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Health and Safety

How the Pandemic Has Affected My Dog Grooming Career

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she discusses how COVID-19 has affected her dog grooming career.

What a time we are living in right now! I hope this blog posts finds everyone safe and healthy. I feel honored to be sharing my story of how the world today is affecting my dog grooming career.

I’ll start by sharing what it was like at the start of all this. Then I’ll touch on how I was feeling before going back to work, as well as how things are going now.

Closing the Shop

When COVID-19 really started making waves, my boss and I were hesitant about closing the shop. But it also unfortunately made sense. Once the world was declared to be in a pandemic and social distancing started happening, business really slowed down.

To put this into perspective, I was down to grooming maybe 3 dogs a day – and that was considered a good day!

Going through that was kind of scary. We were all thinking, “Is this it? What if we never get busy again? If we close, how many clients will I lose?

Things like that were constantly going through my head. But ultimately, I think people were just scared; scared to leave their house and scared of going to a public place. Getting their dogs groomed was probably the last thing on their minds, and I can totally get that.

So when we decided to close, we weren’t sure for how long or what that would look like. In total, we were closed for just over a month. When our city decided to reopen businesses, that’s when we decided it was time for us to resume our services as well.

At that point, I was getting messages from people asking if we were open, as well as clients requesting that I go to their place to groom their dogs. So, it felt like the right time to open our doors again. You would not believe the response we had when we decided to reopen again!

All of our clients are amazing; they wanted to book with us right away. We were booked for nearly 3 weeks in advance! To me, that’s mind-blowing. I think the pandemic caused many of our clients to really take notice of what we go through as groomers.

When they couldn’t turn to us, people were trying to groom their dogs themselves while at home. I think a lot of them didn’t actually know how hard it would be. In a way, it’s almost as if some people now have a greater appreciation for groomers.

It was also great that everyone was really understanding and cooperative when it came to the safety protocols we set in place for the shop. Things went very smoothly once we opened again.

My point is, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, folks!

Getting Back At It

It was so weird getting back to a working environment after being forced to take that time off. For starters, everything looked a little different than before. We now had less staff, everything was by appointment only, and our daycare services were remaining closed.

Don’t get me wrong – we were busy and work was good.

But one thing that bothered me (or rather, made me sad) was that some of our best clients wound up turning to other groomers while we’d been closed. While I absolutely get that their dogs needed the service, it was still a disappointing blow.

This was especially the case when I saw that a lot of them were going onto social media and raving about how great this other place was. Many claimed that they were set on a new groomer. That definitely hurt, and we were all pretty bummed about it. We care about our clients, after all, and grow bonds with them and their dogs!

But we just had to keep focused on the clients that were continuing to support us. Those are the ones that matter and need our focus. Plus, we got a lot of new clients as well, which is great!

Worried About the Dogs

This was another concern. Being closed for as long as we were, we were scared to see what shape some of the dogs coming to us would look like. Some of our worries were:

  • Would the dog be matted to the skin?
  • Would they have only a few mats, or would they be in surprisingly great condition?
  • Will it take me longer than an hour and 15 minutes to get the job done?
  • Will I be falling behind a lot?

I think not knowing what to except with every dog coming in was definitely the hardest part. Personally, I absolutely HATE falling behind in my working day. Achieving excellent results in a timely fashion is very important to most groomers.

That being said, that sort of thing was out of our control. We needed to be able to adapt – and together, as a team, we did! My fellow groomers and I were always helping each other out when we needed it. If we noticed someone falling behind on a groom, we’d ask if they needed a hand, or if they wanted their next dog bathed.

Little things like that go a long way! It’s so important to have good people to work with, especially during difficult times. You can’t always do everything yourself. Having an extra set of hands can really turn a bad situation around.

Did this whole pandemic bring its fair share of ups and its downs? Oh, for sure. It was scary not knowing what the future looked like, but getting back into the swing of things really helped with my confidence, too.

If nothing else, it served as a reminder of how the grooming community always steps up and supports one another. We all banded together to try and make things better. Because really, everyone was in the same boat. We were ALL along for the ride!

Client Love

Like I’ve said before, our clients are amazing! They never fail to make us feel appreciated. We were getting extra tips, donuts, coffees, and sorts all other treats. Why? Because we love what we do, and they see that in the quality of our work.

In reality, if you think you’re failing or not doing well enough as a groomer, your clients and co-workers all have your back. Throughout COVID-19, there’s been a lot of uncertainty and confusion. Many of us have wondered at least once, “What do I do now?”

But when people were messaging me when we weren’t even open, asking for advice? That really gave me hope. It made me realize that pandemic or no pandemic, people are still going to need to have their dogs groomed. It’s really as simple as that.

Since we’ve re-opened, we’ve been SO busy! It’s been over 2 months now, and we’re just starting to see it slow down, and turn back into what our normal summers have looked like in the past. It’s a welcoming reminder that as crazy as the world’s been this year, we will eventually go back to how things once were. This difficult time won’t last forever.

Above all else, my hope for you is that no matter how hard things get in your dog grooming career (or even just in the world itself), you”ll try to always look on the bright side of things. Believe me, holding onto hope is the very thing that will always get you through the dark days. ❤️

In Hindsight…

When I think back on these past several months, it was definitely the not knowing that scared me the most. But once we got back to work, and I saw just how awesome our clients were to us, all that worry was gone.

Yeah, there have been a few bumps in the road along the way. I’ve had a few tired days. Ultimately, though, when I see all those clients going home happy, their pup freshly groomed in their arms… That’s always enough to put a smile on my face!

Why not maximize your time at home right now by earning your certification and kick-starting your OWN dog grooming career? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and be ready to work in as little as 3-6 months!

Dog Grooming Training: The Importance of Prep Work Before Styling – Part 1

As part of your dog grooming training, you’ll quickly discover that the work you do before any styling is just as important as the styling itself! Most dogs that walk into your shop won’t automatically be ready for a trim. They’ll need you to do some essential prep work first.

For instance, if a pup comes to you with matted fur, you won’t be able to safely cut or style their hair until those mats are first addressed and properly dealt with!

In Part One of our two-part series, we’ll start by looking at the types of prep work you’ll most commonly perform before any styling takes place. We’ll also examine why this work is so important, and how it can increase your chances of creating a successful grooming experience for your client AND their canine companions!

What is Prep Work?

In the world of grooming, dogs will rarely come to you 100% ready to hop on the table and immediately get a fabulous haircut. In reality, you’ll often need to perform certain tasks before any clipping or styling gets done.

Some dogs may have mats in their fur. Others may have dirty paws, or extremely long nails. At the start of every groom, it’s important for you to first assess the dog and see what needs to be taken care of before you break out the clippers.

Prep work actually makes up a large part of the grooming process!

Examples of Prep Work

The prep work required will vary from job to job. It really depends on the dog and their needs. Some examples of prep work you’ll frequently need to do include:

Note: Keep in mind that many dogs won’t require a fancy trim or style. Some will only ever come to you for prep work and small touch-ups. Certain breeds, such as German Shepherds and Dalmatians, will usually only require prep work services, due to their types of fur.

How Prep Work Benefits You:

Simply put, prep work makes styling your client’s dog a LOT easier. Why make things harder for yourself when you don’t have to?

For instance, all groomers aspire to work in an efficient and timely manner. Now, I know what you’re already thinking: but isn’t prep work time-consuming?

Yes, sometimes it can be, because you’ll need to add some extra steps here and there. But putting time and effort into preparing a dog for styling will help you avoid setbacks later on.

For example, you’ll commonly need to take the time to carefully brush and bathe a dog before you can begin their haircut. That being said, brushing and bathing a dog is standard practice during many dog grooming appointments. So, you’d typically need to do these things anyway!

The thing is, it would actually prove a lot more time-consuming to struggle to clip a dog with matted, dirty fur. You’d very quickly need to do some hefty backtracking to get the job done properly.

So, approach every groom by thinking two steps ahead. Prep work allows you to preemptively handle all the parts of the styling process that could pose problems later on, if left unattended. This way, you won’t lose time later on during the groom.

How Prep Work Benefits Your Client:

Naturally, your clients’ main priorities will be the health and safety of their furry family members. They’re coming to YOU because they trust you to take good care of their dogs. This trust comes from a combination of your reputable dog grooming training and qualifications and your performance.

You’ll need to prove to clients that you’ll treat their dogs with consideration and high-quality expertise!

Any groomer who knows their stuff will understand the necessity of prep work. The more you prep a client’s dog for styling, the better the final results will be. Not to mention, you’ll be better able to guarantee the dog’s overall well-being. These are key elements to being a successful groomer and maintaining a positive reputation with your clientele!

How Prep Work Benefits the Dog:

Most importantly, prep work benefits the dog more than anyone else.

To start, prep work gives you an opportunity to examine them. Doing so may bring to light a medical condition or affliction that has previously gone unnoticed. For example, as you assess the dog, you may notice skin lesions, lumps, etc. Prep work is an excellent way to spot potentially dangerous maladies, so that you can bring them to your client’s attention.

Prep work helps you to put the dog’s safety first in many other, less extreme, ways as well. Here are some of the most common examples of why prep work is essential to the overall grooming process:

  • Brushing: Lowers the risk of hurting the dog, if their hair has mats or tangles. Trying to clip matted fur can result in cuts, nicks, or clipper burn.
  • Bathing: A dog’s fur should always be clean before clipping it. Dirty fur can lead to irritated skin, infections, etc. Not to mention, dirty hair can clog your clippers, thereby making your job more difficult!
  • Trimming the pads: This will lower the chances of the dog slipping and injuring themselves on your grooming table. Plus, it helps reduce the amount of dirt they’ll track into their owner’s home from outside. It’s a win-win!
  • Nail clipping, grinding, and filing: If a dog’s nails are too long, they can prevent him from standing properly. This can potentially cause the dog to fall on the grooming table or cause infection or breakage—both of which can be very painful. In time, extremely long nails can even cause the dog to develop bone deterioration in the feet.
  • Cleaning the ears: It’s very common for dogs to develop infections and other health concerns in their ears. All dogs must regularly get their ears cleaned. In terms of prep work, “non-shedding” dog breeds have ear hair that absolutely MUST be removed before they get bathed. Otherwise, they risk collecting dirty, tangling, and blocking the ear canal.

Want to learn more about the importance of prep work? Stay tuned for Part Two, where we’ll delve more deeply into specific steps and safety measures that are required when preparing your client’s dog for styling!

Start your dog grooming training today and get your professional career started in as little as 3-6 months! Enroll today in QC’s internationally-leading online Dog Grooming Course!

How Your Pet Grooming Certification Will Prepare You for These 3 Dog Afflictions!

There’s more to being a dog groomer than simply brushing, clipping, and washing a dog. A big part of earning your pet grooming certification will be familiarizing yourself with common dog afflictions, and how to properly handle them.

Here, we’ll take a look at 3 of the most common afflictions you may encounter when working with your canine clients. Importantly, you’ll discover just how critical your pet grooming certification will be in preparing you for ANY of these scenarios!

What is an ‘Affliction’?

An affliction is anything that can happen to a dog that results in pain and injury. As a groomer, it won’t be uncommon for you to encounter some type of ailment befalling your client’s pooch. After all, for as lovable and wonderful as they are to work with, a dog’s curiosity can tend to get them into troublesome situations!

Maybe they’re excitable, and move a little too quickly under your scissors. Perhaps the soap looks like food in their eyes, and before you can stop them, they’ve taken a big bite. No matter how well-trained and cautious a groomer may be, there will be times when accidents will happen.

There may also be times where a client brings you their dog for a groom, and you notice an already existing affliction that the owner may not have noticed.

Regardless of how it happens, what matters most is how you deal with it.

Examples of Common Dog Afflictions

The nature of your job requires the use of various different tools. Some may be sharp, others may pose the risk of falling, etc. Obviously, your pet grooming certification and expert training will adequately equip you to operate as cautiously as you can at all times.

But as we mentioned above, accidents can still happen. Here are some of the most usual mishaps that can occur within a grooming environment…

1 – Sprains and Fractures

These types of afflictions can be pretty common. This is especially the case in older, overweight, or overly energetic dogs. If you don’t take proper care when operating and/or securing equipment such as crates, leashes, and grooming loops, your client’s dog can run the risk of spraining or fracturing something.

Typical Symptoms

  • Favoring one paw (or more than one paw) over others
  • Limping
  • Pulling away, vocalizing, or showing signs of aggression when the injured area is touched

Keep in mind that if a dog is limping or favoring a paw, it may not always be a sign of a sprain or fracture. For instance, he may have a cut between his toes, or a broken nail. This is why it’s important to always inspect the suspected injured area. This way, you can best determine what the source of his discomfort truly is!

Treatment

The rule of thumb here always is: if the dog appears to be in a great deal of pain, advise your client to consult a veterinarian. In the meantime, to ease the pain and potential swelling, ice or cold packs (always wrapped in a towel) may be applied to the injured area. You can do this while the dog is in your care, and/or you can suggest that their owner do this.

Note: NEVER apply heat to a newly injured area! This can inflame the injury and possibly make things worse. If heat is to be applied, it should be done later on in the healing process.

Should your client’s dog already be showing signs of a sprain or fracture when first brought to you, ask the client how long they’ve been showing these symptoms. If it’s been more than 24 hours, it’s likely best to reschedule the grooming appointment, so that the dog can be taken to a vet immediately.

If the dog sustains the injury during their appointment with you, always ensure to communicate this openly with your client. This is something they need to know!

2 – Ingestion of Toxins

The key to a dog’s heart is often times through food – and dogs will try to eat just about anything!

As a certified pet groomer, your work space is home to toxic products like cleaning supplies, pest control supplies, etc. You may have decorated the salon with certain types of plants. Maybe you’ve been fighting a cold, and have medication nearby. You’ll also often be bringing the dog into contact with shampoos, conditioners, flea treatments, etc.

Although the products you’ll use on a dog are specifically engineered to be safe, it doesn’t mean they can safely ingest them. If a dog swallows something he shouldn’t, this can be a potentially life-threatening matter!

Typical Symptoms

  • Lethargic and/or confused behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The severity of the symptoms can depend on how toxic the substance is, and how much has been ingested. Prolonged toxin ingestion can become so severe that the dog may begin passing blood in their urine, experiencing appetite loss, developing tremors, and even having a full-blown seizure.

Treatment

Should your client ever bring in a dog displaying signs of toxin ingestion, reschedule the grooming appointment and advise them to consult a veterinarian immediately!

If the dog is in your care at the time of toxin ingestion, the first step is to remain calm. If you panic, it’ll only make the situation worse. Start by ensuring that if there’s still anything in the dog’s mouth, you remove it right away. If necessary, you can also seek out your personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and eye-wear.

Locate a phone and call a professional for medical advice. You can contact a regular vet, a 24-hour emergency number, or (if located in North America) the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) hotline.

Tell them exactly what the dog has ingested, and they will be able to advise you of next step measures. This may involve safely inducing vomiting, or bringing the dog directly to the veterinarian.

3 – Wounds and Cuts

Working with sharp objects, it’s bound to happen that once in a while, a dog may get nicked. Don’t worry, this isn’t an automatic reflection of you being a poor groomer. This happens even to the best of groomers!

After all, you’re working with a living, breathing animal. Animals can sometime react unexpectedly, which can cause an accident. As we’ve said before, it’s all about how you respond to the situation that matters most.

Typical Symptoms

  • Recoiling in pain
  • Yelping or vocalizing that something has just hurt them
  • Blood

Treatment

Wounds and cuts can range from minor to severe, depending on how deep the injury is and where it’s located. Minor wounds don’t necessarily need to be seen by a veterinarian, so long as it’s dealt with right away, doesn’t risk infection, and doesn’t impose any fatal risk to the dog.

If the wound is bleeding, tend to it in a timely manner. If the blood flow is extremely light, apply direct pressure until it stops. Styptic powder, Vaseline, or a cold compress can also be applied to the wounded area, so long as bleeding is minor. Carefully clip away any hair immediately surrounding the affliction. You can then flush it out with a saline solution, or a diluted, non-stinging antiseptic.

If the wound is more serious, the dog may need to see a vet ASAP.

Regardless of the seriousness of the affliction, always make sure to tell your client. They may need to continue certain safety measures at home, or seek further medical assistance. At the very least, NOT telling them is a guaranteed way to put your business and reputation at risk.

Remember: your number one priority is always the safety and well-being of your client’s pooch. Your client needs to know that they can trust you. This is the key to a successful grooming career!

All of the above protocols are ones you will be thoroughly taught during your dog grooming course, as you earn your pet grooming certification. As you can see, ample understanding of dog afflictions – and how to correctly treat them – are critical to a successful career as a groomer!

This, of course, is only just the tip of the iceberg. As you work your way through your grooming training, you’ll discover plenty more common afflictions, along with proper knowledge for handling them. By the time you’re reading to enter the working world, you’ll be prepared for anything that may come your way!

Want to earn a DOUBLE pet grooming certification? Enroll today in QC’s leading international Dog Grooming Course, and receive our First Aid for Groomers Course absolutely FREE!

Why “Flooding” Can Hurt Your Pet Grooming Business

Imagine: you’re locked in a room with the one thing that scares you most. Your fight-of-flight instinct has kicked in, your anxiety is through the roof, and all you naturally want is to get out of there. Except you don’t have the key for the door, and you have no way of knowing when you’ll be let out. All you can do is stay there, while that thing that terrifies you inches closer, and put up with it.

Doesn’t sound very pleasant, does it? If anything, this sounds like a total nightmare.

Believe it or not, this thought experiment forms the basic idea of what’s known as “flooding”. Flooding is a “technique” used by some to essentially try and cure a frightened dog. Notice how I put the word technique into quotations. That’s very much intentional.

As you’re about to see, respectable dog groomers (and even just people in general) consider flooding to be a legitimate training “technique” about as much as they’d consider kicking a disobedient dog to be one, too. That is to say, it’s not a proper technique at all.

In reality, flooding can be a very dangerous practice. It not only puts the dog itself at risk, it also poses a threat to other dogs nearby, other people, and even you!

So, if you’re a certified dog groomer, heed our warning. Never implement flooding as a practice within your pet grooming business. It could wind up destroying your entire reputation.

What is Flooding?

We looked at an example above, but let’s get a little more literal. Sometimes, you’re going to encounter clients who bring a difficult dog for you to groom. When I say difficult, I mean that for whatever reason, they’re not entirely willing to be there.

They may have anxiety, be frightened, or show aggression. For certain dogs, the main trigger for these negative emotions could be having clippers used on them. Maybe they weren’t desensitized to the clippers when they were a puppy. Maybe a prior incident caused an injury and they now have a phobia of the clippers.

Whatever the reason is, they’re now on edge, and their state might make it hard for you to properly groom them. So, what do you do?

The uneducated groomer might choose to enact the concept of flooding at this point. The idea behind flooding is that you take a dog who’s afraid of clippers, and literally clip them nonstop regardless of their reaction. Such a stressful situation will result in the dog’s senses becoming flooded (hence the term).

Once time has passed and nothing bad has happened, the scared dog will come to realize that the thing they fear (i.e. clippers) doesn’t actually pose them any harm. Therefore, they can relax, submit to their surroundings, and function optimally in that environment now.

This is the theory, anyway. In a perfect world, flooding might make sense. The thing is, in the REAL world, it doesn’t work like that. When a dog “submits” when being flooded, what’s actually happening is that they’ve just completely shut down. A flooded dog is incapable of learning. At best, the dog will “shut down” during that session and will have a worse reaction to the clippers on the next groom.

Unfortunately, the consequences of flooding can often be severe.

The Consequences of Flooding

Have you ever heard the saying that if you put any dog in a corner, no matter if he’s vicious or not, he’s going to bite back?

This is one of the primary concerns when it comes to flooding, but it’s far from the only danger.

Here are just some of questions you need to consider in the “scared of clippers” example above:

  • What if the scared dog acts on that fight-or-flight instinct, and lunges at you or the clippers themselves?
  • What if the dog tries to escape and ends up hanging themselves on the grooming loop?
  • What if someone tries to intervene to help you, only to get bitten in self-defense?
  • What if the other dogs in the room get triggered by the scared dog’s outburst?
  • What if the outburst causes damage to any of your pet grooming business’s equipment?
  • What if the scared dog’s coping mechanism to this unwanted situation is even more psychologically damaging for them?
  • Could it lead to prolonged health problems for that dog, such as heightened, chronic anxiety?

These are all viable concerns when it comes to the idea of flooding. They’ve happened before, and they’ll happen again. As this is the industry you’ve chosen to devote your career to, we’re willing to bet that the LAST thing you want is for any of your client’s dogs to be hurt, be it physically or even psychologically.

Flooding poses this risk.

Not to mention that if ANY of these outcomes were to come to fruition, this can ruin your pet grooming business and professional reputation beyond repair.

For starters, any injuries as a result of your decision to implement flooding could result in a potential lawsuit. Beyond that, though, you’re demonstrating a lack of education. You’d be essentially showing your clients that you don’t properly understand dog behavior, nor do you know the proper ways to address it.

Worse yet, they’d walk away with the belief that they can’t trust you to put their dog’s safety and needs first. This is the kind of impression that’s likely to spread like wildfire – and it makes sense. After all, would YOU want to put the life of your furry best friend in the hands of someone who’s proven themselves capable of such negligence?

Alternate Approaches

Let’s circle back to the original issue. If your client brings in a dog who’s triggered by the clippers and their emotional state makes grooming impossible, something will still need to be done. If not flooding, then what?

Luckily, there are plenty of other options available to you. For starters, you can rely on your dog behavior and temperament training that your accredited dog grooming course would have provided you. By being able to spot the right signs and signals, you can act immediately and find healthy ways to help defuse any negative situations before they even occur.

Maybe it’s a matter of getting the dog used to the presence of clippers slowly over several visits.  Maybe it’s a matter of taking more time with this specific dog, and stopping any time it starts to show signs of stress.  Maybe if he’s food motivated, you can gently coax him to accept the clippers while licking peanut butter off a spoon.

You can also communicate the dog’s needs with your client. As the industry expert, you can provide helpful guidance, tips, and general advice for things they can look further into once back at home. For instance, you can stress the importance and effectiveness of positive reinforcement training.

Depending on the severity of the dog’s trauma and/or behavior, rehabilitation under the guidance of trained professionals may be a possible recommendation, too. Most clients will be thrilled for this guidance and will happily participate in helping you help their dog!

These are all just examples, of course. The right approach will depend on the dog and their owner. The longer you’re around the dog, the better your understanding of him will be. You may not know the right course of action the first moment you meet him, but you’ll likely be much more informed by the end of the very first grooming session!

At the end of the day, always do your best to operate your pet grooming business with your client and their dog at the forefront of your mind. The safety of the pup is your most important priority. So long as you always act in a way that honors this, you – and your pet grooming business – will experience many successful years, with a long and happy list of clients!

Haven’t earned your dog groomer certification yet? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and be ready to work in as little as 3-6 months!

Dog Grooming Classes Will Help You Avoid These 4 Rookie Mistakes!

Every serious profession has a learning curve. It’s inevitable that you’re going to make mistakes as you’re launching your dog grooming business. But when you’re working in the service industry, there are plenty of mistakes that could ruin your career.

Doubly so when you’re also working on living creatures.

Just to be clear: everyone makes mistakes. No one is going to expect you to be perfect all the time, and never mess up. Mistakes are healthy, as they help teach you to grow! However, there are many mistakes that can be avoided through proper training and education.

So, while you’re almost certainly going to have a few hiccups here and there at the start your career, you can at least avoid career-ruining mistakes by taking an accredited grooming course.

Here are some examples of rookie mistakes you’ll learn to avoid during your dog grooming classes…

1: Endangering a Dog’s Health

It shouldn’t come as a shocker that an inexperienced and uneducated dog groomer will be way more likely to commit mistakes that can seriously endanger a dog’s health. Your grooming course will spend its entire curriculum teaching you how to groom dogs safely.

Your training will include:

  • How to choose the proper grooming tools and products for a dog’s grooming needs
  • Proper techniques so that you use your tools and products safely
  • How to identify different medical conditions that might affect how you groom the dog
  • How to restrain a dog properly and safely during a groom to prevent injuries
  • Canine behavior training, so that you can identify the first signs of stress in your furry client
  • First Aid techniques that will prepare you to appropriately deal with any medical conditions that arise during the groom
  • How to safely manage having multiple dogs/animals in the same grooming environment
  • And much more!

There’s way more to grooming a dog than just grabbing a pair of shears and going to town. Throughout each step of the process, there’s a right way and a wrong way to work on the dog.

The wrong way can lead to a disaster. Sadly, this is one of the biggest and most common rookie mistakes when you’re uneducated.

2: Endangering your OWN Health

Dog grooming classes won’t just teach you how to look after the dog’s health and safety during a groom. Your own health and safety are just as important!

Sure, almost anyone can hold a pair of clippers in their hands. But do you know the proper way of holding those clippers, so you don’t develop wrist problems in a few years? How about how to effectively lift a dog without hurting your back?

More importantly, do you know how to handle difficult dogs so that you don’t end up with a nasty bite? We talked about behavior above, with regards to avoiding any injuries for the dog. However, understanding dog behavior is just as important when it comes to ensuring you don’t get injured yourself!

A stressed dog is a dangerous dog. When pushed too far, even the most well-behaved dog can resort to thrashing, jumping, lunging, and even biting.  Uneducated dog groomers often claim they’re experts on dog behavior, simply because they have dogs themselves.

(Or worse, because they’ve watched a few episodes of The Dog Whisperer on TV.)

These are often the same groomers who will push a dog way beyond his tolerance threshold, and claim to be “teaching” the dog in the process. It’s not uncommon for these people to proudly (and foolishly) wear their bite scars like badges of honor.

When you take a dog grooming class, you’ll learn just how wrong and dangerous this mindset is. Instead, you’ll come to understand how to identify the earliest signs of stress in a dog, so you can properly diffuse any situation. You’ll specifically learn techniques and tools you can use with the most difficult dogs.

And guess what? “Flooding” ISN’T one of those techniques!

3: Making Every Dog Look Like They’ve Been in a Fight with a Lawnmower

With a good pair of clippers and enough patience, anyone can shave a dog down to the skin. But actually grooming a dog to breed specifications, or according to what its owners want?

That takes a LOT of skill and proper technique!

Without proper education, would you even know what the standard breed cut of a Schnauzer is? How about the right technique to ensure you get an even cut on a Yorkie’s face? Would you be able to achieve a proper teddy bear cut?

It’s easier than you think to screw up and make a Golden Retriever look like he got his tail caught in a door. The reason clients bring their pups to you is because you’re supposed to be the expert who can groom their dog in a manner that they can’t do themselves.

You owe it to your clients to actually know what you’re doing.

4: Not Running Your Business

This is actually a VERY common rookie mistake in most animal-related businesses. When you’re passionate about what you do, spending time running your business can feel like you’re taking time away from doing your job.

In theory, we get it.

But in reality, you’re expected as business owner to dedicate the time and resources needed to make sure your business is actually successful. Dog grooming classes will teach you the most effective way to do this, and how you can streamline that time.

During your studies, you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s important to develop a solid business plan (and how to do it)
  • How to name your business in a way that will appeal to potential clients
  • How to set your prices so that your business is profitable, yet still competitive
  • How to market your services so you gain enough clients to stay afloat
  • When and how to effectively hire employees
  • How to grow your business by expanding your network
  • How to set up a proper professional grooming salon
  • Why you should have a website and maintain it, even if you have a solid client base
  • How to deal with difficult clients, without compromising your reputation
  • How to increase your standing in the industry, allowing you to charge more for your services
  • And more.

Ultimately, this is the difference between being a part-time dog groomer out of your home, and actually building a successful career. Assuming that you want a career where you work full-time, make a good salary, and can take a vacation once in a while, then you need to know how to run an actual business!

There are tons of mistakes dog grooming rookies can make when first starting out. By getting educated before you launch your career, you’ll at least be able to avoid making the biggest and costliest ones.

Instead, the only mistakes you make will be the ones allowing you to grow and truly hone your craft!

Ready to start your dog grooming classes? Enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course today, and be certified in as little as 3-6 months!

Why First Aid Training is Essential in Dog Grooming Courses

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she discusses the importance of First Aid training for groomers, and how it’s helped her as a grooming salon manager!

When it comes to grooming dogs, there is so much more you need to know then simply bathing, brushing, clipping, etc. It’s just as important that you properly understand the dog’s health, and that you know how to spot the signs that indicate they might be at risk.

There are a lot of things that could go wrong, especially when grooming certain types of dogs. Please know, I’m not writing this to scare anyone! Rather, the point I wish to make is that it’s always beneficial to have First Aid training as a certified groomer.

The single best way to acquire this knowledge is through your dog grooming courses! As a graduate of QC’s First Aid for Groomers Course, I’m going to share a little bit about what you’ll learn in this program. I’ll also touch on some of the things I took away from it, and have since applied in real-world situations, as part of my daily job in a grooming salon.

What I Learned from QC Pet Studies’ First Aid Course

As some of you may know, when you sign up for the QC’s Dog Grooming Course, you’re also provided with the First Aid for Groomers Course at no charge! Now, you’re probably thinking: how am I supposed to learn First Aid on a dog through an ONLINE course?

I mean, yeah, I thought the same thing. This is an understandable question to have. But the videos and course texts you receive demonstrate the theories, techniques, and practices in an incredibly thorough way. So long as you pay proper attention to your studies, there is no doubt that you will learn everything you need to know!

Above all else, what I took away from my First Aid training was that there are many things that can potentially go wrong. This is particularly the case when grooming certain dogs. However, the majority of these risks can be avoided, if you know how to read the dog’s behavior and body language.

If a dog is in distress of any kind, he’ll exhibit signs that indicate this. Trust me, once you know what to look out for, it won’t be hard to detect when something bad might be about to happen. This way, you can react accordingly and minimize the chance for there to be negative consequences.

For example: if a dog were to about to experience a seizure, and you had NO idea it was about to happen, the situation could easily become life-or-death for that dog. On the other hand, if you’ve taken dog grooming courses and First Aid training, you’ll be able to anticipate the situation and handle it in a way that keeps your furry client safe!

In the 2 years that I’ve been grooming professionally, I have only ever seen 1 dog seize on the table. In that case, it took place when we were using the high velocity dryer. A lot of dogs will undergo high stress when this dryer is being used – so this is one step in the grooming process that you should be on HIGH alert for.

In my experience, I’ve also noticed that another potentially dangerous factor to be mindful about is accidentally cutting or scratching the dog with your tools. Similarly, you need to pay attention and make sure they don’t become overheated and/or dehydrated.

Your First Aid training (and dog grooming courses in general) will guide you through proper grooming techniques and etiquette. This way, you’ll lower your chances of accidentally injuring the dog, and will know what body language to look out for in the event that they experience distress.

Remember: once your client’s dog is in your care, everything that happens to him is YOUR responsibility! Knowing First Aid can really help in difficult situations.

Applying Your Training to a Real-World Environment

Whenever a dog first comes to see me, I will inspect him and gather as much information as I can. My goal is to figure out:

  • What his ‘normal’ disposition/behavior is
  • If he is in good health and in good condition

You’ll also need to know if he has any underlying conditions, health problems, or injuries. The best way to obtain this information is by asking the owner directly, before the appointment begins. If something happens to occur while grooming the dog, and he incurs an injury of any kind that wasn’t there before (e.g. a nick, a rash, etc.), ensure to let the owner know as soon as they arrive to pick up their pup.

If you come across anything worrisome or potentially problematic, let them know of this, too. Even if it’s not that big of a deal presently, it could be something that grows worse if left unattended.

At the end of the day, every single client wants to make sure that their dog is in good hands. Being thorough, mindful, and honest is a guaranteed way to let them know they are!

A lot of times, people go into dog grooming not really knowing what to actually expect. Your dog grooming courses and First Aid training will help prepare you. They’ll help you come to find that some dogs have bad skin and fur; others have infected ears or mouths. Every dog is different – I can’t stress this enough!

You will always use what you learn in a First Aid Course, even if you don’t know it. I’m always checking the dog’s gums to make sure they’re breathing well, or giving them water if they’re panting. If a dog seems super stressed out, I’ll pause the groom and give him a break. After a while, these little habits will become as second-nature to you as breathing.

We all want what’s best for the dogs we are handling! Not to mention that if this is truly your passion, you’ll forever be wanting to learn more when it comes to dog grooming – and even just dogs in general!

Personally, I love learning about dogs that have skin issues. I don’t know why this fascinates me, but if I see a dog with itchy or flaky skin, I always become overwhelmed with the desire to treat it with a good bath and moisturizing shampoo.

The fact that I can rely on the information I gathered from my dog grooming courses and First Aid training, and apply it to my career on a regular basis, is incredibly rewarding to me!

Other Valuable Information You’ll Learn

Another critical thing you’ll learn in your First Aid training is how to make an emergency plan. You’ll learn to gather and utilize important network contacts. Vets and animal poison control are two resources you absolutely MUST have on-hand at all times. Make sure you have this information in a safe spot, where everyone working there can access it with ease.

You’ll also become an expert at checking a dog’s vitals. This includes:

  • Checking to see if the gums are healthy
  • Making sure his capillary refills are normal
  • Keeping track of his respiratory rate
  • Ensuring he has a healthy pulse
  • Noting the size/state of his pupils
  • And much more!

These are all fantastic things to know! In an industry such as this one, it’s the little things – and the smallest efforts you make – that go a long way and leave a lasting impression on your clients.

It’s definitely worth it to learn about the health of dogs, and get the most out of your dog grooming courses. I hope that you continue learning things as time goes on, and never fail to be amazed at the new information always around every corner. I truly believe that there is ALWAYS something new to learn in this career!

Happy grooming! 😊

Ready to build off your dog grooming courses and earn your First Aid training? Enroll today in QC’s leading online First Aid for Groomers Course!

6 Tips for Supporting Your Mental Health During COVID-19

We’ve all been affected by the current pandemic in one way or another. If you’re the owner of a dog grooming business, you’ve likely had to shut down while social distancing is in effect. Perhaps you’re a front-line employee, and still required to show up to work. Or maybe you’re a dog grooming student at an online school, but being stuck indoors all day is starting to bring you down.

Everyone has a different story, but we’re all experiencing stress. This is definitely a weird time we’re living in! As days have turned to weeks, people are beginning to grow tired of all the self-isolation. Even the most introverted of us are starting to feel a little stagnant and lonely.

Such abnormal circumstances can spell disaster for our mental health. In fact, Morneau Shepell’s most recent Mental Health Index revealed that mental health has dropped by 16% since the COVID-19 crisis first started.

Mental health is not always talked about, but it should be. At the very least, because it’s just as important as your physical health! Things are difficult enough right now; we don’t need them to be any harder on us.

It’s critical that we prioritize our well-being, and ensure to make an effort to do things during our days that will bring us joy.

So, here are some tips that you can use to your advantage. While we’re by no means medical expert, we’re hopeful that at least one of these suggestions will resonate with you, and bring a little sunshine to your day!

1. Get some sunshine

This can be as effortless as sitting out in the backyard, or on your balcony, for as little as 20 minutes a day. If it’s especially nice and sunny outside, it’ll be an extra welcomed switch from being cooped up inside.

Trust us, your body and mind will thank you!

Fresh air is scientifically proven to be good for you, after all. Given that so many of us are going a little stir crazy indoors lately, it provides us with a much-needed change of scenery. On top of that, getting outside offers these additional perks:

  • It decreases stress
  • Breathing in cleaner oxygen increases the amount of serotonin (a.k.a. the happy hormone) in your brain
  • It’ll give you your daily source of Vitamin D
  • And so much more!

And if you happen to have a dog? Bring him outside with you! Fresh air is just as beneficial for Rover as it is for you! Plus, you’ll both enjoy each other’s company.

2. Go for a walk

Taking a walk is a good idea, no matter what. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been sitting cross-legged at home so much these days that my knees are almost constantly aching now.

We need to make it a habit to get out and stretch our muscles – especially now that the weather is getting so nice. Sitting around all the time is bad for our muscles, our joints, and our mindset.

That being said, if you also have a dog, this is when the idea goes from good to great. We all know how much dogs already love their walks. But going for a walk with YOU? That’s probably his favorite thing ever!

Not only does this tip tie in with getting fresh air, it also gives you – and your dog – daily exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything overly strenuous, either. Even a 15-to-20-minute walk around your neighborhood every day will result in amazing benefits for both your body and overall mental health.

Plus, it’ll do the same for your dog. He gets bored being stuck in the house all day, too!

Important note: If you’re in a hard-hit area, you might be under a strict stay-at-home order that prohibits going outside for any non-essential reason. If that’s the case where you live, please follow those directives. As much as they suck, they’re put in place to help save your life. Don’t be like that one guy in Spain who took a TOY dog out for a ‘walk’ and wound up getting arrested!

3. Keep in touch with loved ones

Your family and friends are likely in the same boat as you, and could use some company. Try to be in contact with at least one person a day, even if it’s nothing more than a 5-minure phone call. Even better, video chatting is a wonderful way to stay in touch.

No, it won’t be as good as the real thing. But seeing other people’s faces is therapeutic in its own way, and is way better than nothing.

Regardless of your preferred method of contact, what’s important is that you do keep in touch with others. As human beings, we require some level of connection. These difficult times are already making many of us feel isolated and lonesome.

If we cut ourselves off from friends and family, it will only perpetuate those negative emotions.

4. Unplug from your electronics

Speaking of feeling isolated and lonely… Make sure to put down your phone and turn off the TV from time to time. By all means, if you need a night (or a full day, no judgement) of doing nothing more than binging Tiger King on Netflix, you do you.

But try not to make this your routine EVERY single day. Being glued to your electronics too much, for too long, is statistically shown to heighten feelings of anxiety and seclusion. In the midst of social distancing, this is the last thing we need!

Instead, try to make a conscious effort to unplug from your electronics for a period of time each day. Even if it’s as little as half an hour, it’s something!

Try to find something you can be doing during that time that will stimulate your mind, let you use your hands, etc. Read a book, do a dance, bake a cake… whatever your heart desires!

Hey, there’s no one watching. You can get as weird as you want to get.

5. Spend some quality time with your dog

One thing we can practically guarantee is that your pooch is stoked to have you home all the time! He doesn’t understand why you’re suddenly around from morning to night, and he likewise won’t comprehend why you won’t be once things eventually go back to normal.

We’re willing to bet that having him around is helping YOU get through this, too.

So, as much as the current situation does suck, you also have a rare opportunity to bond extra hard with your furry best friend. Take this time to your advantage!

Devote time each day where you can properly pay attention to your dog. Here are just a few fun things you two can do together:

In my personal opinion, there’s very little in this world better for your mental health than spending quality time with a dog!

6. Start your path to becoming a professional dog groomer

You may or may not already be a dog grooming student. If you are, one awesome way to maximize your time at home is to try devoting 1-2 hours per week on your studies.

(For reference: QC Pet Studies, as an example, many grads and students have found that this amount of time allowed them to graduate in as little as 3-6 months!)

If you’re not yet a student, why not research into this career path and see if it’s right for you? If you feel you’d enjoy being a professional dog groomer, online grooming schools can help you start working towards your goals – all from the comfort and safety of your own home!

One benefit to this is that it would you be giving yourself a positive goal to look forward to, and keep you motivated. On top of that, you’d also be arming yourself with a certification that’s GUARANTEED to impress future clients, employers, and your competition!

It’s a win-win!

Things may be a bit tough right now, but we promise you: they WILL get better! In the meantime, make sure you make time each day for yourself and your well-being. You matter, and your mental health matters. Never forget that!

Until April 30th, get $150 OFF QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course! Learn more here and enroll today!

Prepare Your Dog for Spring with These 6 Tips!

Spring is here! While many people tend to think of spring cleaning at this time of the year, another thing that’s just as important is preparing your dog for the change in weather. Chances are, in light of everything currently happening with the COVID-19 crisis, you’re spending a lot more time at home these days.

This means you have even more time with your favorite pup(s)! You can maximize this time by utilizing the following tips. That way, you and your dog will be fully prepared for the spring season ahead!

Get ready to brush… a LOT!

Most dogs are about to say goodbye to their winter coats, which means shedding time is upon us. Not only do you want to remove all this excess fur from your pooch, so that he doesn’t overheat with the rising temperatures – you also want to avoid your home turning into a hairy mess!

In general, brushing your dog on a regular basis produces positive results and plenty of health benefits! For starters, it keeps the coat smooth and shiny, and also helps stimulate your dog’s blood flow. Not to mentions, grooming a dog creates a special bonding experience between you two.

There is quite literally no downside to brushing your dog!

De-shedding him can sometimes require certain tools, such as blades and rakes. Depending on the breed, you might need to hand strip. No matter how you’re brushing and de-shedding your dog, just make sure to watch out for matts and other tangles!

Make sure you understand which tool(s) to use, and how to apply proper technique. This article is very helpful in walking you through the basics of brushing.

Make sure your yard is safe

After a long and arduous winter, it’s also important to check that your backyard is completely safe for your pooch to go play in. For instance, you’ll want to make sure that there are no holes in your fence that he can potentially escape from.

You should also check around the grass for any unexpected holes. The last thing you want is for your dog to accidentally twist anything and/or injure its leg.

If plants have a tendency to grow in your backyard, or you have a green thumb, there are also specific types of greenery that you absolutely need to avoid. Certain plants are toxic to dogs, such as:

  • Lilies
  • Tulips
  • Ivy
  • Daffodils
  • And more!

The same goes for specific types of herbs and vegetables. If you’re growing your own garden, things like onions, rhubarb, and tomatoes either need to be sealed off from your dog, or avoided altogether.

For a more comprehensive list, here’s an article detailing 50 dangerous garden plants for dogs!

Pro tip: Should your dog manage to chew or eat any of these poisonous plants, seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Take lots of walks together!

For most dogs, a walk is one of their absolutely favorite things. Now that the weather is getting better, they should absolutely be taken outside and able to enjoy it more! Just like with humans, fresh air is extremely beneficial for a dog’s overall health.

Fresh air not only helps purify the body and boost the immune system, it also helps stimulate a healthy appetite! Not to mention, a dog’s daily walk can often be the main source of exercise.

Exercise for any pup is vital to their health. In addition to giving them a chance to stretch their legs and get the blood flowing, walking outdoors can also provide soothing relief to any nerve pain they may be experiencing.

Plus, going on a walk allows a dog to be, well, a dog. There’s a whole world out there of new and exciting smells, tastes, and sights – and your dog wants to experience them ALL.

While a walk may sometimes be the last thing you feel like doing after a long day, it can often be one of the highlights of your dog’s day.

That alone makes it more than worth it.

Note: This being said, if your dog is old, overweight, or has any sort of medical condition, make sure you keep the walks low-intensity at first. While it may be tempting during the first beautiful weekend of the season to take Santa’s Little Helper on a 5-mile hike, it could also lead to injuries if your dog is not in the proper shape. Tailor his walks to what will best suit HIS needs and capabilities.

Get ready for pest season

One downside to the arrival of nicer weather is that it also means the arrival of all those pesky bugs that disappeared during the winter. When it comes to your dog, the most common bugs to watch out for are fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

If Cujo isn’t currently up-to-date on his vaccinations, that’s a critical place to start. Beyond that, there are other preventative measures you can take. Some steps you can take include:

  • Preventative medication
    • Note: Make sure to consult your veterinarian to find out which medication would be best!
  • Bathe your dog on a regular basis
  • Clean your home often – such as by vacuuming the floors, shaking out your cushions and pillows, and washing all bedding (including your dog’s)
  • And much more!

Should your dog fall victim to a flea or tick infestation, this article has some ready good advice about how to handle it.

Schedule an appointment with the vet

It’s recommended that you take your dog to the vet at least once a year. Springtime is the perfect opportunity to do this! During this appointment, you can make sure your dog’s vaccines are all current, as well as ensure he gets a full checkup.

That being said, we also fully understand that there’s currently a pandemic going on. Some hard-hit areas may have strict stay-at-home policies. You may also not be in such a place, but simply don’t want to risk exposing yourself to any unwanted germs by going out if you don’t absolutely need to.

If so, we totally get it, and that’s okay! Should you not be able to go out right now, or don’t feel comfortable in doing so, it’s totally okay to wait until things go back to normal to take Fluffy to see his vet.

So long as he’s in good health, his legally-mandated vaccines are up-to-date, and he isn’t displaying any alarming symptoms or health concerns, this routine checkup doesn’t have to happen right now.

Don’t do a 180 on your pet

The thing about this COVID-19 crisis is that so many of us have no choice but to be at home right now. While this is a huge change for us, it’s also a big change for your dog.

He’s likely not used to having you home so much, and he can’t exactly comprehend WHY his best friend is suddenly around all the time for endless snuggles and attention.

All he knows is that he loves it.

In a dog’s world, his owner is not just his best friend – his owner is his everything. The longer this situation continues, the more your pup will get used to having you around all the time.

Of course, while this is happening, you should definitely be taking full advantage of it. Cuddle, play, and interact with your dog as much as you can. It’s good for you and him, both physically and mentally.

But with that in mind, remember the impact it can have once life inevitably returns back to normal. Because it WILL; there’s no doubt about that. When that time comes, you’ll understandably be excited to get out of the house, socialize with friends, and get back to work.

But remember: your dog won’t understand why just as suddenly, you went from always being there, to not being home for long periods at a time.

While this shouldn’t necessarily stop you from living your life, be mindful of the fact that your abrupt absence can also have its own affect on your dog’s mental health.

So, when the day arrives that it’s safe to go back outside, and the world goes back to normal, just make sure you don’t do a complete 180 on your pooch. Even if it requires a little bit of effort, always ensure to make time for him.

Even just one minute with you is his favorite time in the world.

Can you think of other helpful ways to help prepare your dog for spring? Let us know in the comments!

Want to become an expert at grooming a dog? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and turn it into a professional career!

How to Complete your Online Dog Grooming Classes Safely from Home

To say the world is a little loopy these days is an understatement. It’s difficult to imagine that we’ve all been socially distancing for only a few weeks. It feels like we’ve been at this for six months already!

But while staying at home isn’t fun for most, it’s also the least we can do to help our healthcare workers fight this pandemic. Last week, we discussed how you can maximize your time at home by taking dog grooming classes to get your professional certification.

Today, we’re going to discuss how you can complete your online dog grooming courses safely from the comfort of your own home.

Studying at home

For the theoretical portion of your online grooming classes, safely studying from home is very simple:

  • Read your course books
  • Watch instructional videos
  • Take lots of notes
  • Keep your workspace tidy

In the best interest of keeping things sanitary, always remember to regularly clean commonly-used surfaces and objects. This would include keyboards, remote controls, pens, desks, etc.

Completing your Assignments

This is where things can get a little tricky. There are different types of assignments in your dog grooming classes. Let’s go over each one individually.

1 – Quizzes and written assignments

These types of assignments are more common in the early units of your dog grooming classes. This is where you’ll learn the theoretical parts of dog grooming.

These assignments can be done from your home, using the same tools and safety practices you use when studying.

2 – Case Studies

Case-study assignments are mostly used in the business section of the course. For these, you’ll need to do industry research.

Right now, it’s best to ONLY conduct this research online! Avoid consulting with other professionals or businesses in-person. Yes, some of your research might be more difficult, if many businesses are closed.

But this could also mean the business owners are bored at home, too! If there’s someone you want to consult for your schoolwork, try to reach out on social media. That being said, if you do this, be ready to take no for an answer.

3 – Practical Assignments

Your practical grooming assignments are the ones where you’ll actually work on your skills. These assignments include practicing different individual skills, and completing various elements of the grooming process. You’ll need to record these on video, so your tutor can review your technique and provide helpful feedback.

Here are some ways to safely complete these assignments:

  • Don’t ask someone else to film your work. Use a tripod or stable surface to secure your camera, and film your work yourself if you can.
  • If you do need another person to help you, remember to stay at least six feet apart. You may want to wear protective equipment as well.
  • If the assignment asks you to use a dog, try to use your own dog as much as you can. Many assignments don’t require a specific breed.
  • Use your at-home grooming equipment. Don’t go out to self-grooming stations or salons if you’re under a stay-at-home order/quarantine.

Finding dogs

There WILL be some assignments where you’ll be required to groom a specific breed or type of dog. Normally, it would be easy enough to use a friend’s dog, or go to a local rescue and give one of their fosters a bit of a pampering session.

These days, though, that can be risky.

The good news is, dogs can’t carry the coronavirus. The bad news is that if you borrow a dog, you’re probably going to have to be in contact with other humans who can spread the virus.

But there are still ways you can keep everyone safe! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Don’t borrow dogs from anyone who’s sick. The same goes for anyone who’s recently been exposed to someone who’s sick.
  • Don’t borrow dogs if you’re sick, or if you’ve recently been exposed to someone who is sick.
  • Try to find owners who will allow you to take their dog to your home to do the groom. Don’t groom dogs in other people’s homes. Likewise, don’t allow the dog’s owner to linger in your home while you’re working.
  • Try to avoid travelling long distances. Borrowing a dog from down the street is safer than travelling across the city for a dog.
  • When picking up or dropping off a dog, see if you can make the exchange outside. This is safer than going into someone’s house, or inviting someone into your home.
  • If possible, bring a leash from your house. This way, you don’t have to handle a leash that’s been recently touched by someone else.
  • Wash your hands before picking up the dog, and again after you’ve dropped them off.

Taking Care of Yourself

This is a great time to focus on your future career goals! With proper planning and precautions, you can safely complete your dog groomer classes from home. When this is all behind us, you’ll be ready to launch a new business.

That said, remember that at the end of the day, NOTHING is more important than your health.

Things are changing quickly, and we all need to adapt every day. If you don’t feel safe working on strangers’ dogs, it’s perfectly okay to take a break from that part of your studies. Focus on your own dog, or spend your time practicing your techniques in other creative ways.

Keep in mind that your mental health is just as important! It’s okay not to be okay these days. For some people, taking classes is a great way to focus on something positive during these uncertain times.

But for others, an online course is just another source of stress. If you’re in this second group, it’s okay to take a break and focus on your own wellbeing.

We’re all rooting for you!

Haven’t enrolled in your dog grooming classes yet, but interested in getting started today? Check out QC’s leading Dog Grooming Course, and get certified in as little as 3-6 months!

How to Prevent These 5 Dog Health Hazards at Your Dog Grooming Business

Recently, we took a look at some of the most common occupational health hazards that a dog groomer faces on the job. Today, we’re going to look at the other end of this spectrum: the common health hazards posed to the dogs themselves when getting groomed.

If you’re looking to start a dog grooming business or join a salon, this will be worth the read. By knowing the types of risks dogs face when in your care, you can help better ensure their overall safety.

1. Clippers, burns, and other nicks

This is applicable in all cases when using clippers, but especially when the dog has really matted fur. If matted hair sits close to the skin, the chances of accidentally nicking Fluffy by getting too close with the clippers are higher.

When a dog is clipped a little too close to his skin, it can lead to irritation and sensitivity. Certain areas on dogs, such as their hind quarters, are more sensitive than others. Should Cujo be get razor rash, nicked, or cut in these sensitive areas, he’ll likely experience an uncomfortable itchiness afterwards.

Even if the initial damage is small, a dog can unintentionally make it worse in the aftermath if he starts scratching or licking at it!

How to prevent this:

Of course, you should never clip your client’s pooch with haste or lack of training. Take the proper time, care, and execute your tools with precision. Know your different blades. Understand where and when to use each one.

If the dog has mats that are closer to the skin, use a comb and try to gently draw them further away before you do any clipping. If this proves impossible, it may be worth it to shave the dog altogether.

Having an emergency First Aid kit on-hand is recommended, should a more serious injury accidentally occur. At the very least, you should have the following items at your disposal:

  • Peroxide
  • Gauze
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Lidocaine spray

Importantly, ensure that you inform your client of any and all injuries when they arrive to pick up their pup. Don’t try and hide it from them. If the injury were ever to get worse or become infected and the client wasn’t made aware of the situation, you could have a lawsuit on your hands!

2. Soap in the eye

Soap in a dog’s eyes can lead to disaster! Breeds with bulging eyes – such as Pugs and Pekingese – are especially susceptible to this risk. When soap gets into a dog’s eyes, some of the consequences can include:

  • Corneal abrasions
  • Ulcerations
  • Burns
  • And more!

On top of this, when a dog’s eyes get irritated, he may be inclined to try and scratch at it, in an effort to relieve the itch. Unfortunately, this can often make things worse and lead to infection (both bacterial and fungal).

How to prevent this:

For starters, ALWAYS make sure that all products you use, such as shampoo, are specifically made for dogs. Be extra careful when using any product on a dog’s face – and especially around his eyes! If anything gets into his eyes, immediately rinse the area with eyewash for approximately 10 minutes.

Make sure to tell the owner right away. Should the situation warrant a trip to the vet, eye drops may need to be prescribed. So again, it’s important that your client know what happened.

3. Cutting the quick

The quick of a dog’s nail is the core of the nail bed. It’s also a blood vessel and contains nerves. Cutting it will not only make a bloody mess, it’ll be very painful for the dog. In worst-case scenarios, it can lead to infection. No one with a heart wants any of this – much less a professional groomer!

How to prevent this:

First, stay calm. Your client’s dog is probably now a bit panicked as it is; they don’t also need to feel your anxious energy, too. That’s only going to make things worse. Even if you’re freaking out on the inside, try to remember to take a breath and maintain your composure. You can fix this!

The quickest way to stop the bleeding is to use styptic powder. As a professional dog groomer, this is a product you absolutely NEED! It’s an antihemorrhagic agent that contracts the blood vessel and helps the blood to clot.

In the event that you accidentally cut the dog’s quick, styptic powder will staunch the blood flow. It’ll also help reduce the likelihood of infection and provide some immediate pain relief for the pooch. You can find more thorough instructions for applying styptic powder to a dog’s nails here.

As with the previous risks noted already, we can’t stress enough how important it is to notify your client of this injury. It doesn’t matter how minor it may be, they still need to know!

4. Swimmer’s ear

Certain dog breeds have floppy ears. Beagles, Poodles, English Cocker Spaniels, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, and Basset hounds are just some examples. Dogs with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections.

These ear infections are similar to the ‘swimmer’s ear’ (medically known as Otitis Externa) that people can get. The symptoms are most commonly:

  • Pain (which can be anywhere from mild to severe)
  • Difficulty hearing properly
  • Itchiness and overall irritability
  • Pus or fluid leaking from the ear canal

If you’ve ever had an ear infection, you know how debilitating it can be. Imagine how that would feel to a dog!

How to prevent this:

Especially when dealing with floppy-eared dogs, it’s important that you don’t get water in the ears when bathing them. As a precaution, you can place large cotton balls in Buddy’s ears before his bath. Just make sure they’re not too small, and definitely don’t shove them deeply into the ear canal. Once the bathing process is over, remove them immediately.

It also wouldn’t hurt to give the dog’s ears a once-over after his bath, too. This way, you can make sure they’re completely dry. If any water happened to get into his ears, you’ll be able to deal with it right away.

For clients with floppy-eared canines, it would be worth it to educate them on the common signs and symptoms of doggy swimmer’s ear. That way, they can be on the look out after every groom – just to be safe! Some dead giveaways that a dog may have ear irritability are:

  • Excessively scratching/pawing at his ears
  • Redness in the ear canal
  • Pain when his ears are touched
  • Shaking his head a lot

5. Self-hanging

Arguably, the biggest risk to a dog’s health at the groomers is accidentally injuring themselves on the grooming loop. Sometimes, extreme accidents can happen – some of which can be severely dangerous or even fatal. Occasionally, you’ll encounter dogs that either have lots of energy or are resistant to you.

Whatever his reasons may be, it can result in him trying to jump off the table. Doing so while his head is still in the collar can result in self-hanging, if not intervened in time.

We know, none of us want to think of this scenario. But as a professional groomer, you need to be fully aware that although infrequent, it IS a possibility.

How to prevent this:

Always keep an eye on your client’s dog and always stay within arm’s reach of the dog. Never ever leave a dog unattended while tethered on a grooming table, even for a second.

If the dog is highly stressed and shows signs of trying to get off the grooming table, focus first on easing his anxiety and calming him down. Often, just putting a soothing hand on the dog’s body can reduce his panic. If need be, you may require a second groomer to help with the job.

If you’re a freelance groomer without a team, recognize when a job may be too much for one person to handle. While we understand that you likely don’t want to turn down work, it may be in the best interest of both the dog and your business.

The last thing you want to do is bite off more than you can chew (excuse the pun), attempt a job that absolutely can’t be done alone, and then potentially injure your client’s pup.

Not only would the dog’s safety be in jeopardy, but your reputation could be, too. While you can learn how to take on many jobs, you also need to know your limits. Know when to refuse service.

Remember: even if your client is unhappy with your decision, they’d be devastated if something bad happened to their dog.  

Ultimately, the greatest way to know how to properly handle and groom dogs is by taking actual dog grooming classes and learning from trained experts. While being aware of all of the above safety risks is critical, you first need to know the foundation!

If your goal is to start a dog grooming business or join a salon, getting the proper education, training, and certification are the single best ways to ensure ALL dogs will be safe in your care!

Become a certified dog groomer today! Enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming Course, and get our First Aid for Groomers Course absolutely FREE!