DOG groomers have been hit by a change in coronavirus rules, halting most of their businesses.

In government guidance released earlier this week, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs clarified that grooming services could only take place for welfare reasons.

Dogs with a skin issue, nails growing too long, or which have matted fur can still be groomed to prevent them from being uncomfortable or to protect health.

Ceri Garrity, who runs Vanity Fur in Blackrod, worries that the new guidance leaves too much of a “grey area”.

She said: “It’s frustrating because what people class as welfare isn’t black and white. There’s no grey areas with hair dressers, but with groomers there are.

“Recently I had a dog in the salon that on the outside looked absolutely beautiful, but when I washed him he was really matted and that can be really uncomfortable for a dog.

“I have customers who rely on me to stop that happening because they struggle to brush their dog at home, or they have kids and don’t have the time for a full groom each day.

“It’s not just as simple as putting the onus on the owners, and it’s not really fair that we should let them get into that state in the first place – and it’s just adding more stress onto people than what they’ve already got at the moment.

“I understand the reason why bit I think it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth to be told you can groom and then told you can only work on certain dogs.”

Ceri does a full health check on each dog, making sure their fur isn’t matted, their feet are comfortable to walk on, and there are no lumps, bumps, or scratches.

In the past, she’s discovered a lump on a dog’s shoulder blade, and saved another dog’s ears after the fur around them became badly matted and started to cut off the blood supply to the area.

Although she’s been able to video call clients to offer advice on how to care for her regular visitors, she worries that some of her customers won’t be able to check their pets as thoroughly, leading to welfare issues later on.