Shop Safety

The Importance of Snout To Tail Assessment

 

When I look back on my life, there have been days that ended up as turning points in my life.One such date was April, 9, 2004. That was the day Binngo; a nine year old maltese, died from a heart attack on my grooming table. Many changes were made including beginning each groom with an assessment. It has been just about eight years now and still I begin each session with a pet assessment. A pet assessment is where I go from head to tail with deliberate intent and purpose to determine if they are healthy enough to groom. There may have been changes since the last time I saw them, especially if this is an older pet. On more than one occasion, I have rescheduled a groom due to problems found during the assessment. There is no amount of income that could compensate for the mental anguish over the loss of a pet. I know, because I have been there.

 

For new clients, the assessment should be done with the owner present. You want all preexisting conditions noted before the owner leaves. You do not want to be blamed for something that was there before hand and also serves to reduce “misunderstandings” between yourself and the client. In addition, during the assessment the owner sees how well their pet handles being handled. It presents a good opportunity to educate your clients on pet care and offer and charge for needed extra services. I have always found that educated clients are good clients. The added benefit is that this assessment demonstrates to the pet owner a level of professionalism that sets you apart from your competition.

 

I first look at the pet overall. Is he bouncy with bright eyes? Or is he lethgaric, coughing, or having trouble breathing? Are his eye dull? Coughing may be an indicator of kennel cough, respiratory infections, canine influenza, or a heart condition. Add in runny noses and eyes and you have a serious health concern. None of which you want in your facility. Watch them walk. Does he appear to be in pain? The worse bite I ever received was from an arthritic golden retriever I was helping into my van.

 

If it is a cat, the two things I look for are dilated eyes and heavy panting. Both indicate stress and a cat under stress can have a heart attack fairly quickly. 

 

Before I touch a pet, I keep a muzzle close and my face at a distance. If I am uncomfortable or unable to touch him, he goes home. I will not risk my livelihood by a potentially career ending bite.

 

I start with the mouth. Gums should be pink except for those breeds with mottled or dark gums such as Chows Chows. A yellowish tinge in an indicator of liver failure. Bluish is hypoxic. There is no blood flow. And pale gums are an indicator of shock. Teeth in poor shape cause mouth pain, which in turn, creates snappy dogs. Take this opportunity to educate your clients on dental care. Do you offer dental products for sale?

 

Eyes should be bright and dilate equally. Unequal dilation or rapidly moving eyes are a sign of neurological problems. Hardened discharge may have irritated and raw skin underneath.

 

Foul odor, redness, discharge, and head shaking are all signs of an ear infection. I will not clean or pluck ears in this condition. Very thick looking ears may be a hematoma or severe matting. Use caution when removing severe matting from the ear as blood vessels could rupture as pressure from the matts is released.

 

Arthritis or leg injuries will cause pain when moved or touch. A pet in pain can bite. Pain in the spine can be neurological in origin.

 

Check pads for ingrown nails, debris, or cuts. Even well behaved pets may have feet issues. I groom a couple of pets that do not get their nails done.

 

If the belly area is distended or hard, refer to vet immediately as this could be a sign of bloat. It may be accompanied by drooling and a very uncomfortable looking pet.

 

Note any lumps, bumps, cysts, and warts on their body. You do not want to shave them off during the groom. Check the skin for irritations, wounds, and parasites. Can you even see the skin? You have no idea what you will find once the matts are removed. I have found open sores than required veterinary treatment. 

 

The first time you perform a pet assessment it will take longer than that of an established client. I do not require the owner to be present during subsequent assessments. Only the first time. For me, it’s part of the greeting process. As I am saying hello to the pet and making kissy faces, I simply run my hands over his body and pay attention to body language.

 

Encourage your clients to continue this at home.  Their pet stands a better chance of recovery when problems are brought to light as early detection means early intervention. Recommend any concerns found followed up at their vet and keep notes on their client card. The assessment form I use can be requested at S2T@pettech.net. Pet Tech will allow you make as many copies as you like and give them to your clients. Just leave the Pet Tech logo intact. Barkleigh makes clients cards that you can keep notes on the pet for yourself.

 

I may have lost Binngo, but I gained a respect for not taking a pet’s health for granted.

 

*Note- This originally appeared in the December 2011 Groomer To Groomer and is reprinted with permission. This was the very first article I wrote for them.


The Successful Pet Groomer

I first opened Pawsitively Pretty Mobile Grooming Salon in 2002. A mere 18 months after I started work as a bather. What I had going for me was drive and determination. That was it. Nothing else. There was nobody who could mentor me in starting a business. 

I wish I had a copy of Ellen Ehrlich's book "The Successful Pet Groomer."

Frontcover2

The cover of the book reads "Inspire, Motivate, Empower." Truer words were never written. This is a fabulous book. It does not matter which direction in grooming you take. Be it shop, mobile, home based, or housecall, The Successful Pet Groomer covers everything from running and growing a business, health and safety, grooming tips and time savers, and everything in between. The best part of this book is the appendix. It is loaded with sample forms, including waivers, price increase letters, owner tips, and other resources. The appendix alone is worth the $49.95 price of the book.

You can get a copy of this wonderful book on Ellen's website.

 

 

 

 


Receptive Receptions

 

You have only one opportunity to make a first impression. Your Reception Area and how you welcome the client is it.

The size of the space doesn’t matter so much - it can range from having its very own room to the cabin of your mobile grooming truck- but presentation is key. Good presentation includes not only lack of clutter and good sanitation, but professional behavior as well. Your clients will notice upon arrival whether your facility is fresh, clean and the staff professionally attired. 

Does your phone have an answering machine? Repeated distractions by any phone give the clients the impression you’re disorganized or inattentive to their needs. Your attention is always on the client in your presence. Include on your outgoing message a time all calls are returned.

 Do the exterior doors close securely and all pets under control? You do not want any unplanned escapes of the pets in your care.

A clearly posted sign stating your shop policies will save time during the check-in. It could cover anything from drop-off to pickup times, late or missed appointments, payment, right of refusal and so on.  

The check-in process is the time for clear communication with the pet owner. Neither you nor the client wants to spend 20-30 minutes checking in. Well, thought out, organized forms ready to go will streamline the process while showing professionalism. 

Let’s start with the Client Information Card. You, not the owner, fill out a card for each pet because your own handwriting is easier to read. Allow for five means of contact: address, email, phone number, cell number and work number. Important pet information on the card includes vaccination history-Getting bit is not time to find out the status of rabies protection!-and any personality or medical issues. If the owner states no medical issues, offer a few possible suggestions. It may jar their memory. The back of the Client Information Card details the grooming. What products did you use? This is very important should an allergic reaction occur. Did you note which blades you used and the type of haircut received clearly printed on the card? The client signs and dates the card at each visit and notified of any changes to shop polices. You can add a client agent line for drop-offs by friends, children etc.

Another form is the Veterinarian Consent Form. If an emergency arises, it allows you to bring the pet to a veterinarian for treatment. It would include the name of the vet, under what circumstances you would bring a pet in, who pays for what and credit card information with an authorized amount.

In my opinion, the Snout to Tail Assessment is the most important part of the check-in. You are going from snout to tail with deliberate intent and purpose to determine the overall health of the pet. You want all preexisting conditions noted before the groom with the owner present. As a bonus, the time spent on this activity presents a good opportunity to educate your client on proper pet care. An educated client is a good client. This investment of time will reduce “misunderstandings” and give your clients the tools they need to make educated choices for their pets. Before you begin the assessment, have a muzzle ready. Always remember, “Any pet in pain or moved into pain, can and will bite.” This is part of my greeting with every pet. As I am saying hello to them, I move my hands over their bodies and check their eyes, ears and mouth. It takes but a moment.

Thom Somes of Pet Tech at www.pettech.net  has graciously allowed use of his copyrighted form. To request yours, send Thom an email at ThomCindy@pettech.net. The assessment should include the following:

  1. Teeth

Teeth in poor shape will cause mouth pain, and smaller dogs tend to have more problems than larger dogs. Mouth pain is one explanation on why a dog will be snappy when grooming the face-It hurts! Educate your clients on proper dental care.

     2. Eyes

Hardened discharge may have irritated and raw skin under the scabs.

     3. Ears

Foul odor, redness and/or discharge can be an indicator of ear infections. Very thick ears may be a hematoma or contain severe matting.

     4. Legs

Arthritis or a prior injury will cause pain when touched or moved.

     5. Spine

Pain in the area may be arthritic or neurological in origin. It may also be a prior injury.

     6.Nails and Pads

The area should be checked for injuries and overgrown nails.

     7. Undercarriage

If there is distension or hardness, you should refer immediately to the vet.

     8. Anal area

Is there a foul discharge or any cysts apparent?

     9. Skin and Coat

Look for lumps, bumps and warts and note their location. Are there any injuries that need immediate attention? Can you even see the skin? The coat may be matted and you don’t know what you will uncover.

     10. Temperament

This is a good time to assess the pets’ reaction to being handled. 

Encourage your clients to continue this assessment at home to track their pet’s overall health. Problems found early stand a better chance of successful treatment. Recommend any concerns found during the assessment checked by a veterinarian and make sure any changes are noted at future grooming appointments.

If you find any significant matting, then The Matted Pet Release comes out. It details the risks associated with the stripping process and any additional costs.

Before they leave, have your clients initial an estimate of the groom on the Client Information Card. For any reason if the style or cost needs to change, notify your clients first. Remember, you have five means of contact on the Client Information Card.

 

Your Reception Area is the heart of your business, where you get to know your two and four-legged clients. More importantly, it’s where they get to know you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Shop's Open, Dry Safe

Walk into any grooming salon and you will see dryers everywhere. They’re in the dry grooming room and kennel area and the wet bathing room. We cannot work without them, therefore we need to be aware of the dangers they possess.

Dryers located in the bathing area should plug into a Ground Fault Interrupter or GFI outlet. This will cut the power to the circuit if it becomes wet, preventing electrical shock that could result in serious burns and/or cardiac arrest for either the groomer or the pet. You should position the dryers’ base unit away from the tub.

 Properly wrapping up cords and dryer hoses when not in use will prevent sudden blunt force trauma due to tripping. In addition, you do not want your guests chewing on the electrical cords. Chewing on the cords will cause burns and electrical shock. Should this happen, do not pull the cord out of their mouth. Instead, pull the plug out of the outlet and then attend to the pet.

There are five types of dryers:

1.       Hand dryers are small and unobtrusive. Many dogs and cats fearful of the larger dryers do well with these.

2.       Stand dryers are used for fluff and finish drying. They are also good around feet and faces.SDC10518

3.       High Velocity (HV) or force dryers are used to blow out coat and to quickly table dry a dog. You should not use them around cats unless you have removed the nozzle. Removing the nozzle turns this dryer into a stand dryer with a hose. As the name implies, the air comes out at a high velocity. Exercise caution when drying around the head as you can blow out an eardrum. A towel wrapped around the head or using a Happy Hoodie will prevent this.SDC10520 Also, you should muzzle the dog that insists on biting the nozzle head-on as to prevent damage to a lung. Furthermore, the high velocity of air flow can damage the soft tissue of the eyes and could cause rectal prolapse. As with cats, removing the nozzle around the face and head will help prevent injuries.SDC10521

 This dryer can induce atypical seizures. While this is rare, the signs include uncontrollable pooping and peeing .This pet may also scream and seem disconnected. You cannot HV these pets. The owner should notify their vet if this occurs.

4.       Attachable cage dryers will fully dry a pet in a kennel. In addition, use them to finish100_1201[1] drying a pet that is fearful of the HV dryers.

5.       Dryer cages are a kennel with a built in dryer. It usually has a plexi-glass door and a 100_1200[1] timer. As there is no air circulation in these dryers, you must carefully monitor pets. Pets that are prone to heat stroke should never use this dryer. These include brachycephalic dogs, elderly pets, puppies and kittens, and overweight and otherwise health-compromised pets. Brachycephalic dogs are those dogs with the pushed-in faces such as Pugs and Shih Tzu’s.

The above dryers can also run on a cool setting. You should be aware of the signs of hypothermia in addition to dehydration and heat stroke.

Dehydration can lead to organ failure. Dehydration occurs when the temperature in the environment is higher than an animal’s body temperature and no water is provided. Signs include a lack of elasticity in the skin, sunken eyes, tacky gums and a capillary refill of more than two seconds.

Capillary refill is the exchange rate of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide in the blood stream. If you press your thumb against the gums, the time it takes for the gums to return to normal color is the capillary refill time.  

Heatstroke can lead to death. Heatstroke occurs when the temperature in the environment is higher than the body temperature with little or no air circulation, high humidity and close quarters.  Heatstroke happens VERY QUICKLY.  Signs include a body temperature of more than 103 degrees, lethargy, heavy breathing, bright red gums and tongue, vomiting and diarrhea. If heatstroke occurs, you should place the pet in a tub of cool water. Do not use cold water as it will constrict the blood vessels and slow down the cooling process. Call the veterinarian for transport instructions.

Hypothermia occurs when you expose the pet to cooler than body temperatures over a period of time. Hypothermia can occur when you place a wet animal in a kennel and dry the pet on a cool setting. Signs include a body temperature of four degrees less than normal, shivering and bluish gums. If hypothermia occurs, take the pet out of the kennel and wrap her with warm towels and call the vet for instructions.

Hypothermia, dehydration and heatstroke require immediate veterinary care. To minimize any risk, you should carefully monitor all pets during the drying process. Water should always be available to the pet. Kennel crates and cage water bottles will prevent the pet from rewetting themselves by a knocking over a water dish. Cleaning the filters regularly keeps the motor from running too hot and burning out- it will also keep the hoses cooler.

Every year the media runs a story on the deathtrap commonly referred to as a grooming shop/salon. It usually occurs when a pet has died of heatstroke because it was in an overheated kennel with no water or monitoring. Every groomer should practice safe dryer use. We are responsible for the safety of the pets in our care.

I would like to thank the Roberts Family for allowing me to photograph Riley, or as he is better known as Awesome Riley.


Just Checking In

Check-in is the time for clear communication with the pet owner. Well thought-out forms simplify the process while showing professionalism. This is a wonderful opportunity to educate your clients in proper pet care. Thank you to everyone who has graciously allowed me use of their forms. It will help your grooming facility in customizing your forms based on your own needs.

1.       Client Information CardDownload Client card

Thanks to Alex Chapman of the Philly Dog Spot. Her website is www.phillydogspot.com. You, not the owner, should fill out a card for each pet. Your own handwriting is easier to read.  You will notice that Alex has allowed for five means of contact: address, email, phone number, cell number and work number. The pet information includes vaccination history(getting bitten is not the time to find out the status of rabies protection!). There is space for personality and medical problems. If the owner states no medical issues, you should offer a few possible suggestions. It may jar their memory. Dr. Greg Keller of CHIC at www.caninehealth.org has offered use of their health survey.Download CHIC pg1 Download CHIC pg2  It is a complete list of health issues which may pose problems during grooming. The back of the card should detail the grooming. What products did you use? This is very important should an allergic reaction occur. Did you note which blades you used and the type of haircut received clearly printed on the card? To emphasize, PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY. One of my more famous boo-boos occurred when I worked at a shop. I pulled the client card and thought the instruction read “Skin-7F”. What it really said was “Skim-7F”. The owner was not happy. All card information should be updated at each grooming visits.

2.       Grooming Release FormDownload Grooming release

This form should clearly show what your shop policies are. Philly Dog Spots’ form covers their policy towards veterinarian visits, the effects of grooming and dematting, extra costs that may occur, right of refusal, damaged caused by the pet, disclosure of temperament, missed appointments and an indemnify and hold harmless agreement. When Alex’s clients sign the form, they are now aware of her policies. Your release should state what YOUR policies are.

3.       Veterinarian Consent FormDownload Veterinarian release

If an emergency arises, this form allows you to bring the pet to a veterinarian for treatment. Carole McFarland of My Pet’s Nanny at www.mypetsnanny.com  says, “A vet consent form allows all around protection, it protects you, the pet and the owner. I have every client fill out one.” Her form lists a vet choice and credit card information. She has the client write in an authorized amount. You should talk to the veterinarians in your area to determine what THEIR policy and procedures are. Your form should be crafted accordingly.

4.       Matted Pet Release FormDownload Matted dog release

Philly Dog Spots’ form details problems caused by matting and the risks associated with the dematting process. It releases them from any liability as a result of the stripping process.

5.       Snout-To-Tail Assessment@Download Snout to tail worksheet

Thom Somes of Pet Tech at www.pettech.net  has kindly allowed use of his copyrighted worksheet for your personal use.  The purpose of the initial snout to tail assessment sets a baseline on the health and condition of the pet. This should be done with the owner present. You want all pre-existing conditions noted before the groom. The time spent with the owner and the pet presents a good opportunity to educate your client on proper pet care. You need to keep in mind that “Any pet in pain or moved into pain, can and will bite”. A muzzle should be handy. During the assessment you are looking for any problems that may worsen by the grooming process.

The assessment should include the following:

a.       Teeth

Teeth in poor shape will cause mouth pain. Smaller dogs tend to have more problems than larger dogs. It is one explanation on why a dog will be snappy when grooming the face. It hurts! Educate your clients on proper dental care.

b.      Eyes

Hardened discharge may have irritated and raw skin under the scabs.

c.       Ears

Foul odor, redness and/or discharge can be an indicator of ear infections. Very thick ears may be a hematoma or contain severe matting.

d.      Legs

Arthritis or a prior injury will cause pain when touched or moved.

e.      Spine

Pain in the area may be arthritic or neurological in origin. It may also be a prior injury.

f.        Nails and Pads

The area should be checked for injuries and overgrown nails.

g.       Undercarriage

If there is distension or hardness, you should refer immediately to the vet.

h.      Anal area

Is there a foul discharge or any cysts apparent?

i.         Skin and Coat

Look for lumps, bumps and warts and note their location. Can you even see the skin? The coat may be matted and you don’t know what you will uncover.

You should encourage your clients to continue this at home to track their pet’s overall health. Problems found early stand a better chance of successful treatment. You should recommend any concerns found during the assessment checked by a veterinarian. Changes should be noted at future grooming appointments.

6.       Grooming Estimate

This form should say what you are and are NOT doing. If you are not providing a normal part of your service, a reason should be noted. For example: Due to a suspected ear infection, you cannot clean the ears.  It should show a probable price range and reasons the estimate may be higher. Temperament and dematting times can alter an estimate.

7.       Grooming Report Card

This is given to the owner after the groom. It lets them know how their pet handled the grooming process and alert them to any suspected health concerns. Please keep in mind, that unless you are also a veterinarian, you cannot diagnose.

This investment of time allocated to your clients will reap future benefits. It will reduce “misunderstandings” and give your clients the tools they need to make educated choices for their pets. Time and thought went into the preparation of these showcased forms. If you choose to use any of these forms, please drop them a note of appreciation.

 


Good Shampoo Sense

                                                       

A good shampoo is an expensive investment. It’s part of what separates the professional from the pet owner. Like any investment, we must take care of and protect it.

Every manufacturer that I spoke with can claim that an unopened bottle has a shelf life of 2 years. Once opened, there are too many variables for them to offer any guarantee. If you practice good shampoo sense, you can expect a strong shelf life on an opened bottle. You practice good shampoo sense by maintaining its integrity.

All shampoos should be stored in a cool, dry and well ventilated place. This can be a problem for mobile groomers whose vans are exposed to the elements. As a mobile groomer, I keep my shampoos in smaller, labeled bottles. In extreme temperatures, those smaller bottles are easier to haul into my house.

Open bottles are subjected to airborne microbes, water and hair. Keeping the lids on reduces contamination. By using smaller dispenser bottles, the larger gallons exposure to contaminants is kept at a minimum. Reusable dispenser bottles need to be sterilized regularly. I have 2 sets: when one bottle of undiluted shampoo becomes empty, I replace it with another. The used bottle is then sterilized.  Food based ingredients such as oatmeal and baking soda have a shorter shelf life.

Shampoos will use one of three preservative systems:

1.       The first is a cosmetically formulated system. It uses chemically produced preservatives. Some examples are the parabens, formaldehyde, Quaternium 15, Sorbic acid, DMBM hydantoin and potassium sorbate. Some of these preservatives are known or suspected carcinogens. You also run the risk of introducing toxins to the pet and yourself. However, they have a proven track record of killing bacteria and staph.

2.       The second is a botanical extract system. The natural properties of the botanicals kill harmful bacteria. Some common extracts are lemongrass, orange, eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, thyme, lavender, birch, juniper, rosemary and chamomile. These ingredients are non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. Like chemical preservatives, you or the pet can run the risk of serious allergies. Cats, in particular, have issue with botanicals. Some extracts are food based and therefore have a shorter shelf life.

3.       The third is a self preserving system. This is new technology. Manufacturers claim the same shelf life as a cosmetically formulated system. The system is set up on 6 principals:

a.       Botanical products and glycerin are chosen with properties to bind water. It reduces the availability of microorganisms to feed on water.

b.      They keep the pH between 3.5 and 4.0. Low pH hinders the growth of microorganisms.

c.       They use natural active ingredients with anti-microbial properties.

d.      They use pumps instead of lids. This keeps air contact to a minimum.

e.      Clean manufacturing practices eliminates contamination at the manufacturing level.

f.        A patented liquid crystal system used in the delivery of the shampoo.

How do recognize that your shampoo has gone bad? Some of the signs include:

1.       Foul odor.

2.       Visible mold spores.

3.       Separation of liquids unless label indicates shaking is needed.

There are times when there will not be any visible signs of spoilage. I recommend you contact your manufacturer for a realistic shelf life.

Additionally, water quality directly affects shampoo quality. Bathing systems should be cleaned out between dogs and at the end of the day. I use Davis 2% Chlorohexidine shampoo and run it through the system for 10 minutes. This will prevent bacteria from contaminating your system. For mobile groomers, another issue is our water holding tanks. Many of us do not have easy access to clean our fresh water tanks. There are products you can buy at any RV store that will keep the fresh water tanks free from bacteria.

Furnunculosis is a recognized severe skin infection that follows grooming with contaminated shampoo or conditioner. This is preventable by practicing good shampoo sense. In addition, only pre-mix the amount needed for a day. Discard any unused product. Pre-mix bottles need to be sterilized daily. This includes the pumps and sprays. I use the same Chlorohexidine soak for my bottles and sprays as I do for my tub. Contact time needs to be at least 10 minutes for it to be effective.  Handstripped dogs are particularly susceptible to furnunculosis. Handstripped dogs should not be bathed for 2 weeks following stripping.

I highly recommend taking the time to educate yourself on the products you have chosen. Every shampoo manufacturer I spoke with was more than willing to discuss their products. I would like to offer special thanks to Barbara Bird. She offered up her brain for me to pick. Her website is www.BBird.biz.


Shop Safety

                                                       

Preventable accidents are a leading cause of death and disability among dogs and cats. Let’s take a look at your grooming environment and make it as safe as possible.

Checking In

You should start by doing a snout to tail assessment of each pet before the owner leaves the premises. You want to look for any injuries that could be exacerbated during grooming .

Blades and Clippers

Are they in good repair? Broken teeth in a blade can cause injury. Tools that are not cleaned, oiled and maintained well will become hotter faster and can cause irritations. Electrical cords should be up and out of the way. They are a tripping hazard for you and chewers can suffer cardiac arrest. All corded equipment should be checked for shorts to prevent electrical shocks.

Tables

All nooses should have a quick release. My Pictures0089 They’re better than using your $300 scissors to cut a noose. Your $300 scissors cannot cut through the metal nooses with the plastic coating. Pets should never be left unattended on a table. A fall could cause sudden blunt force trauma, broken body parts, concussions and even death.

Stand and Force Dryers

Filters should be cleaned frequently. If not, the dryer will run hotter. This will cause the hoses and nozzles to heat up. Do not use a force dryer around the ears. A Happy Hoodie or a towel wrapped around the head will protect the ear drums.My Pictures0085 There are those dogs who insist on biting the force dryer’s nozzle head on. They should be muzzled to prevent a lung from being blown out.

Cages

Are the grates and bars in good repair? A paw becoming stuck in a grate or a snout stuck in the bars can cause injury.

Cage Dryers

Is someone monitoring the pets? A timer is a good investment. A pet in a cage with a hot dryer can develop heat stroke. A wet pet in a cage with a cool dryer over an extended time can develop hypothermia. A bowl of fresh water or cage bottle should be available to prevent dehydration.

Tubs

There should be gfi outlets near the tub. Is the floors non-slip or covered with a textured floor mat? Pets are not left unattended in the tub. Pets should be noosed to prevent them from licking the soapy water.SDC10338 There are products that will protect the eyes from the shampoo. There is some disagreement amongst pet professionals to the pros and cons of them. I always rinse the eyes during the “rinse cycle”. Eye wash should be handy in case of eye irritations. Pre-mix only the amount of shampoo or conditioner you will use in a day. The rest should be tossed. Furnunculosis has been linked to pre-mixed shampoos and conditioner that have been left out longer than that.

Miscellaneous

Table, tools, tubs and kennels should be cleaned and disinfected in between dogs to prevent the spread of zoonotics. A cleaner doesn’t disinfect well and a disinfectant does not clean well. You should use both.

Proper storing of disinfectants, cleaners and shampoos will prevent poisonings.

Outlets should have child proof covers on them to prevent dogs from sticking their wet noses into a live outlet.

You should have an answering machine to take calls when you are working. You do not want to leave an unattended dog on a table or tub to field phone calls.

You should have a familiarity with dog and cat behavior. You need to have control over the pets in your care. A pet that is uncontrollable is a danger to himself and others.  

Cats and dogs are better separated. There is far too much stress on both when they are in close quarters. A better plan is to have a “cat day”.

You want to make sure there isn’t any unauthorized exodus from your shop. There should be safe guards installed to prevent pets from escaping from your shop.

I am crediting two of my instructors for this next one. They are Terri Tomlinson and Beth Cristiano. They repeatedly stressed that I know where the tips of my scissors are and when body parts begin and end.

Tired, stressed out groomers make mistakes.

In spite of providing a safe grooming environment, we all know that accidents can and do happen. Are you prepared for them with a well stocked, I know what’s in it first aid kit? Have you taken a pet first aid class?

As pet professionals, it is our duty to provide a clean, safe and nurturing environment for all our furry clients.

 *It is with many thanks to the Auger Family for allowing Gracie and Buddha to be photographed. As always, they are a joy.