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Therapeutic Pet Grooming: the Future of Canine Skin and Coat Care

Dry, flaky, itchy and inflamed skin are common symptoms suffered by many dogs, particularly during the warmer months when seasonal sensitivities to pollen and plants, insect bites and other allergic symptoms are more likely.

In fact, pet health company PetSure’s pet insurance claims data for 2022 shows allergy related skin conditions were the top disease in dogs across all ages, costing owners thousands of dollars in vet bills.

Canine skin conditions can range from mild to severe and are caused by a number of reasons, such as food and environmental allergies, yeast infections, tick and fleas, immune disorders and more. 

If left untreated, pet skin and coat issues (eg shedding and hair loss) can often become complex and much more serious, making your four-legged friend’s life a misery.

If veterinary treatment for your dog’s skin and coat issues has been ineffective, there is a new approach designed to complement veterinary care and diagnosis that shows great success. 
It’s called therapeutic pet grooming and involves the use of techniques, products and tools (eg ozone therapy) that are tailored to the individual needs of pets, considering factors such as skin type and coat condition.

International Certified Canine and Feline Master Groomer Naomi Conroy is Australia’s first Master Pet Aesthetician, trained in the art of restorative skin and coat care.

“In traditional pet grooming, we are not taught how to consider the animal’s current skin and coat conditions and individualise the grooming experience. 
Therapeutic pet groomers look at the groom as a holistic approach and apply knowledge to meet the needs of the pet,” she explained.
Conroy is also a veterinary nurse and has gone through stringent training in the ‘Science of Skin’, to not only understand the requirements of healthy skin and coat but also know how to treat skin conditions, whether it be a medical issue or skin problem. 

Conroy works closely with veterinarians to advance the healing process when it comes to skin and coat issues.

Progress of French Bulldog Sundae's
skin condition over six weeks
“Groomers may be considered as the first line of defence for pets’ health because they recognise problems and communicates them to owners when vet care is needed. To achieve the best health for our companion animals, groomers can close the gap between vets,” she said.

One of Conroy’s most memorable cases involved a French Bulldog named Sundae who suffered an agonising skin condition that the owner had exhausted what she believed to be every treatment avenue.

“We were able to build Sundae’s skin immune system through the application of hydrotherapy, oils, minerals and proteins each week. 
Amazingly within a month we saw remarkable results!” said Conroy. 

“We have also luckily had many dogs with allergies, chewing feet and ear issues all resolve.”
Another therapeutic pet grooming treatment that has shown effective results is ozone therapy, which adds oxygen to tissue via a hydro-spa and promotes microcirculation.

“Ozone therapy brings more oxygen to the skin, especially into areas that are inflamed, and helps to alleviate inflammation”.
It’s useful for hot spots, pyodermas, allergic dermatitis, abscesses and wounds, especially deep abrasions and traumatic injuries,” she said.

As part of therapeutic pet grooming tools, Conroy – who is also an award-winning competition groomer – is dedicated to using Iv San Bernard’s world-renowned grooming products, from specialised shampoos and conditioners to advanced treatments that prioritise natural ingredients and cutting-edge research, and is tailored to pets' unique needs.

In 2022, Conroy co-founded the Therapeutic Pet Groomers Association (TPGA) bringing together grooming professionals who have elevated their education to specialise in providing alternative grooming techniques with the use of Iv San Bernard products.

“Through education, collaboration, and the exchange of insights, the TPGA aims to elevate the standards of therapeutic pet grooming in Australia,” said Conroy. “The association provides a supportive platform for groomers to enhance their skills, access cutting-edge techniques, and stay updated on industry advancements. By fostering a community of experts, the TPGA ensures that pets with specific requirements receive the utmost care and attention they deserve.”

Groomer Nation educating tomorrow’s therapeutic pet groomers

Conroy also co-founded Groomer Nation, Australia's fastest growing online community for professional pet grooming education, with the collaboration of fellow International Master Groomer (ICMG) Vanessa Parsons, a Certified Companion Animal Hygienist, former certifier for International Professional Groomers and international award-winning competition groomer and judge among other accolades.

Groomer Nation’s journey began in 2021 by distilling a culmination of over 55 years of passion, love and experience in the grooming world from Vanessa and myself,” said Conroy.

“We have been so fortunate to glean insights from industry icons and, alongside many Aussie legendary groomers and breeders, we've curated this wealth of knowledge under the Groomer Nation banner, creating an educational sanctuary for groomers of all levels and our library is growing every month.”

​Parsons is also the former Grooming Director of the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) and speaks at conferences and teaches groomers in workshops and seminars around Australia.

Sophie Corkhill (QLD) & Naomi Conroy (NSW)
winning 1st and 2nd place in the Pure Breed Scissor
class at Sydney Royal Grooming - April 2023
As dedicated groomers, Conroy and Parsons understand the challenges of the industry first hand, and why they created Groomer Nation as an educational hub for groomers at every stage of their journey

Groomer Nation’s Therapeutic Pet Groomer Certification is designed to equip groomers with science-based knowledge to provide healing spa and therapeutic services to clients’ pets who from suffer skin and coat conditions.
“Our ethos centres around longevity in our industry and fostering a supportive community that not only offers educational videos but also support, insightful blogs and engaging podcasts to keep groomers thriving,” said Conroy.

“We're here to ensure that the grooming community continues to grow and evolve where queries find answers and challenges are met with solutions.”

With both grooming experts actively running their own bustling salons, Conroy and Parsons are intimately familiar with the demands of the profession.

Groomer Nation provides a diverse range of events tailored to groomers' professional growth, including seminars and workshops led by renowned experts from around the world. Additionally, specially curated seminars and hands-on workshops (eg Medicpet Pet First Aid course) offer practical insights for longevity and success for groomers working in salons or mobiles.

Groomer Nation is our way of giving back and helping groomers succeed in an ever-changing industry and creating an educational sanctuary for groomers of all levels,” said Conroy. 
“The future of pet grooming relies on current and new groomers always wishing to expend their knowledge and education, we owe this to the pet first and foremost.”
Pet owners can benefit from Groomer Nation as well through advice and demonstrations offered at pet shows across the country. Groomer Nation’s 'Ultimate Pooch Parent’ online tutorial series is the perfect resource designed to help educate dog owners with the knowledge and skills needed to provide the basic home grooming, such as correct brushing and combing techniques in between professional grooms for their furry companions, said Conroy.
Cats also benefit from grooming. Experienced cat groomers are specialists in their field 
and use expert handling techniques and products to improve cats lives.

Designed not only for pet owners but also as a time-saving tool for busy groomers, the Ultimate Pooch Parent series serves as a win-win solution!

“It offers step-by-step tutorials for pet owners ensuring dogs are maintained and comfortable between professional appointments. For groomers juggling a hectic schedule, the series also acts as a valuable tool that spares them from explaining basic bathing, brushing, and combing to pet parents,” she said.

Pet owners can also find a certified therapeutic dog groomer in the TPGA Groomer Directory on the Groomer Nation website:

Seminar by Dr Cliff Faver for Groomers and Pet Owners

Groomer Nation
 is thrilled to announce the upcoming visit of US veterinarian and founder of
Pet Skin Academy Dr Cliff Faver to Australia in October 2023, marking an incredibly important and exciting milestone for the grooming industry Down Under.

Dr Faver is the past owner of Animal Health Services and current CEO of Iv San Bernard USA, and will present on the topic of “Hair and Skin 101 – The Basis of All Grooming – the Science” in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth.

Conroy described Dr Faver as a “true game changer in the field, bringing a wealth of knowledge and science-backed expertise to the forefront of dog grooming”.

“His visit promises to revolutionise the way Australian groomers approach their craft and the care of their furry clients, and to elevate grooming standards and ultimately enhance the lives of countless dogs across the country,” she said.

“With his in-depth knowledge and evidence-based approach, Dr Faver has become a driving force in helping groomers address ongoing skin issues that many pets face. His insights extend beyond the superficial, offering grooming professionals the tools to truly understand the underlying causes of skin problems and provide effective solutions.”

“Dr Faver’s science-backed approach ensures that groomers can make informed decisions, choosing the right products and procedures that address specific skin and coat conditions. This not only leads to happier and healthier dogs but also enhances groomers' credibility and expertise within the industry.”

Pet owners can also learn from Dr Faver’s seminar by gaining a deeper understanding of their groomers' expertise and the science behind skin and coat care.
“By learning to trust their groomers' recommendations and techniques, pet owners can collaborate effectively in maintaining their pets skin health in between grooms also,” said Conroy.
“Dr. Faver's insights also enable owners to make informed decisions about products and practices, fostering a stronger partnership with groomers in promoting their pets' overall well-being.”

Watch a video showing the Iv San Bernard Pet Hydro Massage and
Skin Ozone Therapy machine in action

Hair and Skin 101 - The Basis of all Grooming - The Science Seminar 

In this seminar presented by Dr Cliff Faver DMV, you'll learn the science, the techniques, and product to successfully put the "why" in what you do.  A must of groomers, bathers, and attendants in the grooming salon and veterinary care industry.

2023 Dates & Locations:

  • QLD Brisbane: Sunday 29th October, from 9am-4pm
DGS Imports - 9/2-12 Knobel Ct, Shailer Park
  • NSW Sydney: Thursday 2nd November, from 4pm-8pm
OZ Grooming World, Unit 1/16 Bernera Rd, Prestons
  • WA PerthSaturday 4th November, from 9am-4pm
Dogs West - 602 Warton Road, Southern River

For more information and to book, visit

Interview with Dr Cliff Faver

Dr Faver joined Iv San Bernard in 2012 after hearing about the products’ impossible claims from a pet groomer. Based on his veterinary education, he did not believe at first how the products significantly impact the skin.

“I am a slow learner because it took me about two years to realise that Iv San Bernard products were very special. It was when she started fixing the cases that I was struggling with that she was able to get my attention,” he said.

“Soon, we had thrown out all the veterinary shampoos and my grooming department became part of our medical team (at Animal Health Services vet hospital). We combined the two professions, significantly increasing our success rates with these cases.”

Dr Faver used the products for several years before getting involved in the company, and when he was invited to Italy, it was one of the busiest times in his career.

“My veterinary hospital was open 24 hours, seven days a week. I had ten doctors and 68 staff members working for me. I didn’t need something else to do, but I believed strongly that this was the answer to skin problems in our pets,” he said.

“We have since helped thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pets with skin issues to get better and, in most cases, get off the medication they had been on for years.”

Today, Dr Faver evaluates and consults on skin cases from all over the world daily, dealing with animals from dogs and cats to horses, goats, cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs and even an occasional exotic like a giraffe or elephant.

“The information we teach applies to all animals. You just need to understand the unique qualities of each species of animal,” he said.

Dr Faver said groomers play a massive role in the wellbeing of the hair and skin of our pets.

“Firstly, many if not most skin problems can be prevented. As groomers, if we understand and use the correct products in advance, these skin conditions never get started,” he said.

“By the same token, if we understand and use the correct products, most skin conditions can be returned to normal. All this can be done with topicals and avoids many of the harsh or potentially dangerous drugs given on the veterinary side.
“A large percentage of skin cases should come under the profession of grooming since the role of a groomer is to clean the pet and return the skin to normal in the bathing process.”
To accomplish this, groomers must become educated in what it takes to achieve this, including the science, techniques and correct products. The key to success is giving the skin what it needs to stay healthy!” he said.

Dr Faver believes therapeutic pet grooming is also beneficial for the veterinary industry.

“Most skin issues are external. When veterinarians come to that understanding, it changes our approach to many of these cases. There will always be a need for a veterinarian in the therapy of many of these diseases because shampoos and conditioners don’t cure Cushing’s, and groomers don’t do blood work or biopsies (for example),” he said.

“If we learn to work with an educated groomer or have our staff trained in the use of topicals, then we will see more success with our dermatological cases by combining the two approaches. The doctors and hospitals that have learned this quickly get a reputation of success and become the “go-to“ hospitals for all skin cases. Good for the clients and great for the bottom line!”

Dr Faver visited Australia in the past for a teaching seminar and “fell in love with the country and the people” as well as the wildlife and scenery.

“From what I have seen and heard from others, the Australian pet grooming industry is up and coming in all aspects,” he said. “Our goal is to play a part in helping more animals with our education and the use of the Iv San Bernard products. The ultimate goal is always to help the pets in what we do!”

written by Caroline Zambrano, Pet Journalist, September 2023 for Australian Dog Lover (all rights reserved).

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