Professional dog grooming ranks high on the list of the most dynamic and exciting careers. Just as no two dogs are alike, no two days will look the same! By the same token, your duties in this role can be both unpredictable and challenging – you are working with animals after all! Even the most experienced groomers will run into emergency situations and grooming salon nightmares.
The right training and experience will ensure you’re not caught off guard in an emergency or other unfortunate situation. All you can do is prepare yourself as much as possible, and know how to protect the dogs, their owners, and of course, yourself! Hold on tight as we run through 4 particularly gruesome situations. Be sure to take notes on how to prevent and deal with these issues.
You get bitten
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but professional dog groomers do run the risk of being bitten when they pick up their grooming tools. A grooming salon is a strange and foreign place for dogs, and grooming certainly isn’t an everyday occurrence! Because of this, dogs can become nervous.
Knowing that this is a possibility ahead of time is key. In fact, this knowledge alone can make a huge difference in your career!
Before you ever feel the pain of teeth sinking into your skin, pay close attention to the tone of your voice as well as your body language while grooming a dog. Whether you realize it or not, you’re sending a message and staying calm is the absolute best way to ensure the dog stays calm, too.
Take things a step further by speaking to the dog owner ahead of the appointment to find out if there are any areas of concern when it comes to their pup – they’ll disclose any sore spots to be mindful of, or whether the dog doesn’t enjoy having certain areas touched. This way, you can take the necessary precautions such as a muzzle or e-collar, and prepare yourself ahead of time.
Unfortunately, even if you’re 100% prepared, accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. Your first order of business should be to ensure that the dog is up-to-date on his recommended shots, including his rabies vaccination. To tend to a wound, wash it with soap and water, apply hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, and dress it with a bandage. Stave off an infection by applying an antibiotic cream daily, and if the cut is deep or very painful, seek out your doctor.
You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of any pups needing a grooming!
A fire breaks out in your dog grooming salon
Professional dog groomers pride themselves on their workspaces, as they should! Your dog grooming salon is where you welcome dog owners and their furry friends. However, despite your very best efforts to maintain a clean and safe work environment, fires can happen. All you can do is prepare as much as possible and have an emergency plan!
Firstly, in case of a fire, everyone needs to be evacuated immediately, including humans and dogs. Having a tiered emergency plan for terrible situations such as fires is absolutely essential, as this will be a panicked moment and common sense won’t always prevail. For this reason, you’ll need to refer to a system that’s already in place. This is no time to think of solutions – you need to get out fast.
Your fire safety plan should outline a number of different procedures, including where you’ll take the displaced humans and dogs in your care during a fire. This is just one example of a detail that, when decided on in advance, will make a huge difference in the case of a fire.
If you’re a business owner, you developed an emergency action plan in order to obtain your license. If you don’t have a dog grooming business, contact your local Emergency Management Center to find out about any workshops or tutorials that will teach you how to write a response plan. It’s so worth it to get up-to-speed on emergency best practices and plan accordingly.
Pro Tip: Keep emergency numbers posted in obvious places throughout your dog grooming salon. Be sure to explain to staff members that they can access animal ambulances, medical clinic information, and taxi services through this list. Insist that they don’t hesitate to call for help should an emergency arise.
One of your dogs has a health crisis
One of your major responsibilities as a professional dog groomer is to ensure the health and safety of the dogs in your care. However, you will inevitably encounter dogs that are ill, or become ill while in your salon. In this event, you need to know how to act calmly and effectively.
Firstly, if you intend on grooming dogs for a living, you need to complete a first aid course designed for professional dog groomers. With this training under your belt, you’ll be comfortable and confident in situations where dogs experience heart attacks, seizures, or other health issues. Also, have a first aid kit on hand at all times, and make sure it’s fully stocked. If a dog experiences a health crisis in your salon, always pause for a moment and take a calming deep breath or two. This will slow your heart rate, prevent panicking, and allow you to remember what to do. If you’re calm, you can speak to the dog in a soothing voice which will help him feel safe in a scary situation.
Before treating any ill dog, make sure you’re in a safe area, and determine whether the animal is conscious using an oral cue. If he’s unresponsive, get someone’s attention and have them call for help – a veterinarian’s office preferably. If someone else makes the call, you can continue to administer the first aid procedures you learned in your training.
Don’t wait to call for help! Time is of the essence when a dog experiences a health crisis.
A fight breaks out
A good rule of thumb for any dog grooming salon is to never leave dogs unattended. Throughout the day, you’ll see a number of pups come through your door, and it’s inevitable that they’ll interact with one another. However, don’t be fooled by a dog who is friendly with you – this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll get along with other dogs! This could be due to a number of factors, but some dogs are just not comfortable with others.
So how do you prevent fights? You should be able to identify signs of tension well before a real fight breaks out in your salon. Once you have learned more about your puppy clients you can also take measures to schedule certain dogs around different times.
However, as we mentioned earlier, animals are unpredictable! If tensions do arise between two dogs in your salon, whether it’s over a toy, bowl, or other issue, you’ll need to act quickly. When you separate the dogs, provide them each with as much space as possible while exercising caution. This is a heated moment, and you’ll need to use the skills learned in your dog grooming course to stay level-headed. Being properly trained will prepare you for situations like this, and keep both you and the dogs in your care calm.
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Casey Bechard of Off The Leash Pet Grooming is a QC Pet Studies graduate. Read all about her favorite breeds and pet haircuts as a certified groomer!