From the moment a pet enters your work space, it is important to keep it kindly and comfortably controlled. This means handling the pet in such a way that it cannot accidentally leave your grooming area and maintaining it in a secure manner so as to prevent injury.
Escape and Restraint
Give thought to the entrance doors in your facility. There should be some barricades between the pets and the opening to the great outdoors to make sure they cannot become lost. Look at your windows, as well. Are there any from which a dog or cat could exit? If so, take steps to secure reachable windows to prevent escapes.
Pets also need to be safely restrained while they’re being groomed. Most groomers use safety loops to prevent an animal from jumping out of a tub or off a table and potentially injuring itself. In an ideal world, grooming loops in both tubs and on tables will be affixed to panic snaps. These simple, inexpensive tools keep the loop solidly attached unless the groomer needs to release the pet, which can be done in an instant with one easy motion of the thumb and forefinger. Panic snaps can be obtained from Groomers Helper.
The Groomers Helper table restraint system is not only an excellent tool to prevent pets from falling off the grooming table, it also helps prevent pets from biting groomers. Additionally, a version of Groomers Helper for the tub may be available in the not too distant future.
“We are currently prototyping and testing different models so groomers can use the Groomers Helper in their bathtub,” said Chuck Simons, founder of Groomers Helper. “They should be ready by Groom Expo if all goes according to plans.”
Although dogs and cats have “four on the floor” and good traction, providing slip and skid resistant surfaces inside bathtubs and on grooming tables—as well as on floors where pets will be walking with wet feet—is another important consideration. This is particularly true for geriatric dogs or those with joint problems. A skid or slip can cause painful injuries. Something as simple and as inexpensive as yoga matting can provide a soft, no-slip surface that is lightweight, easy to clean and portable.
Keeping an eye on the temperature and humidity in your work space is vitally important to keeping pets safe. Dogs cool their bodies by panting; if the air they are breathing is too warm, they cannot properly regulate their body temperature. Keeping thermometers in areas where dogs are housed or actively worked on is an excellent plan. Since grooming areas are often humid, consider using a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. This will make breathing more comfortable and safe for humans and pets alike, as well as reducing the chance of mold and mildew growth.
If you use cage dryers, institute regular checks on them to make sure that the timer is working properly and that cords are not frayed or damaged. Pets should never be left unattended while a cage dryer is in use and using heat settings above “warm” is not advised. Cage dryers should only be used on well ventilated cages, ensuring that the pet has a free flow of air around it. Stand dryers should never be pointed into a cage, as most are designed with higher ranges of heat than are cage dryers.
Clippers and Blades
When grooming pets, it is important that both clipper blades and scissors be clean, well maintained, oiled and sharp. Dull clipper blades can cause skin irritation and forcing dull scissor blades through a coat is more apt to cause nicks. Nail trimmers work best when new and very sharp. A dull nail trimmer crushes the nail before it cuts through, causing discomfort and creating fear in dogs that are having their claws trimmed. On the flip side, if you use stripping knives, they should be dull. Sharp knives can scrape skin and cut coat rather than help you pull it from the follicle.
When people entrust their beloved pets to our care, they rely on us to make sure we are as careful as possible, taking every imaginable precaution to ensure that their well-being is our number one priority. Accidents can happen at any time but taking preventative steps can greatly reduce the number of unfortunate incidents.