Winter Safety Tips
Got Woof!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Donna A. Esposito

Mary Oquendo is an exceptional groomer and Pet First Aid Instructor. Mary's first concern is always for the animals and she sees to their comfort at all times. Mary is always very thorough in her instructions and explanations. Mary truly has a talent for teaching pet safety and clearly a gift with animals.
Mary has been the only one of several people, vets included to be able to cut the nails of my 11 year old yellow Lab, Bailey. With Mary, Bailey is much less fearful and is much more at ease than at the vet's office.

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