Groomers as Cops

Dog in tub of at spa

Dahling, be a dear and ignore my vaccine records, won't you?

"How do I get my dog into the groomers or a kennel if he's not current on his shots?"

I hear this question a lot.

And it's lately come to the fore as a recent issue of Vital Animal News spoke of a client who's getting ready to relax her requirements for kenneling.

That's just plain refreshing, isn't it?

So, I'm reposting this blog to bring it out of the archives and make it visible. I've also updated the survey below, so we can get a community effort to list good groomer and kennel folks.

A Brief History of The Why

I've carefully explained the dangers of repeating vaccinations throughout an animal's life (allergies! itchy, funky ears! ADD behavior, aggression! thyroid disease, autoimmune disease, tumors, etc. etc.), and your lights have gone on.

Sometimes the lights really go bright and crackle with this thought provoking question:

Does your physician send YOU reminders every year to come back for more vaccinations?

Ummm. No.

Why not?

Because she knows you're immune from your early life vaccinations, and there's no need to repeat them!

And that's the nub of it. As the veterinary immunologists have been saying all along, once you establish immunity early in life, it doesn't increase with further vaccinations. In their own words:

A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccination. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination. Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal…… Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic1response…. The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy…” (Schultz and Phillips, Current Veterinary Therapy, vol XI, 1992)

And, lest you be fooled that the latest trend of vaccinating every three years has any scientific basis, it does not, as these authors hint at. It is, at best, a placation of Dr. WhiteCoat who makes a large percentage of his livelihood by vaccinating animals repeatedly.

Here's what the experts in the AAHA Canine Vaccination Task Force wrote in their 2011 Canine Vaccination Guidelines:

Infectious core vaccines are not only highly effective, they also provide the longest DOI (duration of immunity), extending from 5 yr up to the life of the dog.2

But there's more: the risk of getting or worsening chronic disease is clearly there with each and every vaccination given.

Oh, I GET it!

Now, the lights are really on. Common sense resonates with this idea. We don't get reminders to get more vaccinations, 3 why should our animals??

Cow with ATM in her side

Mooooo! Beep.

They should not. That's what Dr. WhiteCoat either has failed to grasp in the past 20 years or the cash cow of vaccination and attendant illness it creates is just too hard to turn loose.

But where do the groomers or kennels, who have even less understanding of immunology than Dr. WhiteCoat (who has precious little, sad to say), get the right to demand more vaccinations to get into their establishments and get your dog groomed or boarded?

It's got to be either a case of CYA4 or blind authority assumption. Maybe we'll get some other thoughts in the comments, as I'd really love to know what prompts this, but most every groomer and kennel owner feels they must require "up to date" shot records. I suspect that means annual vaccines to many of them.

Who deputized your groomer to make demands like this? Even the rabies laws should not be enforced by groomers!

Here's a recent example from email that made me cringe:

I'll spread the word to the legions of conventional owners, one of whom, at groomer's demand, dutifully got the rabies for his 14 yr. old girl with cancer!

Oh, my. That's just plain wrong. It's just plain malpractice, in fact! Every vaccine is labeled "Only for use in healthy dogs, cats, etc." Am I missing something, or is having cancer not equated with being healthy?

And the correlation between vaccinations and growths, from warts to malignancies, has a long history, stretching way back to the grand daddy of human vaccines, Jenner's smallpox jab.

From the groomer demanding this to the vet who carried it out, this was a disaster and should never have happened.

Who You Gonna Call?

As you have learned, if you've read along here for a while, your pet's health decisions really have to be fully owned by you, his owner and caregiver. If you opt to be just a cog in the vaccine machine, you'll end up creating chronic disease that will suck your pocketbook dry and ruin your vital animal's health.

That’s a path you want to avoid at all costs. Countless times new clients have come to me after spending thousands of dollars trying unsuccessfully to fix their broken animals.

Conventional “prevention,” especially repeated vaccinations, is what’s breaking our animals, and repair is never easy or quick. Chronic disease is difficult and time consuming and expensive to cure.

And, if you're keeping score, you may have noticed that conventional medicine never really cures chronic disease. It cannot, in fact.

Alternatives to The Groomer Police

  1. Mobile Groomers/Pet Sitters
  2. Enlightened Groomers/Kennels
  3. DIY Waiver
  4. Veterinary Waiver Letters

1. Mobile groomers aren’t going to demand “current” vaccinations. They’d better not, anyway, as your animal, living on your property, can be as vaccinated as you choose. Vet students or neighbors or friends will sit your pet in your own home, and the stress load will be minimized compared to a noisy kennel. Vote with your pocketbook!

2. Seek Enlightened Groomers/Kennel Owners

To their credit, groomers and kennel owners are often keen dog fanciers. If they’re keeping their eyes open to new ideas as they troll the internet, some will surely have found out about the damage done by repeatedly vaccinating animals throughout their life.

Who’s not playing sheriff with your pet’s health?

We need to catalogue those who’ve opened their eyes to this and have stopped demanding “current vaccinations” (which you should now know means, “vaccinated when young, immune for years or life.”)

To that end, please click this link to take a poll, and let’s start getting names of good resources.

Once again, vote for these enlightened ones with your spending! They need to succeed while those blindly following the old school vets into vaccination overload illness need to quietly go out of business.

3. Offer to Sign a Waiver

If your dog is obviously healthy when presented to be groomed or boarded, any facility owner worried about liability on taking in a dog “not current on shots” should be happy with this form of CYA :

I’ll sign a waiver: if my dog gets kennel cough from his visit here, I’ll take full responsibility and assign none to you or your establishment.

You might even have one printed up ahead of time that you could just whip out on the spot. Done. Next?

[Did you know: Kennel Cough is just a cold. A deep cough that lasts for a couple weeks is no picnic, but the vaccine is riskier than the disease, and often makes animals more susceptible, and lengthens their recovery. Your vet homeopath can cure it much faster, should it arise. Have you got one on board, yet?]

4. Get Your Holistic Vet to Write a Waiver

Something I’ve done for years with my patients is writing a waiver letter, stating that this animal is a patient of mine, being treated by me, and more vaccinations are contraindicated. I charge for this service, but it’s worked 99% of the time.

Oh, a signed letter from your vet? Okay, sure. C'mon in.

And into the file it goes.

This option isn’t as practical, as maybe you have yet to find your holistic vet and we’re all quite busy trying to fix the broken animals, but you can certainly give it a shot if all else fails.

Bottom Line

Once more, the bottom line is this: you have to call the shots for vaccinations, and not allow this decision to be made by groomers or kennel owners or, most times, even by Dr. WhiteCoat, who’s often got a bottom line behind his decisions to vaccinate.

(Can you say, “Conflict of Interest?”)

Let us know in the comments what’s worked for you, and if any groomers or kennel owners have input, please join in. We’re all in this for the health of the animals, but that’s not served by more vaccinations in the already vaccinated.

1A memory response, or secondary response, where the immunity rises even further.
2Source: Pg 13: 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines(
3except the mass campaign to get your flu shot, which you'd do best to ignore if not outright disdain.
4Cover Your Backside.

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  1. Jamie on September 19, 2017 at 1:28 am

    Fyi: its not the groomer that requires rabies, its animal control who gives them their license and renews it each year. So if they are caught without rabies records on the animals in their care during a surprise inspection, guess who koses their license? They have every right to protect their business. Additionally, if your a a bites and draws blood, they are required to report it to animal control. Without proof of rabies, that pet could be confiscated and quarantined. No groomer wants to see that happen. Stop unfairly demonizing the groomer.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 19, 2017 at 11:31 am

      Animal control licenses groomers? If that’s true, I’m going to recommend they avoid the shops so licensed and get a mobile groomer who understands the dangers of “being current” in the eyes of the law. Most all of my readers have “proof of rabies vac”, it just may not be up to date in the eyes of the crooked “law.”
      Does that mean those animals are no longer immune to rabies? No, far from it. It sounds like you haven’t fully grasped what a dangerous thing it is you’re doing by being part of the animal control’s “enforcement arm.” Dig in and read the comments all across this blog of animals damaged, made epileptic, or now dead because they got “just a rabies shot,” because they were “forced to” by folks like you and the AC thugs.
      Time for you to stand up for the animals, not the fear of “a surprise inspection.” Or a bite.

      • MsMoneypenny on July 4, 2021 at 6:11 pm

        Amen, Dr Falconer. If they’re not “woke” we’re not going there.

  2. Karen on June 22, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    If you want someone who can watch your animals w/o vaccination, then you should probably sign up with They have dog boarding and dog sitters in many places, and you can talk to them about minimally required vaccination for your animals. Basically it is like your friends or neighbors taking care of your animals but sponsored through a company. Check them out.
    In Vancouver, WA, I only know of one groomer (I went to quite a few) that won’t ask you for vaccination paper. Franko’s Dog Groomer. 2704 E Evergreen Blvd
    Vancouver, WA 98661
    They are good and they are always booked to the max. They are also cheapest place but they do a GOOD job.

  3. Diana on June 22, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Funny story about sitters – in making preparations for our upcoming roadtrip this summer, I was trying to hire a cat sitter. While they were fine that my cat’s last vaccination was in 2001, one of the sitters decided to give me a hard time about my cat’s raw food diet. The owner jokingly warned me about it, but then when I met the sitter, she waited no more than 3 minutes before starting in on me about the raw food diet – and she hadn’t even seen my cat! It was the very first thing she said. I cut her off immediately, and despite going through the rest of the visit, I ended up firing them. And wrote a very long and pointed letter to the owner about why they just lost several hundred dollars worth of business. Their excuse? “Oh, she’s been a vet tech for 14 years.”
    Thankfully we found another cat sitter who said, in response to the raw food diet, “No worries… I have taken care of cats who are on a similar diet so it’s no problem at all.”
    On the flip side, in looking to board my cat (it would be in someone’s home), the owners there were pro-raw diet and the outdated vaccines, but insisted that my cat get a feline leukemia test. My cat hasn’t seen a vet in 15 years, so it was an interesting visit. I ended up not getting the test done, and to do so I would have to drug her up.
    On a side note, I have a very cool vet who also didn’t have a concern about my cat’s vaccination (since she is 16 years old and an indoor cat) – only that I would have to sign a waiver about the rabies. The vet still pushes a lot of drugs for my dog, but we’ve come to an understanding.

  4. peter on June 3, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    I consider myself very very lucky as I volunteer at a working kennel and daycare, and my dog can go 7 days a week if I wanted at no charge, same for boarding. It’s expensive. $30-$40 a day. I have peace of mind when I’m at work knowing she is getting a couple walks per day, a few opportunities to socialize, there is a swimming pool there, they have doggie treadmills, and the staff are amazing and very caring people. And another huge benefit – They will take my dog’s titers in replacement of yearly vaccinations (but only me unfortunately). Right now my dog has a really bad intestinal issue going on though so I am keeping her home. We went on an overnight hiking backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail and I am pretty sure she got giardia or leptospirosis from drinking stagnant water, sticking her nose in soil or holes/habitats where wildlife live, or drinking from the brooks/streams.

    • peter on June 3, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      I also clip my dog’s nails and use a dremel. She used to have to be sedated at the vet for this, or muzzled and then put on a table with that friggin noose around her neck while strangers clipped her nails.. sooo stressful for the dog. This was when I didnt know any better. Now my dog doesnt love it and i usualy spend most of the time wrestling her to the ground Haha, she allows me to do it eventually and we get it done without the groomers or vet. I don’t really bathe my dog. She doesn’t smell. Her coats nice and shiny from raw. Her skin is good and she barely itches. 😀

  5. Andree Dionis on May 31, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Dr. Falconer, I’m a groomer and have a doggie daycare and limited boarding in my home. I try and tell all my clients not to continue to Vaxx and feed a raw diet! Some have listened and others Ya know think their vets now best! I tell them to please have thier dogs tittered. Im in Berlin, MA and try to get my clients to go to my Holistic Vet and go a healthy route for their pups. Thanks for your good works.

  6. Teresa Dinner on May 30, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Hi Doc. I got the heartworm nosodes last year and still have some left,but can’t remember if it is to be given with food or not. Please reply. Thank you.

  7. Nancy F on May 29, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    I also wanted to mention that, according to PetSmart’s policy (where I used to take my dogs to be groomed), they cannot groom any animal who is unvaccinated because it is a State law in Texas. No waivers, no titer tests allowed, just proof of current vaccination. So I was forced to find a more enlightened mobile groomer, which I’m grateful I found. See my previous post.

  8. Nancy F on May 29, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    I have two dogs and have used Dustin with Untangled Pet Spa, a mobile groomer, and he was very good, nice, smart and best of all, did not care if my dogs were vaccinated or not. The other thing is they service dogs and cats all over Central and South Central Texas! Their website is: Click on the Areas Servicing tab to see their complete list. I live in SW Austin.

  9. Miles on May 29, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Hey Doc! I was banned from grooming salons for life 4 yrs ago. On my file it read DO NOT CLIP NAILS! The vet did it. He was 6ft3, gentle and had muzzle. For some reason the groomer refused to use it. Well in a rush one morning she started to clip my nails and clipped them waaay too short. I bit her hand :-*
    I’m ashamed to say it, but you people don’t know how much it
    hurts!!! Instead of stoping the bleeding from MY NAILS she was more concerned with her hand, and my rabies record. Uhh…I think my mom turned it in with my records?
    So that was the end of that. Poor thing, now mom has to groom me! I don’t look as handsome as I was, but hey-she gets it done. And all with out the worry of my “rabies vaccine records”. Ha! You think nail clipping hurts? Try a vaccine on your tush! (Sigh) glad it’s been a while……

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 29, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Hey Ruff,
      Good story, dog. I’m glad your mom’s getting ‘er done and you’re not going under that needle any more. Tell her every once in a while how cool she is for treating you so well.
      You know, just rub up against her with that sweet look of appreciation. You know you’ll melt her heart.

  10. guest on May 29, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I did call petco 5 years ago about doing the anal glands, and they told me I must bring in all my current vaccine records, and show a rabies tag too. I told them I was just doing anal glands on an old dog, and the groomer was very aggressive. I hung up on petco for being so rude, and went to a local small independent groomer and continued to go to the independent groomer for years. Petco was not very smart they lost me as a customer for good. We even returned the pet food we had bought at petco, and any pet supplies we had bought at petco, as any business that is a bully for vaccines does not deserve my hard earned money. I expect a pet business to care about my pets and be informed of the truth, otherwise why waste money with any pet business that does not care or act like the uninformed police.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 29, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. Voting with your pocketbook will ultimately be what gets people to sit up and take notice. Support those who support your path, let the others whither away.
      Thanks for sharing your experience here.

  11. Lori Cote on May 29, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    I am an “enlightened ” groomer….lol
    I warn my clients of the dangers of vaccines, usually falls on deaf ears unfortunately. ….their vet is God don’t ya know? ????
    I am on a Groomers page on Facebook, you would be pleasantly surprised how many groomers are Holistically leaning. Baby steps, but we are out there. Many probably don’t advertise as it not only makes them the enemy of local vets, but for legal issues. Call around, ask a Homeopathic/Holistic vet for recommendations. ….????

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 29, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Yay, Lori! How funny you’re doing such a service to your clients and they don’t even appreciate it!
      Sounds like pearls before swine. Better to save your breath unless they’re asking, my guess.
      Shouldn’t be any legal issues, unless I’m missing something. I think you and others could carve out a very good business. Just spell it out for clients. And write me if you need kennel cough nosodes — 3 kennels I supply, all having great results, both preventing it and treating those who get sick.

    • MsMoneypenny on July 4, 2021 at 6:05 pm

      Lori, you know of any in Connecticut?

  12. Isabella on May 18, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Has a list ever been posted? I am in desperate need of a kennel north of Austin. Groomer too,though I’ve taken to doing grooming myself recently, I’ll hand back over the reins if only I could find one with no vac requirements!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 29, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Isabella,
      Not yet, no. I’m putting up a new poll, asking for contacts that will be useful to collate and publish.
      For now, I’d recommend seeking a mobile groomer. They should have no say what so ever in what you do with your animals on your own property. Might be worth interviewing a few on the phone before you open your pocketbook. Key question: do you have vaccine requirements to work on my dogs in my home?

      • gloria on February 26, 2024 at 8:09 am

        Help! I desperately need a groomer that does not require vaccination. My 15 year old hyperthyroid cat is not grooming himself anymore. He also has lost a lot of weight and is fragile. Would you know anyone in PA in the Bucks/Montgomery County area that would do this? All of the mobile vets that I’ve contacted so far will not. The one I used to use currently retired. He did not require vaccination. I asked him to refer, but the ones that he has referred all require vaccines. My cat is so matted and I feel terrible for him. Thank You in advance to anyone who knows.

  13. Amber on January 18, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I was a bather in a grooming salon for three years. One of the girls I worked with was bitten by a dog pretty badly, and had to go to the hospital to get a tetanus shot. Because it was a dog bite, the hospital had to call the police, and they came down to make a report. The dog did not have rabies shots, the police and the health department spoke to the woman, and they had to take the dog in, cut out his brain, and test it for rabies. As you can guess we were all pretty sad about the whole thing, and we also lost a long term client, and two other dogs… So I dunno about this..

    • Will Falconer, DVM on January 19, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Hi Amber,
      So, the devil is in the details. Was the biting dog owned for very long, i.e. had a history the owner could vouch for of not acting like a rabid dog? Or was he a recent rescue off the street, i.e. a stray with no history?
      This could be instructive if you know more details…

    • MsMoneypenny on July 4, 2021 at 6:03 pm

      If a dog has a record of previous rabies vaccines, they will generally quarantine at home for 10 days, not euthanize. If there are no vaccine recordât all, then he’s in trouble.

      • Will Falconer, DVM on July 4, 2021 at 10:34 pm

        Not true, unless they are acting in ignorance. Please refer to the highlighted version of the Compendium on Rabies that I’ve made available in your VA Pack materials. Option is there from the experts: owner can choose 10 day quarantine of a biter, regardless of vaccine status.

  14. Elaine on October 23, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Excellent article and, as a professional pet groomer, I have said far too many times that I am not the vaccine police. It is posted on my website that I do not ask for vaccine records, vaccines are a decision made between client and vet. I am holistic, my pet spa is holistic. I cannot, in any good conscience, require something of my clients that I do not believe in myself.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on October 25, 2015 at 3:28 am

      Nice, Elaine. You are setting an intelligent standard for groomers everywhere.

  15. Julie on February 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Hi, I’m so glad to have found your website! I live in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. In the past when trying to get grooming services for my two tiny yorkies I have ” forgotten” to bring their rabies certificates, I have even fudged the little health book from the breeder to make it look like they had updated shots. Am I ashamed of this- yes, but not for the reason behind it. It really doesn’t work anyway. I have had to groom them myself, because I haven’t found an enlightened groomer. It’s very disappointing that the vets I thought were skilled, kind, and intelligent all buy in to the whole vaccine BS! What’s worse is the vets and groomers try to make one feel they are bad pet owners for not vaccinating on the recommended schedule. Shame on them! I would love to find a list of enlightened vets and groomers for each state!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 15, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Hi Julie, and welcome!
      Use the Shame Stick to beat you into submission, are they? Shame on them. That’s really low, when it’s obvious you know more about immunity from your studies than they!
      Yes, I hope more will come forth with groomers and kennels that “get it,” and give us more places to feel good about spending our hard earned money on.

  16. The Dog Shack on September 17, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Thank you for this post! I have been grooming 5 yrs this month, and dog sit many of my clients, i have never required proof of vaccines, because i do not agree with them. For 8 yrs I have bred weimaraners and havanese. now i have retired my weimaraners. Out of all these years i have never vaccined my breeding dogs. They have never had health issues. Although the one female i brought home at two years old, she was vaccined before I got her, she was the only one who got the typical weimaraner tumors. Hmmmm. I think there is a connection. Anyhoo. I am expanding my business to a dog resort……I do NOT want to require something i am so against. I have been googling and havent found anything so far on this topic except this post! thank you.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on September 17, 2013 at 6:05 am

      My hat’s off to you! Thanks for offering intelligent grooming services, and even more importantly, seeing the correlation between vaccines and tumors! There is indeed a relationship, as homeopaths have known for about 100 years.

    • Fu-An Lin on September 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Would you mind sharing your contact information? If it’s not appropriate to post it here, please email it to

  17. Susan on August 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    When I brought my dog to one salon to be groomed, I was asked on the form if my dog “was up to date on his vaccinations.” I wrote “Yes” being that all the vaccinations he was going to get was the legally required rabies one.
    Well, last year the groomer got hysterical because she found FLEAS on him and started to CRY. Seriously. She would NOT let him in her salon. She would NOT bathe him. Just gave him a puppy cut. And COMMANDED that I give him Frontline (even though I had applied it not two weeks earlier- without much result)
    I’m averse to chemical spot-ons and only use them in extreme cases. I did wind up switching to Advantage and it did work- then. And then I didn’t have to use it again.
    LAST month my dog was acting REALLY buggy and I used another Advantage and- not only does he still have fleas, but he started chewing his fur, getting his fur stuck in his teeth, was lethargic and had diarrhea. I don’t know if they’re connected but I do NOT want to use a spot-on again. Period.
    Thing is- he needs to be groomed and I am NOT going back to that groomer I went to before. Perhaps a mobile groomer will be more tolerant of my “no chemicals!” stance. Maybe I’ll learn how to groom him myself after that. Are there any holistic groomers?

    • Will Falconer, DVM on August 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      I think you’ve really demonstrated how much we need them, Susan. When/if you discover some, please add your knowledge to the survey, here.
      We need a wide data base of who’s out there grooming outside the box!

  18. Jen on June 24, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Dr. Falconer,
    I have another name to add to the list of boarders/trainers who take pets without vaccinations. Her name is Kara Hungerford of Nitrous Professional Dog Training. She can be reached at or (816) 547-2880.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 24, 2013 at 9:46 am

      Thanks Jen. Another reader has volunteered to collate these names, so I’ll hopefully be posting what we have soon.
      Still room for more, folks! Keep em coming!

      • Adette Quintana on July 1, 2020 at 7:39 am

        Dr Falconer, I realize this is an old post. Can you direct me to the link, if one has been created, for the list of pet service businesses that do no require vaccinations? I am in need of a mobile groomer in the Austin area who does not require vaccinations. Also, another enlightened business that does not require vaccinations is Chuckling Hound Ranch Luxury Pet Resort www dot ChucklingHound dot com in Cedar Creek, TX

    • gloria on February 26, 2024 at 8:10 am

      Where are they located?

  19. Erica Christopher on June 18, 2013 at 11:43 am

    In all fairness, they also state that they will accept a waiver for intact animals: “We will, at our discretion, make exceptions for dogs with a veterinarian’s note stating that they have a medical condition that prevents them from being spayed or neutered.” Just seems ironic that I am keeping Gonzo intact so that he doesn’t develop a medical condition.
    We have sadly come to expect to fight the vaccine battle. This one about neutering came as a surprise for sure!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Geez, Erica, you need a medical condition now to opt out of a procedure that could cause a medical condition?? Crazy, eh?
      Surprise to me, too.

  20. Erica Christopher on June 17, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I couldn’t remember if Fozzie’s groomer requested those documents or not and he hasn’t been back since his latest (and last) vaccination “expired” after choosing to raise our dogs The Vital Way with your guidance. So, I visited their website to see if it was posted and what I found astounded me…
    They have a link that includes some local favorite businesses such as doggy daycares, dog walkers, concierge services, etc. I clicked on a few before stumbling on Dog Boy’s Dog Ranch. By the looks of the pictures, it truly seems like a camp for dogs. But it wasn’t long until I noticed their Spay and Neuter Policy. Erk! They actually pride themselves in being “Central Texas’ first All Spayed and Neutered boarding facility!” Hopefully, they are also the last!!! So, not only are the boarding facilities trying to dictate what we inject into our pets’ bodies, they are also trying to play hero in stopping the pet overpopulation problem by refusing our intact dogs to board there. If they did a little research, they would soon discover, it’s a human problem created by irresponsible dog owners, not an issue of gonads or not.
    On the surface, it seems like spaying and neutering is the obvious answer to our problem. But after a little research one will find out that European dogs are rarely fixed and Europe doesn’t have a pet overpopulation problem, as least not as extensive as ours. So how do they do it? They control their female dogs when they are in season. “By employing this strategy, a nation can have intact dogs, even free-roaming intact dogs, and not have a surplus of puppies.” I just finished reading Ted Kerasotes book Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs. He goes on to suggest, that our pet overpopulation problem is actually rooted in our social problem. He points out that among all developed nations, the US has the thinnest social welfare system and the most widespread poverty, and it kills the most dogs each year. Studies suggest that when people are on the edge of surviving, they choose to care for their children first and frequently the only way to do that is to surrender their animals even if the dog or cat has been a longtime companion. Nearly 20% of people who relinquish their dogs had lived with their dogs for 12-14years. And nearly 60% relinquished to shelter for euthanasia because of “old age” came from households earning less than $35,000.
    If they are truly concerned with females becoming impregnated under their care, I would think that requesting a progesterone blood tests should suffice? More likely than not, I think it’s about a caring group of ill-informed people who made a policy without doing their homework. I wonder if they know about the flipside of spay and neuter?… the increase in prostate CA, urinary incontinence, obesity, osteosarcoma, diabetes, cushing’s disease, bladder cancer, hemangiosarcoma, orthopedic injuries, weak rear ends, shorter life spans, increase in reactivity, the list goes on. They might know (as we’ve all been warned at the vet’s office) about the risk of breast cancer and pyometria in an intact females. Karen Becker puts it nicely, “How did my profession end up preaching that because ovaries can cause two diseases, they should be automatically removed, even when the mortality rate for the two diseases they cause-pyometra and mammary cancer-is small? Have all the wet dog kisses licked away common sense?” And moreover, a .09% incidence of testicular cancer in intact males, is hardly an argument.
    I would think, a responsible owner of an intact animal, willing to pay $45/night, would be an unlikely candidate to willingly drop off their in estrous female for boarding. Just sayin’!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 17, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Amazing what enforcements places come up with. It’d be good to talk to them directly, Erica, as an intelligent consumer who was ready to use their services till you saw this piece. They need this kind of feedback.
      In their defense, in the past they’d always accept my vaccination waiver letters for clients wanting to board there. FWIW. I’m pretty disappointed in them for this policy on neutering, however.

    • Teri Rinaldi on September 27, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Hey Erica wouldn’t it be great if pet guardians in the U.S. were as enlightened as European pet guardians?? But guess what they aren’t! For God’s sake you said it yourself in your comment! And the overpopulation of animals in the U.S. continues at a furious pace! Can’t believe you wouldn’t give kudos as I do to the kennel you spoke of that promotes spaying and neutering as they are trying to be part of the solution. If you want your dog(s) to remain intact there are certainly kennels that will accommodate you. But please be sure your gate stays closed your boy/girl dog may get out and make puppies then you too will be part of the pet overpopulation problem and all the suffering that goes along with it.

  21. Elaine Alfaro on June 2, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    Hello Dr. Falconer,
    There is a raw feeders website in the San Francisco Bay Area which lists vets, kennels, pet sitters, dog walkers and trainers who not only are pro-raw feeding, but most of them mention that they accept titers or reduced or no-vaccine schedules on an individual basis. There are no listings for groomers, but I do see that under the kennels/boarding facilities category, some of them also do grooming. Here is the link:
    Also, I’ve taken my cat to a local groomer several times for shaving of matts, and she has never asked me for proof of any vaccines. She boards cats too, and I don’t know if she requires them in that case, or in the case of dog grooming. She’s Kathy Arratia at “Pet Palace” in Felton, CA. I’m so relieved she hasn’t brought up the vaccine issue since Izzy hasn’t been vaccinated in over 2 years and will never be again. Highly recommended for cat grooming needs.. she is a cat whisperer!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on June 3, 2013 at 5:18 am

      Hi Elaine, and welcome!
      Great to have this resource for those who live in the SF area! I’m actually surprised Austin hasn’t done this, but maybe this will get us thinking and organizing here.
      This is really encouraging. Like a Raw/No Vaccine Yelp group!
      Thanks for this. I’ll see that this resource gets passed on!

      • Elaine Alfaro on June 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm

        I’m so glad to help! Actually, I thought this wasn’t really what you were looking for as you were more focused on groomers, so I’m pleased it was a worthwhile contribution. I think those raw feeders groups are getting more and more popular, so if there’s nothing like that in Austin yet, I’m sure one is sure to pop up soon. Actually I’m about 70 miles south of San Francisco, which is where “Pet Palace” is located (Santa Cruz mountain area). So, the resources on that SF website are just a bit out of my reach.
        I just discovered your website recently, and am really loving it. Thanks so much for all you do for animals!

      • Laini Hall on October 24, 2015 at 12:57 am

        I hope not yelp. My business model and personal philosophy is very much against any review site I had to pay to have any control over content for.

  22. Michelle Curry on May 27, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Hi Dr Falconer,
    I am a dog groomer in Wimberley. When I opened my own shop I was able to make the decision that vaccinations where not required on any dog that comes into the shop.
    I have 2 dogs that come to work with me, a 9 year old rhodesian, Josie and 2 year old chihuahua, Ruby. Neither have been vaccinated, ever.
    I tell my clients I do not give them vaccinations and they shouldn’t give their dogs vaccinations either.
    Michelle Curry

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 28, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Hi Michelle, and welcome!
      So glad to hear of you offering this “thinking person’s grooming shop” idea! You’ll be on the referral list for sure.
      Keep up the good work. We’re glad you’re here!

    • MsMoneypenny on July 4, 2021 at 5:49 pm

      Are there any enlightened groomers here in Connecticut? Asking for a friend 😃

  23. Will Falconer, DVM on May 23, 2013 at 5:37 am

    Hi Kristine,
    Yes, what’s really up here is the understanding of just what “current” means as it pertains to vaccinations. It does not, by any stretch mean yearly revaccination, nor even every 3 year revaccination, as some have proposed (based on no science what so ever). “Current” really is talking about immunity, not how many vaccines one receives.
    So, are you “current” on your smallpox vaccinations? Yes, that immunity took place when you were quite young, and repeatedly vaccinating for smallpox is out of the question. Apparently people think animals’ immune systems are somehow differently wired. They are not.
    Once again, we’ll want to take this enforcement mentality out of the hands of people who know nothing about immunology. It won’t be easy, but one on one, we can explain it to those willing to listen and take our wallets elsewhere when we run into those who aren’t.
    Anytime you need a waiver letter, I’ll write one. You shouldn’t have to lose any sleep, let alone your housing, over something like this. It’s just wrong.

  24. Kristine Traylor on May 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Dr. Falconer,
    I too would like to thank you very much for addressing this issue! I have often thought about asking you how to handle situations like this.
    Although we do not take our dog to the groomer, I do worry about the apartment complex we live in. Two years ago (prior to adopting our puppy who was 10 month old at the time) had already received his first, second and possibly third round of vaccinations while in foster care. 🙁 So upon adoption, I had the necessary proof my apartment complex required in order for him to live with us.
    After adopting him, meeting you and hearing your explanation about unnecessary vaccinations; we chose to stop vaccinating him since he was/is fully covered by all the earlier shots he received.
    From time to time however, the administration team at our apartment will check pet records on file for ‘current’ immunizations. I am happy to say they have not asked me again to produce such records, but I do worry about it in the years to come. What would I say if they asked for proof of his ‘current’ vaccinations? Him not being ‘currently’ vaccinated would be a violation of our signed lease agreement and grounds for making us find a new home for him (which would not be an option for us…as I’m sure for most people). We would never give away our friend and family member because some organization is uneducated about over vaccinating. We feel strongly as the guardians of this precious little Being that it’s up to us to keep him healthy and protected from forced poisonings for reasons of corporate greed and the use of fear tactics to seemingly legitimize the practice. If we refused though, would there be legal grounds to evict us from our apartment if we did not comply? Not a situation we really want to find ourselves in!
    Knowing I can get a letter from you is a huge relief! Still not a guarantee they will accept it, but it does leave us with an option, if, God forbid we ever found ourselves in that situation.
    I am generally busy w/ two part time jobs and a hobby, but if you find you do not have any volunteers to make and keep up with a list of groomers, vets and even wise leasing agents that do not require continuous vaccinations, then I would consider taking on that role.

    • Tigrablack on May 31, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Hi Kristine!
      I used to live in an apt. complex that tried to do this stuff as well. Firstly, find out what is legally required in your state. In most it is only rabies. Your landlords cannot enforce their own versions of laws- contracts (which is what your lease is) generally cannot supersede the state law.
      In the event of any issue, I would:
      Get the waiver,
      Request a copy of the current veterinary degree or certification in animal immunology of the landlords/ administrator for your legal files (say it EXACTLY like that).
      Include a copy of a package insert statement that vaccinations are labeled to only be administered to healthy animals (this is the vaccine mfg legal disclaimer) which disqualifies your pet (Highly doubtful they will try to force you to prove your pet is not healthy, and if they did, the statement from your holistic vet can take care of that)
      Include the excerpt from this article about immunology from Drs Dodd & Schultz
      Confirm the first 2 items and include those statements about what the landlord can legally do. Do you have a prepaid legal program at work? You can buy one for about $20 a month & then have a lawyer at your disposal – most cover tenant issues. When speaking to a lawyer, you want to focus on the superseding state laws & contract issues- not the vaccines themselves.
      Send it all in a respectfully but clearly stated letter, certified so you have copies for court if it ever became necessary. Most landlords will QUICKLY back down from a well informed and ordinance/law versed tenant. They would rather keep your money than fight you in court, especially when you show you are knowledgeable, confident, and willing to cost them alot of $ in legal fees and time they do not have to spare. Speaking from personal experience in which a landlord tried to threaten to tow tenant cars illegally… 🙂

      • Will Falconer, DVM on May 31, 2016 at 11:00 am

        This is absolutely brilliant, Tigrablack!

        Request a copy of the current veterinary degree or certification in animal immunology of the landlords/ administrator for your legal files (say it EXACTLY like that).

        Readers: fight back! Here’s a very smart person who’s just given you a potent tool!

        • Sherry on May 31, 2016 at 3:10 pm

          Hi Kristine
          I know your worried about not wanting to get you baby re-vaccinated and I totally understand that and after I joined Dr. Falconer’s web page I have learned so much. I haven’t gotten my babies vaccinated in years but what I did do for my own peace of mind is I got them all tittered. If you haven’t read about tittering I have attached a link for you it just a simple blood test that checks the antibodies of the dog or cat and lets you know if he or she is protected therefore no vaccines are necessary. I each of their tests in their own folders just in case I’m ask if my babies have been vaccinated.

  25. Doria on May 21, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Hi, Nancy and Fu-An!
    That’s what finally tipped the balance, and got me started Pet Sitting myself…not having anywhere SAFE to leave my Whippets, if I absolutely HAD to. I now have a friend who can Sit for them, and I fill in for her, any time she can’t take on “one more dog” in a specific time frame. So allow me to contribute to this Network, if you will, and I promise you I’ll NEVER ask for your pet’s shot records! I can’t afford to do it for free (till I win the Lottery!!!), but if you live north or northwest of Austin, there is an alternative! And if you know a Professional Groomer in the Marble Falls/Burnet/Bertram/Lampasas/Kingsland area, who doesn’t demand shot records, please let me know, so I can send referrals their way! There really are quite a few of us who don’t vacc, but we keep our heads down below the radar!!

  26. Fu-An Lin on May 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I have been grooming our dogs myself since we became Dr. Falconer’s patients because we refuse to comply with the vaccination requirement most places have. The decision certainly has very little to do with trying to saving money (vs. life). But being almost 8 months pregnant, it’s a challenge to bathe and groom them myself. So I started considering having someone come and groom the dogs. But even when I called mobile groomers, current rabbie shot records were still required, as the groomers claimed that the shots were for their protection. It was virtually impossible to convince them that my dogs are sweet and not at all aggressive.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 21, 2013 at 5:22 am

      Oh my, Fu-an, this is real misunderstanding! “For their protection?” That would imply they equate a dog who’s had no vaccines lately as a rabid dog! That would be like treating everyone who refuses to get the flu shot as if they have the flu: “Here, if you’re coming in my house and haven’t had your flu shot, you need to wear this mask. I’ve got to protect myself.”
      Crazy idea. And in a forward thinking city like Austin, I’m surprised. I hope you find someone with more sense and share their contact info with our readers.

      • Laini Hall on October 24, 2015 at 12:51 am

        In the entire history of grooming in the USA there has never been a single incidence recorded of a groomer getting rabies from a dog or cat they groomed.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on October 25, 2015 at 3:31 am

          Right on, Laini, and that’s true for vet techs and front office staff in every vet clinic in the Western world. Any vet who claims to only serve those clients who are “current” on rabies vaccines “for the safety of our staff” is blowing smoke.

          • Deb Sullivan on May 29, 2016 at 8:45 pm

            Those must be the same vets that refuse to treat a raw fed dog. But that is a subject for another day:)

        • MsMoneypenny on July 4, 2021 at 5:44 pm

          My dog’s rabies vax was technically “due” in January (he last had a 3 year one in Jan. 2018- along with6 others- grrrr) He has ear inflammation, a benign bump on his rear (perianal adenoma) and occasional GI issues. In light of this, I have yet to get him revaccinated. He’s 9 years old and only goes out with me on leashed walks and has no contact with rabies vectors.

          But he’s overdue to be groomed and I’m having a hell of a time finding a groomer who will do him without that vaccine that could do him great harm. One groomer actually agreed and then changed her mind. Even though I volunteered to get him titered. So now have to find another. Hopefully. Hopefully I will. Aren’t there any who understand that immunity doesn’t magically expire on the due by date?

      • MsMoneypenny on July 4, 2021 at 5:53 pm

        Hmm, this was so prescient. This is how they’re treating healthy people who haven’t had and won’t have the COVID vax. It’s crazy.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on July 4, 2021 at 11:53 pm

          Little did I know when I wrote this comment how far we’d go down the crazy rabbit hole of infection fear and mind control. We’ll have to work to hew to the reality and not be deceived by those who promote these practices. Surely, we need to NOT give them our money or tacit support.

      • Groomer on October 21, 2022 at 2:11 pm

        When my husband and I first started grooming we had a client whose dog was biting the nozzle and got my hand drawing blood. We were in a self serve dog wash at the time, the owner (who is a licenses vet) looked nervous as I think he figured animal would be coming. I put a bandaid on, we dried the dog and the lady paid and took him home. I was not afraid of rabies, as his bite was not “due to being rabid”

    • Jen on June 3, 2013 at 9:48 am

      I used a mobile grooming service in April, Ruff Cuts (512-522-0334), here in Austin to get our dogs groomed. They told me that they require current vaccinations over the phone. When they came out, they had me sign off that they are current but didn’t require any proof. If you do go through them, I’d request either Stephanie or Caroline. I had another woman who came out instead of Stephanie and I wasn’t impressed (I can’t remember her name for the life of me but I’ve heard really good things about both Stephanie and Caroline). I will use this service again for our dogs as we don’t vaccinate or give them flea/heartworm treatment anymore.

  27. Nancy on May 19, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Groomers and kennels are not the best place to leave your dogs and cats while you travel. If you have money to take a vacation, then you have the money to have a pet sitter come in to take care of a valuable member of your family.

    • Laini Hall on October 24, 2015 at 12:49 am

      I am a mobile groomer who petsits for my clients only. The dogs and cats already know me, are already in their most comfortable environment and have no need for over vaccinations. I insist they are only my clients in my service area, so I can go in and out to let them potty during the day while I am working and we snuggle while we sleep.

  28. Tricia Wells on May 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Dr Falconer – so glad you have addressed this subject. It’s a real frustration of mine since I travel frequently with my 2 dogs. In the past at doggie daycare, trainers, airlines and even apartment buildings – when I have questioned the need for “current” vaccinations, I’ve always been told its because of their liability insurance. Of all the places I’ve contacted over the years and questioned I’ve only had 1 dog trainer allow me a waiver letter (SitMeansSit Austin) and 1 doggie daycare that does not require shots (Eastside Puppy Pals Seattle WA). How refreshing to read on their website –
    “After thoroughly researching the subject, we found vaccination to be a dubious practice at best. It is harmful to animals, and most certainly does not prevent disease (nor has it ever been proven to do so). Therefore, we leave it up to each individual dog owner whether or not to vaccinate.”

    • Will Falconer, DVM on May 21, 2013 at 5:33 am

      Hi Tricia,
      Yeah, the liability issue. I think that’s where a fair number of them hide. So, it should be answered with some logic:
      1. My dog doesn’t have kennel cough (or anything else infectious) as you can likely see.
      2. If my dog gets kennel cough while he’s in your care, I’m willing to sign a waiver that I’ll not hold you responsible.
      And bravo for the Seattle thinkers! Freedom of choice should be part of every kennel’s offering!

      • Deb Sullivan on May 29, 2016 at 8:42 pm

        I have a question regarding the kennel cough requirement of boarding and grooming facilities. Doesn’t it stand to reason, that if they require that particular vaccine of their clients, it should be of no issue to bring in an unvaccinated dog because all the rest of them are vaccinated? It is also my understanding, (please correct me if I am wrong), that when clients rush out and vaccinate their dogs for kennel cough right before they go out of town, it can cause an outbreak in that kennel or grooming facility? Thank you!

        • Will Falconer, DVM on May 29, 2016 at 9:34 pm

          I love your logic, Deb. Of course, if they believe in the vaccine so strongly, surely they believe their dogs couldn’t possibly get the disease, right? Just like the measles in Disneyland a few years ago. Lame logic.
          The vaccine virus most certainly can “shed” as you describe and make exposed dogs sick.
          One of the lamer vaccines available today. As I point out, given half a chance, we’ve got data that shows the vaccinated dogs are actually more susceptible to the kennel cough and will be slower to recover if they get it than the unvaccinated.
          I tell you, there’s so much that our dogs can teach us…

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