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Time for a Bath

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Bath tubs. Every groomer needs one.

This must-have tool is a major purchase and there are a wide variety of styles and brands to choose from. Manufacturers are always offering  new and innovative features that help groomers get pets clean, while also making it more comfortable and safer for the pet.

Look for material that is sturdy and will last for years. For instance, if it is stainless steel, check the gauge of the steel. The lower the number, the thicker the steel is.

“Fourteen gauge steel is 25 percent thicker than 16 gauge steel, and 108 percent thicker than 20 gauge steel,”  Jeanne Caples, of Forever Stainless Steel, said.

If you are buying stainless, make sure it is fully welded. If you are buying tubs made from other materials, avoid products with a lot of seams that can eventually leak.

Rich Batterton, president of Direct Animal Products, said, “Only tubs that are fully welded will hold up and not leak.”

Many groomers work alone and it can be a real challenge to get large dogs into the tub.  Bath tubs that offer ramp systems or can be raised or lowered are of vital importance so that groomers do not injure themselves.

“We offer single mold fiberglass tubs that are electric hydraulic, scissor lift,” Robert Lutz, of Ultra Lift, said. “They save money and backs.”

Some tubs, such as the Forever Stainless brand, offer features such as pump recess chambers for groomers who utilize recirculating bathing systems. This option, combined with the bathing system, allows groomers to reduce water and shampoo usage by 75 percent to 90 percent.

Look, too, for good attachment points for grooming restraints to insure you can keep dogs safe while they are being washed.

Questions to Ask

Check out the type of faucets and nozzles that are offered, and make sure they will be comfortable and practical for the way you work.

Ask: How about the drain?  Does it have a mechanism to trap hair and prevent costly clogs?

Many tubs come equipped with a rack system that keeps the pet’s feet on a non-slip surface and out of standing water. Some racks are adjustable so that they can be elevated off the tub floor and lifted for work on smaller pets.

Make sure that any rack you purchase has openings small enough to prevent toes from getting stuck in them, and that the finish is smooth, safe for pets’ feet and easy to keep sanitized.

Bathing systems are designed to get dogs clean in a faster, more thorough and highly efficient manner.  Set up and used properly, a bathing system will drastically reduce both water and shampoo usage.

Environmentally Friendly

There are several brands of re-circulating systems on the market.  They work by being submerged into the bathtub with the pet; then fresh, warm water and shampoo are added to the bathtub. There is no need to pre-rinse the pet. Instead, the groomer turns the bathing system on, and warm water and shampoo are mixed by the pump.

The action of the water mechanically pushes dead hair, dirt, oil, dander and debris out of the pet’s coat.  The chemical action of the shampoo and water trap the dirt and hold it in suspension.  Shampoo is delivered right to the skin, ensuring that every hair is cleaned from base to tip.

As with the re-circulating system, there are multiple brands and models of siphon systems available, too. Most brands of this type of system use water pressure and not electricity to create suction that draws shampoo out of their bottles and dispenses it, pre-mixed with water, on the pet.

Similar to the re-circulating system, no pre-wetting is required and shampoo is delivered with the water. Since this type of bathing system uses the force of water that comes from the tap to operate, it is best used in stationary, not mobile, operations that have good water flow.

So what’s new in this area?

Wilma Flies, a professional groomer, developed the Sav~Ur Fur system and introduced it 3 years ago.  The system has been nominated twice for Barkleigh Honors New Product of the Year award.

The Sav~Ur Fur is designed to lift thick, matted undercoat away from the dog’s skin during the bathing process.  It is a siphon type system with a unique nozzle that was specifically designed for coat removal.  The system can be used to bathe all pets, but really shines when put to work on a Chow or Malamute that is blowing coat.

Cleaning up is the backbone of the grooming profession, and can be made more efficient when the proper equipment is used. From beautifully designed tubs to innovative bathing systems, well armed groomers know that good tools make the difficult job much easier.

- Daryl Conner, MPS, CMG has loved grooming dogs and cats for nearly 30 years.

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