Options for Tubs and Lifts
Most people would agree that a pet is not fully groomed unless it has been effectively bathed, and having a proper place to wash dogs and cats is a critical part of designing any grooming space.
There are so many options when it comes to where to get pets wet. While some groomers choose to adapt a human style bath tub by elevating it, many companies now design bathing areas specifically for pets.
From tiny tubs designed for toy breeds and cats to enormous walk-in spaces for giant dogs, and even tubs that lower and lift with the press of a lever, professional groomers can find the perfect unit for the way they work.
“In the human hair industry, stylists don’t think twice about buying appropriate tools designed to do the job they are intended for,” said Nancy Apatow, president of PetLift. “I firmly believe that pet groomers could last longer in their profession, and enjoy it more, if they would invest in good equipment from the start. Buying the best durable equipment actually saves groomers in the long-term.”
PetLift manufactures a variety of styles of bath tubs, large and small, with convenient options such as walk-in ramps and in-tub restraint systems. Their products are made in the USA of high quality stainless steel.
A tub that is properly designed to minimize lifting and bending, which allows groomers to work ergonomically, will pay off in the long run by minimizing wear and tear on the most important tool of all, the groomer’s body.
Manufacturers take groomers’ feedback into consideration, and are constantly developing new products to fulfill customer demand.
“We have two new bathtub models that we are introducing,” said Mark Arndt from Forever Stainless. “They are not full-sized tubs and are not mini tubs, but something in between. We call them MidiTubs, and they are designed for versatility and space savings.”
Both tubs come with a choice of left- or right-handed plumbing, space for a recirculating bathing pump if used, and both have the faucet fixture located on the back deck for ease of use and to maximize work space.
When choosing stainless steel tubs, check the gauge of the steel. The lower the number, the thicker the steel is. For instance, 16 gauge steel is 108 percent thicker than 20 gauge steel. Also check to make sure that the seams are fully welded to prevent leaking.
If you are buying a non-stainless tub, keep in mind that the more seams there are, the more chance you have of eventual leakage.
“UltraLift’s fiberglass-composite wash units are made from a single mold, which means no seams, no leaks, no caulking,” said Bob Lutz, of UltraLift.
These tubs come in two sizes, standard and space saver, and groomers can choose between stationary and elevating units.
“The pride of our tub/wash unit line is the elevating Professional 3-Side Splash, which raises and lowers the rail height between 24 to 42 inches by the touch of a foot pedal,” he said. “When at its lowest height, the entry passage is 14 inches from the floor, allowing for easy entry and exit even for geriatric dogs. Once the dog is secured, the unit may be raised up to a comfortable working height for the bather. The process saves time and money, allowing for greater efficiency in the salon by enabling one person to simply guide the dog into the tub/wash unit without requiring assistance from additional personnel, and greatly reduces stress and strain.”
These electrically powered tubs can make the bathing process easier and safer for both pets and groomers, virtually eliminating the need to lift dogs in and out of the bath. Keeping pets safely restrained during the bathing process is an important task. Well-designed tubs have places to clip a safety loop to in order to prevent wet pets from taking inappropriate flying leaps.
When it comes to the best loops to choose, many groomers vote in favor of the nylon ones made by Groomers Helper.
“I like them because they are keep dogs very secure,” said Ashley Pelletier, a groomer at 2nd Family Dogs in Texas. “I love the quick release; in case of an emergency such as a seizure, the dog can be swiftly removed from the loop. I especially like that, when properly clipped, dogs cannot back out of the loop.”
The sturdy fabric lasts a long time, even when exposed to water, and the loops machine-washes well.