Building Client Relationships

Grooming With Canine Disease In Our Salons

This guy needs grooming too; how would you care for him?


As we all know, our canine clients often come to us with pre-existing health concerns or issues that may at times need our attention.  Most all canine diseases in some way affect all aspects of a dog's life- from its physical condition to its mental state, and these can vary at any time.  Some pet dogs will exhibit a variety of symptoms that a diligent owner will inform us of in effort to make the pet's visit as enoyable and safe for both parties as possible. With others, we are on our own to understanding how a dog's condition changes its experience in the grooming salon, as well as being honest with the owner in the event that it changes the outcome of the groom itself. 

Each disease, in general terms, carries its own set of symptoms, yet these symptoms can also be shared with other diseases as well, so it is always important to remember not to try to diagnose the dog on our table, but to always keep an educated eye on the pets in our care, to keep open communication with your clients, and to remember that a pet with special needs is just that--they need us to do what we can to assure their safety, comfort, and betterment of care. 

In general, remember that pets diagnosed with medical conditions should always be cared for as quickly and carefully as possible in the salon. Make efforts to help them enjoy their stay, meet their needs of care as thoroughly and gently as you can.  Always keep their Veterinarian contacts on hand during their stay.  Be sure that your client discloses to you as much medical background as possible, and have them sign a medical release waiver or form at each visit. Having one form with multiple signature lines helps save time & paper for keeping current. 

Remember that as with any disease or illness, some visits may bring the pet in feeling better than during other visits. And remember that if a pet acts out, this may well be the only way that they can communicate that they are in some sort of pain.  Be gentle, be educated, and remember that they are someone's cherished pet.

Listed below are some of the more often seen canine illnesses and their related symptoms.  In addition to this, I have listed what areas to manage with care while grooming. 

**On a side note, remember that changes to a pet's coat and skin can be a side effect of hormonal changes, high fever, or anesthesia- so if you see a coat change aside from seasonal shedding, etc., always talk with your client.

Also, to have on hand, here is a wonderful website for reference:

Merista Vet Logo Merista Vet



Allergies can come from multiple causes, including being a symptom of an underlying disease, so it is always important to never try to diagnose but instead to avoid possibly causing any further reaction by the pet, and to provide relief if at all possible. 

What we should do:

use simple and hypo-allergenic products during the groom. 

avoid scents- like colognes- as needed

avoid treats as needed

avoid contact with kennel bedding & towels as needed

clean & sanitize your equipment thoroughtly before contact with an allergic pet (as always)

make the pets visit as brief as possible

use care when handling the pet's skin & coat and avoid excessive mechanical (scrubbing) cleaning of skin, ears, etc. if irritated.

 Arthritis & Joint Disease

-Can affect any area or areas of the pet, can be diagnosed at any age, and may show no outward symptoms.

-Can have multiple causes; varying from acute trauma, to congenital or developmental or metabolic or hormonal disease, but the most common outward symptoms are:  stiffness, limping, or favoring a limb - particularly after sleep or resting, inability to rise, a reluctance to jump or climb stairs, and noticeable pain including vocalizing, swelling or heat around a joint. 

What we should do:

Allow the pet a large enough kennel space to stretch out if needed

Make their visit as short as possible

Be sure their bath water is warm and not too cool

Be sure to handle the dryer, your grooming tools, and your use hands gently on affected areas

Use utmost care to not overextend or pull on any symptomatic areas; lift appendages slowly and minimally

Displasia, Luxating Patella, etc.

-Displasia is a disease affecting the hip and/or elbow bones & joints & connective tissue.  It is caused by abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the joint. As joint laxity develops, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other and subluxation can occur.

-It can be symptomatic at any age, and is more predominate in certain breeds, later in life.

-It can be present with no obvious outward symptoms. Most often the outward symptom is a popping or clicking of associated joints, stiffness and lameness, and many of the same symptoms associated with arthritis. 

What we should do:

Handle the dog in much the same manner as you would for arthritis & joint disease. 

Be sure that if a joint does become dislocated, the groom is stopped and the pet is taken to the vet for care. 

Some dislocations can happen without our knowing, and some may even right themselves without manipulation. However, the pet could exhibit signs of injury hours or days later, so always alert your client if you suspect a problem, and work with care.

 Hearing & Vision Loss

-As with any loss of a sense, often the other senses will compensate with extra attunement. So, it is important to remember that for instance, a dog who cannot see well, will likely be more sensitive to loud noises and voice commands, scents & smells, etc.. Symptoms can associate themselves with the affected area- ie; vision loss can cause head shyness, staring and focusing on inatimate objects, reactiveness to their surroundings like snapping or ducking or cowering, etc. and hearing loss can cause similar symptoms.

What we should do:

Always take the lost sense into consideration when handling, moving or being in close proximity to an affected pet.

Remember that any outward trauma that caused the loss of sense, ie: chronic ear infections, cataracts, loss of an eye, etc. is likely to be physically sensitive to the pet, so handle those areas with extra care.

Mind slippery surfaces.

Use gentle touch, a gentle low voice and avoid extra noise in the salon if possible.

Make their visit as brief as possible.

If they are old,,maybe take the time to give them an extra cuddle or kind word--they feel it, and you will, too.

Dementia or canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome

-Dementia, or loss of cognitive function or response, is often associated with older age. Indeed it can also be a symptom of a neurological disease or stroke, so age may not always play a factor in its definition.  Remember that pets with dementia may also feel humiliated at their actions or responses, such as pottying uncontrollably, so be tender to their feelings as much as their symptoms.

Symptoms can include loss of bladder or bowel, barking or howling, loss of motor skills and coordination, forgetfulness, snapping at the air, biting uncontrollably, or any other off the wall, weird or abnormal behavior that goes along with not being in contact with reality at any given time.

That said--symptoms are widely ranging, and so should be your level of awareness.

What we should do:

Handle the pet carefully

Always be on alert to your proximity to the pet's teeth

Mind loud noises and engaging environmental changes in the salon

Use a gentle and low voice

Lyme Disease

When canine Lyme disease occurs it often does not begin to manifest for weeks to months after infection at which point arthritis signs are noticed. Sometimes there is a fever. In dogs, heart and neurologic issues are exceedingly rare. Often in larger dogs there will be excessive lethargy and stiffness.  These precautions for the salon should be considered with regard to the extent and phase of the disease, ie; if the pet has been diagnosed, is finished with their required initial medications, and is not running a fever.

What we should do:

Handle the pet carefully

Be mindful of joints and muscles as with arthritis pain

Make their stay as brief as possible

Look for areas where the pet has licked or chewed due to discomfort and be sure to remove any matted hair and notify the owner if there are any secondary sores, etc.

Alert the owner to any issues that you notice during grooming, such as swollen joints, fever, stiffness of appendages or neck & spine, etc.


-Hyperthyroidism is generally a disease in older cats, caused by a benign growth on the thyroid gland due to it producing too much T3 (an inactive form of triiodothyronine- or active thyroid hormone, which works normally to set the body's metabolic rate).

"Pre-existing kidney insufficiency can be masked in hyperthyroidism. This is because the heart disease and high blood pressure that goes with hyperthyroidism actually increases blood flow through the kidneys making the kidneys more efficient (virtually the only positive aspect of having hyperthyroidism)."- exerpt from MeristaVet,

so remember that increased urination or thirst may be evident at times.

-The most common symptom of hyperthyroidism is weight loss regardless of how much the pet eats.  During a salon visit, you may notice these symptoms:

     weight loss and muscle loss or wasting (shrinkage)

     bones being closer under the skin due to weight loss

     poor coat quality; including non-regular and excessive shedding; especially of the          undercoat

     increased thirst & drinking or frequent urination


-Hypothyroidism is the condition where one has inadequate active thyroid hormone. It is also the most common hormone imbalance of the dog.

The most common symptoms of this disease are increased weight and inactivity.

What we should do for either condition:

Allow a potty time during the pet's stay

Allow access to drinking water during the pet's stay

Be careful picking up the pet under the belly as there is often distension and possibly an enlarged liver which could be uncomfortable

 Addison's Disease

Addison's disease is a deficiency of the corticosteroid hormones.  These hormones are what help dogs to cope with stress.  This disease is predisposed for some breeds such as Standard Poodles and Bearded Collies, and is more prevalent among females of those affected.

The symptoms of this disease can be vague but may culminate into an "Addisonian Crisis", by which, due to even small stressors, a dog can "collapse in shock due to its inability to adapt to the caloric and circulatory requirements in stress. Blood sugar may drop dangerously low. Potassium levels soar and disrupt the heart rhythm because there is not enough conserved sodium to exchange for potassium. Heart rate slows, arrhythmias result. The patient may not survive this episode".

-(courtesy of Merista Vet Library)

So, it is important to understand that if the grooming client is diagnosed with this disease, or is now, but develops these symptoms during the grooming process to take them very seriously, notify the owner and their vet as soon as possible.

What we should do:

Avoid stressors as much as possible such as loud dryers, barking dogs or hectic ould environmental surroundings

Possibly schedule these dogs during your more quiet or slow periods of the day

Groom quietly and progressively to have the pet in & out as quickly as possible

Brachycephalic, Collapsing Trachea, etc.

Many of the breeds of dogs that we groom have a short muzzle, facial folds, or "smooshed" face.  There are several structural similarities that these conditions share. Most occur due to the skull and facial respiratory structure of these short nosed breeds, but also can occur concerning the windpipe and lung capacity of these breeds. 

Brachycephalic literally means "short head".  These breeds of dogs are bred to have  normally formed lower jaw, and a compressed upper jaw. This cosmetic feature produces a smaller amount of space for physical formation of the dog's air intake and expulsion organs- the nasal passages, the mouth palette, the throat and the windpipe.  It also can affect the formation of the dog's tear ducts and ear canals as well as the brain case of the skull.  In short, keep in mind that these breeds are put together in a way that has shrunk the amount of space that holds many a very important part of what the dog needs to breath and cool itself.  Remember also that these breeds' lung capacity may be smaller as well- even if the breed is actually a larger dog.  In addition to these issues, these dogs may also be predisposed to having dental problems since they have less room for their teeth set.

A collapsing trachea is often associated with this physical attribute, but can also be evident on its own in dogs with a longer muzzle structure.


Since these breeds of dogs are innefficent panters, they cannot adequately cool themselves by panting, so adding heat to their grooming process, whether while drying or in the salon atmosphere in general should be monitored.

What we should do:

Do not kennel dry these breeds in a dryer where heat is produced

Do not dry these breeds in a manner where a large amount of air or air at a high velocity is forced against the face

Thoroughly clean & dry the facial folds

Be aware of eye, ear canal, or teeth issues and alert any of these concerns to the pet parent

Be careful holding or squeezing the muzzle of any dog that has excessive teeth issues as they may be tender, swollen or even have an abcess that could rupture.  If you notice any swelling under the eyes, or around the gums of a dog, be sure to alert the pet's owner.

Use care when holding the muzzle of any dog as their nasal cavities run across the side of their nose, and can inadvertently be pressed shut when the face is held. If your dog thrashes its head or begins to cough while having its face held, this could be the reason.

Use your grooming loop across the chest and under one front arm instead of directly around the neck of a dog that "reverse sneezes", coughs, pants excessively, is wheezy or exhibits any breathing changes during their visit.

If the dog shows excessive signs of stress, either end, or give a break to the grooming process, and possibly have the pet owner present for the grooming in case of any issues.

Cushings Disease

Cushings Disease is caused "by the body's exposure to cortisol or related hormones over a period of time.  “Cortisol,” is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands which are located atop the kidneys. Cortisol is stored in the adrenal gland and is released in times of stress where it helps our bodies prepare for a “fight or flight” situation. It adjusts the metabolism to expect physical exertion by mobilizing fat and sugar stores and retaining sodium and water. It puts us in a state of “break down” so that our stored resources can be used quickly. If the body is exposed to this hormone most of the time, however, instead of during short stressful periods only, the state of break down becomes debilitating".

-(courtesy of Verista Vet)

Symptoms of Cushings Disease (are often associated with the aging process of a dog):

Excessive drinking, potbellied appearance, excessive hunger, muscles weakness, hair loss and possible subsequent skin disease- such as acne and darkening of the exposed skin, dermatitis, post clipping alopecia, poor healing ability, skin dryness, calcium deposits within  the skin (hard light colored lumps), secondary skin lesions/infection due to scratching.

What we should do:

Allow the pet adequate water as needed

Make their stay brief

Be aware that their muscles may be weak for standing long period of time or for leg lifting, etc.

Be careful handling or lifting the dog if their belly is distended

Address any skin issues that the dog may exhibit such as dryness, sores/lesions, acne or missing hair with supportive handling and products to help their condition. Groom them as best you can! 

For acne and alopecia, a follicular flushing shampoo or a detoxifying masque will help clean up the skin and hair follicles.


Thank you to Merista Vet for their wonderful site!


Depending on the cause and the area affected with Cancer, remember these concerns:

Cancer affects every part fo the dog's body regardless of what area it is associated with

Cancer can cause intense amounts of pain that the dog may not outwardly exhibit, but may cause it to react suddenly to if hurt.

Cancer causes all the systems of a dog to function differently and that can include their mental state, so always handle these dogs with tender care and compassion.

Do your best to work with the owner to provide supportive grooming care for the pet as long as their visit is not stressful and is comfortable for their current life stage.

Make them comfortable and clean, and remember that some parts of their grooming may need to be discontinued if necessary- and that is alright. Their condition is most important.

Advanced Heart Murmur

Heart murmurs can be caused by multiple congential or developmental issues. What it is caused by is the "left ventricular outflow tract just below the aortic valve has a scar-like narrowing or “stenosis“ (which is another word for “narrowing.” This means that the left ventricle must pump extra hard to get the correct blood volume through the narrowed area. The blood squirts through in a turbulent fashion which creates a sound known as a “heart murmur.”

-(courtesy of Merista Vet)

What we should do:

Allow the pet rest periods during their groom if they are panting or seem stressed

Avoid excessive stressors for the pet

If the pet seems lethargic or listless, or unresponsive as normally they should be, call their owner and alert their vet immediately.

Hypoglycemia & Toy Breed Hypoglycemia: 

Read more on its causes and symptoms here:

What we should do:

Be aware of any shaking, weakenss or listlesness. Convulsions and seizures should be taken seriously.  End the grooming process if these symptoms occur.  You may attempt to feed a treat or kibble but be careful of putting hands near the mouth, or objects into the mouth in the event of a seizure, and call the pet owner immediately.


Remember that seizures are to be taken seriously.  They can be caused due to outside stimuli such as light, dark, noise or heat/cold. They can be a symptoms of a multitude of health conditions as well.  They can be precursored by listlessness, aggressiveness, nose bleeds, shaking, panting, urinating or defecating, etc.

Use your discretion as to when to end the grooming visit when a seizure has occured. But know that a seizure often leaves a dog exhausted, muscularly sore, disassociated, disoriented, and can cause later loss of bladder & bowel.  In most cases, the grooming should be stopped, the pet layed on the floor, talked soothingly to, and pet firmly- with good pressure to help them concentrate on this interaction, to help them regain their consciousness to their suroundings.  Keep all things away from their mouths and help support their heads and limbs if thrashing.


Read more on Diabetes at length here:

What we should do:

Avoid treats

Be aware for wobblyiness or listlessness and in this event, contact the pet owner


End the grooming visit until the pet is stabilized.

Hemophilia or von Willebrand's disease:

This disease causes the pet's blood to not clot properly. Simply put, even the smallest cut might cause severe blood loss or hemorraging.

What we should do:

Try not to cut the pet!

If we do cut the pet: apply pressure, elevate the injured area above the heart, and call the pet's Vet and owner immediately. 

Pets having previously ingested poison such as antifreeze or rodent poison and are living with associative symptoms:

Remember that these poisons affect both the dog's organ and system function, as well as their mental/cognitive funtion and response. 

What we should do:

Be aware of possible skin tenderness (rodent poison attacks the circulatory system of a dog and can cause irreversible clotting and circulatory problems including tender skin, hair loss, bruising and ruptured capillaries)

Be aware of and openly ask questions of the owner as to differences they notice at home and take those symptoms into consideration when grooming- such as: weakness, vision loss, loss of equilibrium, excessive thirst, changes in breathing/lung capacity ability, etc.


Always be aware of the whole dog on your table. Never be afraid to address any issues or concerns that you witness or have.  Educate yourself to these and other canine and feline health concerns. Openly communicate with your pet owners and their vets and you will find you have a greater confidence while grooming, and a more comfortable response mechanism in time of need. 

Remember that we as groomers and pet stylists are an integral part of a pet's overall health and life quality.  Being proactive and skilled in your ability will only be an asset to your business longevity and reputation.

Happy Grooming!


























Credit to for some of the medical explanatives of these diseases.

Adding Supportive Servces to Your Salon


We would all benefit immensely by being able to increase our salon revenue without having to wear ourselves out with grooming more pets.  We know that there is much more to owning a pet than keeping up on their grooming.  So why not consider providing more than just grooming for our clients and their pets from our current salon? 

There are many services and programs that can be easily added to your pet salon or spa that will require only a little change to your frame of mind and your appointment book.  Most all of the care and services you can offer in addition to grooming take less money to add to your business, but they do take time to add to your focus.  Dedicating some of your time to learning about and scheduling these services will take you much less time than figuring out how to possibly groom more dogs in your already busy day.  You should always know exactly WHY you are offering any service or recommending products and giving advice. This will shine through every time you counsel and talk with pet owners.  Or it will be your greatest hindrance in taking yourself and your business to the next level.  The worst thing you can do for yourself at any time, and especially when starting to make these changes, is to try to sell things just for profit and to not be able to treat your clientele genuinely and supportively.  You should work with the mindset that you are focusing on educating yourself first and sharing that education with great purpose to your career and your livelihood.  After all, time is money, learning takes time, and you don’t want to have your new plans and goals undermined by poor planning and not following through. 

 Remember to network.  One of the most important things we should realize is that we cannot do it all.  One of the most lucrative and business supportive things we can work on is to create a network of reputable and honest people who can offer the care for our clients that we cannot.  Of course, we want to maximize our business opportunity and to not turn clients to others that we could be caring for ourselves. But if there are things your clients needs that you just aren’t able to address, setting their course with someone who can, will still land you in a position of being the go-to person for your clients.  They will respect & appreciate your guidance, so they’re still going to value you just as much.

      Sources to look at networking with:

  • Veterinarians-

Work diligently and proactively to gain several Veterinarian sources that are supportive to your pet care ideals, and supportive to your services as well.  I believe strongly in Holism and Integrated Alternative care, so I have worked to find Veterinarians who offer their care with the same basis.  I do this because I understand and believe in this as a way of life, and I care for my own pets this way, so it comes natural to look at my client pets this way as well.  Networking with like-minded business people can take only help you in your own business.   You can also consider that most Vets in turn network for things such as dental care, internal medicine specialties, and surgery specialists, so it is only natural that we could as well.

Other pet care providers:

  • Day care or pet sitting
  • Pet Walking
  • Boarding
  • Behavioral Counseling & Training
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Local Kennel Clubs and Class Sources- for activities such as agility, earthdog, dock dog, ground work and Canine Good Citizen
  • Contacts for living assistance programs such as LABS, Angel On a Leash, or TheraPaws, and for therapy dog programs that offer to train your clients’ dogs
  • Food and Supplement Retail (some may have no space for food retail in their salons)
  • Extended Pet Supply Retail (this is very important because you want to turn them to people who will advise them on purchases they cannot make with you, and not just sell them things they don’t need)
  • Massage or Acupressure, Chiropractic and Supportive Care
  • Emergency Vet Care (always have a list of Vet contacts near your salon phone)
  • Reputable Breeders
  • Rescue and Shelter Organizations
  • Pet Hospice Care
  • Pet & Owner Bonding & Communication Counseling
  • Pet Memorial or Remembrance Services and Grief Support Groups

~Just think, about all of the things “pet” out there, and work to either get your business involved, or have a source of referral for it for your clients.

I say give the extra time, give the extra knowledge, and by all means give that part of yourself that wants to consider those things outside of the average or the norm that a grooming salon offers.  We can only add to the longevity of our careers, add to the enjoyment and fulfillment we take from our work, and add to the healthy, happy percentage of well cared for pets in our area.  The rewards are immense, and the return comes in ways that are meaningful- not so much just as profit, but the pride and professionalism of our industry as well, and of being part of that positive progression.

Boosting the Revenue of your Salon (Without Grooming More Pets)


 *Don't let anything stand in your way!!*


Years ago I faced a decision.  I needed to either scale back on my volume of daily grooming, or I had to hang up my clippers all together.  Faced with that final decision, I felt hanging on to my love of grooming at all costs was put into a more realistic light.  I needed to really change the face of my business and dedicate my skills to not just the grooming that I loved, but dedicate myself to re-facing my business or I would have to give up all of it, and I wasn’t willing to do that.  With that decision, I sat down and wrote out a new business plan. A new plan with new goals, and a new time frame. Only, there was a twist; the time frame actually had to be shorter than my previous business plan in order to keep moving forward.  In essence, because I could only groom dogs of a certain size and had to get back on track from an extended absence, I actually had more to do, in less time. With that hurdle and a determination to figure out a way over it, I decided that the best thing for my business and my frame of mind was to re-face my current business.  I started by giving my salon a facelift.  I made many changes to the design of the salon and added some new equipment and marketed the salon aggressively in all of the local media that I could.  I also got out and pounded the pavement and met with and talked with many people in all the neighboring towns in effort to get my salon name as well as my personal figure out there.  Once my phone started ringing with a frenzy of new clients and new earning opportunities, I knew the light at the end of the tunnel was fast approaching.  This gave even more steam to how quickly I could move ahead in my plan and that gave me renewed belief in the possibility of earning more from my current business without having to relocate or hire additional staff in order to make more revenue.  So, from my business plan and what I saw as best for my business and my own fulfillment in my work, here are some of the additional services that I have implemented into my salon and spa and that have all have been tremendously well received.  For those things that I cannot cover myself, I have a network of area sources to refer clients to.


Boutique or specialty retail items- if you don’t want the extra work of adding full line retail, or want to but lack the space, consider specialty retail. Be it at home grooming supplies (one of the most lucrative sections you can have in a salon), gourmet and healthy treats, nutritional and vitamin/mineral supplements, flea & tick care, quality collars & leashes, breed specific gifts, or seasonal supplies & gifts; give it a try.  If you are strong in recommending the products you decide to carry, and you are carrying things that you know many owners could use or will need, then offering these things seems obvious.

Expanding Your Business- Do you have a knack for baking? Do you have an eye with the camera?  Do you organize one heck of a party?  Then why not appease your inner need and show your strengths and utilize them to grow your business?  Add pet photography, or gourmet treats, or host play dates or pet birthday parties as a service at your salon.  You can add to your business and offer more revenue sources all under the same roof. 

Branding Your Business- I took my passion for supportive care and encompassing grooming and created my own line of skin & coat care products for dogs, Canine Spa Therapies.  These are products that address skin & coat care issues that I saw so commonly in my own salon, and they offer all natural topicals for overall better health and enjoyment of a pet during a grooming session.  So, I saw a need for something to address the care I couldn’t give, and I created tools to help bridge that gap.  In that way, I offered care that no other salon in my area was offering.  There is no better way to specialize in a service than to offer supplies and products that carry your own name and business credo behind them. No one will be able to get them anywhere else. And with creative and dedicated marketing, the products you believe in will be what your clients reach for when they care for their pet.  Sell what you use and use what you sell.  It does take time and money to brand your business, so do not enter into it lightly. Do your research and get the education you need to do it the right way.

Skin & coat care- think of all the problematic health issues we see every day. At many times, our grooming provides pet owners with a complete superficial exam more so than an average wellness check at a vet visit. Not that Vets aren’t thorough, but we cover every inch of that dog or cat’s skin and coat and we see things like teeth, ears, eyes, glands, and nails.  Sometimes we notice blood in urine, or worms and parasites, or lameness. Not to mention all of the issues we see like suspect warts, lumps and bumps and sores. All of these things could be referred to a Vet, and some of them that Vet could in turn refer to us for supportive care.  We should never diagnose or treat, but we can alert every owner and offer guidance to get the pet help. We should never overstep our scope of care or practice with regard to legal repercussion, but we have a duty to be sure that our clients’ needs and well being are addressed if at all possible. We also could have thorough education for ourselves to help give relief to the pet.  We are offering professional services and there is no better way to raise your level or professionalism than to educate yourself.  We should never be afraid to not speak up when we see something.  We should speak carefully when we do alert clients, but if we let it fall through the cracks, no one gives a voice to the pet who cannot speak up for themselves.  Also, some owners may decline to follow through with care, but at least we can offer relief to the pet at its visit and have them leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Massage Therapy, Aromatherapy and Hydrotherapy- once you get your formal certification and education under your belt, the possibilities are endless. I once was the travelling canine sports medicine therapist for a German Shepherd Schutzhund team, and I got to travel all over, including overseas, by caring for their animals.  Not only can you add this to your existing business, if you ever cannot groom or want to change your career focus, this field is a wonderful one. It is very rewarding and genuinely gratifying work, and yes, a lucrative one as well. 

Breed fun days- book all dogs of the same breed and have a meet & greet for the owners and a play day for the dogs. Offer seasonal treats and promo gifts that spotlight the breed.  Offer add on services in the salon that are easy to do and can be offered at a discount or special price to promote the day’s events for owners.

Day Spa stays & Weekend Spa ReTreats- If you have the staff, or the time to do it yourself, and the space, look at adding day care and integrate that with client grooming visits.  Many clients enjoy knowing their pet is at the spa getting pampered and in safe hands while they are at work or running errands.  Look at offering your grooming clientele whose dogs you are familiar with that extended stay option when they are leaving on vacation.  Not only will you have them in for grooming while they are gone, so their pet is not put on the waiting list- they won’t come in late for grooming and a matted mess from not being kept up, but you’ll also have added revenue from having them stay with you.  No one will vacation more happily than when they know their pet is doing the same thing.  Much can be done for “boarding” pets, without having to have a complete boarding facility.  Be sure to have all of your bases covered for the best of care while they stay, be sure that your own pets are safe, and everyone is current on vaccines and interacts well with each other, and you’ll likely find through word of mouth that this service grows quickly.  

Host a Grand Re-Opening- reinvent your business in the light that you want it to proceed in and then host a special day and advertise it actively.   Whether it is a new coat of paint, a new set of services, or a total revamp and build out, be excited about it!  Focus your energy into moving forward on a new path and in a new frame of mind, and you’ll see yourself & your business rewarded. 


Remember that your business will grow in the avenues that you pursue. You can do it most of all by just your frame of mind.  Deciding to turn your business around or to start new from the ground up takes great resolve and dedication, and if your outlook doesn’t match your business plan, neither can succeed. 

~To learn more about the full line of Canine Spa Therapies skin & coat care products, visit

Whether They've Been Naughty or Nice...!

Each year for my clients at Christmas time, I always take the time to do something special for them to show that I am thankful for their year spent with me, and all they do to assure the continuation of my thriving business.  I set aside a day or two just to work on a special project for all clients to receive.  And I make all of their gifts, then pack them up for easy access during the grooming day. If it is a fabric gift or a handmade gift, I use a plastic covered tub or drawer organizer to be sure that they stay hair free and organized.
This year I am doing homemade Christmas stockings for all of my clients who do not celebrate Hanukkah. For those that do, I will be making a separate handmade gift for them.  But for all clients, this is my chance to say a special thank you and to reward them for their patronage.
Below is a VERY simple template for a very pretty stocking that they can reuse year after year for their pet at home, and every time they see it, they will remember who gave it to them!
Remember that personal flair or adornments are an extra special touch to this basic template, so feel free to sew or paste on anything that pretties it up, adds a soft touch and doesn't take up too much time!  Things like adding their name with glitter glue (be sure it has a full 24 hours to dry!!), buttons, fancy fringe, gems or patches make each sock one of a kind!  The pocket on this front of each stocking can hold a pretty photo of their pet (my clients' personal favorite), or a business card, etc.  Or you can take that feature off and add a different one instead!
This year I have 500 of these babies to make, so I am glad they go so fast!  Along with the handmade doggie Christmas cookies I will make to put inside, I will likely spend a nice small chunk of time getting this project done, but think of all the time they have spent with you, building a long lasting relationship, and it doesn't seem like much time at all for all they do for you.  It also helps assure they know you appreciate them, and they will remember that!
Here is the very simple sewing template. And if you don't have a machine or cannot sew to save your life, Liquid Stitch or iron on hem will work just fine (only it won't last year after year!!).

This year I will be stuffing the stockings, and you can use your imagination on what treasure to put inside, just be sure to put in SOMETHING that is beneficial to your grooming business; a coupon, business card magnet, calendar, etc. so that this gift serves a multiple purpose!
Download Christmas Stocking Template For Grooming Clients