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June 1, 2016

Professional groomers and stylists are attuned to the animals in their care and focus on their health and safety. But what about the groomers’ health and safety? Investing in tables and lifts that support the functional aspects of the job can prevent injuries—such as those from repetitive strain—and accidents.

“Grooming tables are an important piece of equipment because they allow groomers to safely secure dogs and work on them at a comfortable height,” said Melissa Viera, owner of MJ’s Pet Training Academy and founder of PositiveGroomer.com.

Because there are so many options for tables and lifts, it is critical to test what’s out there.

“The most important features for a grooming table to have include a non-slip surface that is also easy to clean, no pointed or sharp corners, and it must be very sturdy,” Viera said.

As the market expands and more types of tables become available, it’s important to list your shop’s specific needs before making an investment in new tables.

“When it comes to grooming tables, groomers now have more options than ever before,” Viera said. “There are tables that fold, hydraulic tables and custom grooming tables on the market to meet just about any needs that groomers might have. When choosing a grooming table, groomers should take into consideration what their needs are. A groomer who grooms large dogs might want a table that lowers to the floor, or a table that has stairs or a ramp, especially if they work alone.”

Shor-Line offers a number in a range of custom colors so that the tables can accent the design of the salon or the brand colors. The Big Top Grooming Tables line allows for four different adjustments and a new, larger 48-inch table top. The brand’s Elite Grooming Tables with electric lifts are Canadian Standards Association- and Underwriters Laboratories-certified for safety.

“Another important piece of the grooming table is the arm, which gives groomers a way to secure dogs using a harness or loop attached to the arm,” Viera said. “When securing dogs to the arm, a safety release clip should always be used so a dog can quickly be released if they panic, try to twist around or try to jump off of the table.”

The MidWest Grooming Table can be paired with the brand’s zinc table arm. The zinc square steel tubing protects against rust and holds up well in the grooming environment. A two-inch “dial grip” and “swing over” arm with a cast aluminum clamp allows for easy adjustment of grooming arms.

Another option, the MidWest Deluxe Grooming Arm is made of epoxy-coated steel and fits most grooming tables. The arm features an aluminum clamp and easy-use dial adjustment knobs for quick and secure table attachments. It is available in 36-inch and 48-inch versions.

Shor-Line’s Big Top Grooming Tables line includes a pivoting grooming arm that travels 180 degrees around the end of the table. The arm locks into five positions horizontally, any position between 22- and 39-inches vertically and the loop hook has six position choices.

Pet Lift offers a wide range of grooming tables, including the Low Rider Lighted Top Grooming Table and the Folding Grooming Table. Both have grooming arms. The Low Rider has an arm that swivels and a lighted top to illuminate all angles of the pet. The Folding Grooming Table is portable for dog shows, house calls and other events.

Of the types and styles of tables, lifts and arms available, this only scratches the surface. Viera suggested attending grooming shows to shop for tables.

“When shopping for a table, it is helpful if you see it first,” Viera said. “A good way to do so is by going to grooming shows. You can also talk to grooming friends about what tables they like and dislike.”

When deciding to purchase or replace existing tables, measuring the tables to determine what will fit best in your salon is a critical step not to be overlooked. It is inefficient for groomers to constantly step over ramps or around corners, so whichever tables your salon considers, get an accurate measurement of both your space and the tables. Consider taping the floor with the new equipment’s dimensions and run through a work day to see if it’s conducive to business.

Viera noted that some groomers have chosen to build their own tables, but cautions against doing so because there are no guidelines or specifications about important details like weight capacity. And, because there are so many tables on the market, it is easy to attend a grooming show and scope out the array of options to find something that is safe for both the groomer and the animal.

“If a table is safe, comfortable for the animal, and it works for you, then there is really no right or wrong choice for a grooming table,” Viera said.

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