A little compassion goes a long way

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From the dictionary:
Compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
"the victims should be treated with compassion" 
synonyms: pitysympathyfeelingfellow feelingempathyunderstandingcareconcernsolicitude, solicitousness, sensitivity, tender-heartedness, soft-heartedness, warm-heartedness, warmthlovebrotherly lovetendernessgentlenessmercy, mercifulness, leniencyleniencetoleranceconsiderationkindnesshumanity, humaneness, kind-heartedness, charitybenevolence

 

In our profession it is CRITICAL that a groomer or bather have compassion. It enables them to see what the animals in our care are feeling and experiencing and make adjustments to make them more comfortable.

Something as simple as taking a loop off, allowing a dog to lay down or even changing the way you hold a dog's foot can mean the difference between a dog enjoying the groom or hating the process.

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I had a woman come by my salon this morning saying that her dog was hard to do. That a local groomer had told her they MANHANDLED HIM to get his nails done. MANHANDLED! I was appalled. No dog should ever be manhandled just to get nails done. If the dog needs more than a reasonable restraint then they need to go to the vet and be sedated or at least have the procedure done at the vet clinic so that any resulting injuries can be handled. 

 

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I have found some dogs prefer warmer water than others so they fight in the tub. If the dog is fighting check the temperature and adjust it accordingly. I have one dog, a Chihuahua named Champ, that likes extremely hot water. Almost so hot I cannot handle my hands being in it but if you use cooler water he fights you tooth and nail. Then there is Jack who likes water as cold as you can get it. Having that awareness and making adjustments for each dog is crucial to making our clients feel special and loved. 

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Many dogs hate having their beards held and I hear groomers all the time say "I have to hold the beard to get the dog's face done". No you don't. Simply holding the dog around the jawbone as pictured above in the photo will solve that problem and still give you the safety you require to be able to cut the dogs face easily.

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Allowing dogs to lay down for nail trims helps sometimes as well because many have joint problems that make holding their feet and legs painful. If the dogs are standing up make sure you look at how their legs are built. Some Pekingese and Shih-Tzu have legs that curve almost backwards and you have to be extremely careful as to not hurt them. I have seen groomers pick those legs straight outward and I cringe every time I do. 

Empathy and compassion are not things you can teach but you can at least make people aware of the need for both in this industry. ALWAYS THINK to yourself. If this was ME how would I feel. What would I want done to ME? That will change the way you see grooming forever. 

The other day Liz was grooming Ace. He is a happy happy happy puppy and I noticed she was literally supporting him with her left arm underneath him holding him still without actually holding him. He was elevated off the table but fully supported. She was bouncing him and talking to him and I stood there amazed at how her simple adjustment made the grooming process so much easier on both her and him. She could have been pulling, tugging and fighting him but no, she was bouncing and talking. It made the groom easier on him by a lot!

Some equipment is not pet friendly. AGAIN always ask yourself :"Would I use this on myself My kids? My grandkids???     If the answer is no then why on earth would you use it on a dog? Brushes and combs need to be smooth and easy on the skin. Supports need to be cushioned and to FIT the dog's body. No reason to use a large, wide strap on a 5 pound poodle foe example when a one inch would suffice and be much more comfortable on the dog.

I also tailor my equipment to the size of the dog. A small clipper for small dogs, small shears for small dogs, wide blades on larger dogs.

Dryers with variable speed to allow you to dry faces and ears with minimal discomfort. Cage dryers (without heat in a warm room) for those dogs who really hate being hand dried. 

All of these things play a huge role in compassionate dog grooming. 

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Quiet, peaceful surroundings and a happy, friendly team make a difference as well over a rushed, loud "I am in a hurry to get you in and out" facility. I don't mean you need aromatherapy and mood lighting, but take time to talk to people and the dogs. Isolate noise as much as possible and talk to the dogs in a gentle kind tone. Snuggle them. treat them as you would want your dogs treated.

Once you have done that you will be successful forever in this field.

Comment below on what you do to show compassion to the dogs. I would love to hear from you!


Ultraviolet light sanitation

 

Ultra Violet light has been used for years in hospital settings to sanitize the air and make the environment safer for human beings. About a decade ago human hair salons and barbershops picked up on the technology to help sanitize their tools without saturating them in a liquid since most of the tools like brushes and blades don't necessarily do well immersed in liquid.

In the last several years they have become much more popular in the grooming world and are very effective on our tools and in our air. 

UV light has to come into contact with the items directly in order for it to work. So there needs to be a raised surface for the item to go in and it must have light on all sides. Unlike ozone this light does not penetrate things like closets and drawers. It can only kill viruses and bacteria in the areas in which it actually lights up. Most UV lights put off some ozone however and because ozone is a gas which is also a disinfectant it penetrates areas that the light cannot and will add in disinfection in those areas.

Straight ozone however is harmful to humans, pets, and even your equipment. There was a time when ozone generating air purifiers were very popular and dog grooming salons. Those were pretty much banned by the EPA because they were dangerous to wiring, rubber items disintegrate, and they cause breathing and other health problems in humans. Ozone is an immensely valuable disinfectant but it must be used in short doses and only when humans and other animals are not present.

I'm going to concentrate on UV light for this blog post.

Let's start off with a cabinet that has UV light and mirrors and shelves.  The mirrors allow the light to reflect fully inside the cabinet and the shelves allow things to be raised up so that that light can reach all sides of the items. The one I have has a timer which goes and 5 minute increments from 5 minutes to an hour.  I don't set have been used on clean healthy dogs generally speaking get 5 minutes in the cabinet but if a dog has suspect scan or unknown skin infection everything is going to get cleaned and then put in for one hour.

The UV lights have to be used on clean equipment. That means removing hair and excess dirt before disinfection because it cannot work if the item is dirty.

 

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 As you can see I put my blades, Combs, brushes, and clippers inside. I also put my grooming loops in here.

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This is a different kind of UV cabinet. ItIt'small, but it works great on small Combs, snap on combs and blades.

It's actually a Phone Soap disinfectant machine and has an automatic timer. It runs for 5 minutes after being closed. I got it from my mom as a gift and use it at my grooming table.

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Below is a HVAC UV light.  They are pricey that they are very much worth it. They sanitize the air as it goes across the coils in the air return. This is a great way to kill kennel cough as well as yeast spores and it will keep your duct work sanitized and clean. They can be installed by you or by an HVAC professional. 

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 The light above is actually a portable light. They're  under $20 on Amazon,  And the one I have has a timer built into the switch. You have to be out of the Room as do all pets, but we set it off the end of the day and let it run for an hour.

 UV is incredibly safe and effective as a disinfectant 4 rooms and items when used correctly. When using correctly however it can cause injury to human vision and dog vision. You don't wanna use it while you're in the Room and you don't want to use it while pets are present. All of the UV machines have an automatic cut off so that when the door is opened they shut off. Many of the cabinet style you these actually lock while the unit is in use if they don't lock they have an automatic shut off though to protect you.

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 As you can see it's a fast easy way to disinfect both your environment and your tools.

Just use it responsibly and you will have no problems.