice President Mark Dunn. “The American Kennel Club recognizes that the health and safety of pets when outside of their owner’s care remains a genuine concern for pet owners, and recertification gives grooming professionals an opportunity to stay current on groom safety best practices, while also giving their clients the peace of mind they deserve.”

In 2015, the American Kennel Club introduced its “AKC Safety in the Salon” course, which was created to enhance trained grooming professionals’ knowledge of the salon safety practices to help keep themselves and all pets safe while in their care. Now taught at grooming and pet expos nationwide and available online through AKC’s Canine College, this comprehensive class provides vital information on safety measures and protocols within the grooming facility, including accident avoidance, pet and zoonotic diseases, sanitation and how to handle special cases. To date, more than 3,000 grooming professionals have successfully completed the course.

After their initial program certification period, AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Groomers and Salons will be required to recertify online via AKC’s Canine College. In order to maintain their certification status, AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Salons must recertify annually. AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Groomers need to recertify every two years.

The recertification course provides grooming professionals with a comprehensive review of the AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Groomer/Salon Oath and its requirements, plus new strategies on how to keep themselves and pets safe in the grooming facility while in their care. Both AKC S.A.F.E Groomers and Salons must demonstrate their grooming experience and pledge to safety. S.A.F.E. Salons must also agree to onsite inspections by AKC in order to maintain S.A.F.E. Certification status. S.A.F.E. Certified Groomers and Salons will then receive a certificate to display in their business.

All AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Groomers and Salons are given the opportunity to list on AKC Marketplace ( upon certification. Dog owners can search this growing platform to find AKC S.A.F.E. Certified Groomers and Salons in their area.

According to the American Pet Products Association, $6.11 billion was spent on pet care services such as boarding and grooming services in 2018, a figure that is projected to increase to $6.31 billion in 2019.

Licensing for pet groomers has also gained attention since “Bijou’s Law” was introduced in New Jersey, which would require all pet groomers and salons to be licensed by the state.

“As the number of proposals at the state and local level to regulate professional groomers and grooming salons increase, the AKC will continue to support training and oversight for professional groomers to ensure that health and safety is always a primary consideration when grooming a dog,” stated AKC Vice President of Government Relations Sheila Goffe. “We recommend that grooming professionals pass a course and exam on basic health and safety standards, such as AKC S.A.F.E. Grooming.”

More information about the AKC S.A.F.E. Grooming Certification program can be found at