Monthly Archives: June 2013

Tips for Grooming an Older Dog

As dogs age, they often have special needs regarding their diet, exercise, hygiene and grooming. An older dog may have more sensitive skin or arthritis, which requires a different grooming procedure than younger dogs. These dogs should still be able to benefit from regular grooming, as long as these special needs are taken into consideration. The following are some helpful tips to consider when grooming an older dog.

Similar problems that affect older adults can also affect older dogs such as arthritis and impaired vision and hearing. An older dog will probably be more comfortable sitting or laying down during the grooming session, if he suffers from arthritis. It’s especially a good idea to have the dog lay down when trimming his nails and paw pads, so as not to have to pull his leg back. If the dog cannot see or hear well, it’s even more important to maintain constant contact with him so there’s no risk of him stepping off the table. Slower, gentler movements should be used to ease a dog’s fear who may not be able to hear verbal commands.

An older dog will likely have a more sensitive skin and a thinner coat. Try using a milder shampoo and a lighter brushing technique to prevent irritation. A different trimming blade may also need to be used. Older dogs are also more prone to lumps and bumps on their skin. Even if these bumps aren’t serious, special care should be taken to avoid excessive contact with these sensitive areas.

It’s important to have good communication with the pet owner, especially when your opinion differs with what you think is best for the dog. The owner might continue to want a style that requires a longer grooming session and more maintenance without realizing that the older dog is uncomfortable with these long sessions. Try to explain to the owner that her pet might not look the same with a simpler style, but her dog will be happier to get in and out more quickly.

A few simple steps can keep an older dog comfortable during his grooming session. A soft blanket or towel to lie on can make a big difference. Try keeping him in a quieter part of the salon and make sure to provide cool water, as older dogs are more sensitive to heat and stress. It might be helpful to schedule an older dog during a less busy time of day so he won’t have to spend more time away from the comfort of his home.

Senior dogs may require special care, but they still deserve the benefits of a good grooming. A gentle hand can make an older dog more comfortable and content.

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Shop Safety Tips

As anyone in the grooming business knows, safety of the pet and groomer should always be the first priority. Groomers often have to work in a wet environment with sharp tools with the added risk of being bitten if a dog feels scared or threatened. Taking the proper safety precautions can drastically reduce the risk of any accidents that may occur.

Mary Oquendo from Groomer to Groomer magazine wrote a few great article detailing different safety measures that should be taken in your shop.

The first step towards a safe shop starts in the reception area. The doors and windows should close securely and any animals coming in or leaving should be restrained. She writes that it’s a good idea to have a clearly posted sign stating your salon policies in your reception area to reduce the check in time. The groomer should obtain all important information about the pet including any medical conditions and consent to bring the animal to a veterinarian, should an emergency occur. Mary states that the most important part of checking in is the snout to tail assessment. This should be done with the owner present and should include observation of the following: teeth, eyes, ears, legs, spine, nails and pads, undercarriage, anal area, skin/coat, and temperament. Any abnormalities can be immediately detected and discussed with the owner, rather than waiting until the end of the grooming session.

Another article focuses on the general health and well being of the groomer and the pet, as well as maintaining an organized work area. It’s easy to forget about yourself when you spend all day caring for animals. She suggests not skipping breakfast and drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep yourself alert when working with pets. Taking breaks to walk around and stretch can prevent your muscles from getting too stiff. Mary also writes about the importance of dressing appropriately, as she wears closed toed shoes and keeps a change of clothes to prevent transmission of any possible diseases. Safety goggles, face masks and ear plugs are also a good idea to protect yourself from the various hazards of a grooming salon.

One of the best ways to keep animals safe is to maintain your control over them. Mary uses her own slip leads on dogs and keeps them within her reach. Make sure to pay attention to the animal’s body language, which can often give warning of a potential bite. If it’s been a while since you started out in the business, it may be a good idea to refresh your memory on behavior and handling techniques by taking a class at a trade show.

There are a few ways to ensure safety in your work space itself. Emergency and disaster documentation should be placed in an easy to find location. Installing GFI outlets and keeping smoke and carbon monoxide detectors working properly are also important. Regularly check your equipment for broken blades and teeth and wrap up cords immediately after using to prevent tripping. Non-slip mats and floor drains in bathing areas are also good ideas to prevent unnecessary accidents.

Keeping these tips in mind, as well as complying with any state regulations should provide you with a safe work space. Accidents can be prevented to ensure that your business runs smoothly and your clients are happy.
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