Pet Age

June 3, 2014

Safety in the grooming salon isn’t simply a matter of preventing dog bites, though that is a critical element. Safety revolves around keeping the groomers, the staff and the clients safe from the time they walk in the door until the time they’re fluffed and heading home.

Chuck Simons, who invented The Groomers Helper Pet Safety and Positioning System, wrote in his paper, Safety in the Grooming Shop, “I believe that safety in the grooming shop starts with the proper handling and positioning of clients’ pets from intake to checkout.”

With that in mind, a grooming salon can tailor each pet’s experience to be positive, productive and safe from beginning to end, and even after they’ve sent the client home.

Numerous products are on the market to help achieve that level of safety. And while the products are an important piece of the puzzle, it isn’t the only one. According to Seamus Jordan at Suds N Paws in El Cajon, Calif., one of the most important elements of safety in the grooming salon is a well-trained staff.

“We try and have pretty good, pretty experienced groomers and staff,” he said.

However, one of the products Jordan does use to help keep a safe work environment is Groomers Helper.

“Groomers’ fears are hurting a dog or being hurt by a dog,” Simons said, adding that The Groomers Helper can eliminate several problems at once.

Inspired by the Gentle Leader, Simons created the system to reduce the area the dog could travel by 90 percent.

“It has reduced incident reports, we’ve been told, tremendously,” he said. “It reduces their labor costs because their groomers can groom more dogs. The groomers are now hands-free. The groomers are more confident. Unless they stick the area, they won’t get bitten.”

Plus, he said that the Groomers Helper eliminates problems groomers face over time, like repetitive stress injuries and shoulder pain. With an additional component, the loop extender, the groomer no longer has to raise or lower the grooming arm.

The system has become popular among groomers, like Jordan.

“In the last 13 years, we’ve sold close to 36,000 units with a total money-back guarantee,” Jordan said. “I think maybe a dozen have been returned in those years, and that’s it. And there has never been a claim of injury with a Groomers Helper.”

Products to Help

Shay Moeller, home pet product manager for Wahl, said safety in grooming needs to include the products used, especially by owners who choose to groom their dogs at home. They extend this to at-home grooming with several retail options that groomers can offer to clients for safe, all-natural upkeep between appointments. Moeller pointed out that Wahl’s grooming products are specially formulated with all-natural, plant-derived ingredients that are deemed safe for pets and owners.

“Pet owners are becoming more discerning about what they are using, so there is a high demand for safe and natural pet products,” Moeller said. “It’s also not just about keeping pets clean. Convenience is also a big factor moving forward. Wahl is meeting that need by catering to today’s busy, on-the-go lifestyles. The latest products from Wahl are all-natural dog wipes and a no-rinse waterless shampoo, fast and easy options for removing dirt and odors in-between trips to the groomer or to bring with you when traveling with pets.”

For his shop, Jordan utilizes products by Nature’s Specialties. Product options include an array of specialty shampoos, medicated shampoos and conditions, in addition to an alternative to pesticide shampoo and other dips. Jordan said he likes that brand because it’s “good and simple.”

Plus, in the salon, they don’t change the formula they use so that their clients don’t experience skin problems from different products.

Safe Tools

In addition, Jordan said that the tools utilized need to be kept up to be safe and effective.

“We use high-level equipment,” he said. “And you need to keep your scissors and clippers good and sharp.”

Consider brands like Wahl, Oster and Andis for electric clippers. For brushes and combs, popular brands include those from Wahl, Les Pooches and the Miracle Coat Slicker.

Though there is always a safety risk in a grooming salon, taking the appropriate steps, like selling retail items to help your customers at home, using the appropriate table and support systems and having a well-trained staff, it’s possible to keep those risks under control.

“There’s always the chance that you can have a dog bite or something like that, but you can use little steps to mitigate that,” Jordan said.

Managing the salon with a risk-adverse mindset and implementing the necessary tools will keep groomers, staff and clients safe.

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