Salon safety is vital to both pet groomers and their beloved clients. As a pet grooming salon owner, you are responsible for preventing accidents, injuries, and health issues. Follow these safe salon practices to ensure staff and pet safety.
Keeping Pets Safe
Pet grooming accidents can happen in a split second to even the most experienced pet groomers. Sometimes they are unavoidable, but there are several precautions you can take to prevent incidents in a profession that comes with several challenges.
Pets are a delight, but not always. As a pet groomer, you are probably used to dealing with those pets who are either aggressive, frightened, or uncooperative. Add to this the various potentially dangerous objects you use to groom the pets; you need to be extra cautious.
Understand the dangers
The dangers lie everywhere when you are grooming pets, even if you work from a mobile unit. Grooming tables, dryers, grooming loops, trimmers, water, sharp objects, and aggressive behaviors have all contributed to well-documented incidents in the past. Sometimes these incidents just cause minor damages or injuries, but there have been several cases where pets have died, either from heat exhaustion or an attack by an aggressive pet. According to PETA, some cases are preventable by employing professionally qualified groomers, while others are caused by pure negligence.
Even though rare, any incident at your salon won’t reflect well on your business. Ensure the necessary precautions are taken to maintain a safe environment and prevent injuries.
Common Pet Grooming Injuries
- Pets with extremely matted coats need care when clipping since it is easy to nick them or cut their skin. Combing the mat away before clipping is a safer practice, but if not possible, consider shaving as the safest option.
- Certain dog breeds cannot tolerate excessive heat and can easily suffer from heat exhaustion at the salon. However, care must always be taken with all dog breeds when using heat dryers, and if you run a dog collection service, take care on hot days.
- Falls from tables or baths can cause serious injuries. Groom restraints prevent this problem and keep you safe from a dog prone to nervous nipping. All dogs need careful handling, but always take extra care when grooming puppies, overweight pets, and older dogs.
- Fighting among pets, particularly dogs, is not uncommon, so have cages to keep them apart unless a client requests that two dogs are not separated when grooming. A good plan is to manage your appointment schedule correctly to avoid overcrowding.
- Avoid keeping toxic plants and cleaning products in places where pets can access them.
- Keep your waiting cages safe by checking for sharp edges, choking hazards, peeling paint, etc.
- When trimming pet nails, always make sure that you don’t cut the quick, which causes bleeding. If this happens, staunch the bleeding with the correct product.
- Clipper burns are pretty common, and they cause an uncomfortable itch, further irritations, and infection if not treated promptly. Clipper burns can be avoided by ensuring the clipper is well-lubricated, does not get too hot, never goes over an area repeatedly, using a longer blade, and being careful with sensitive areas. If you suspect a clipper burn, tell the pet owner about it and advise them on what product to use to soothe the burn at home.
- Blood blisters or hematomas are common injuries in dogs after shaving badly matted ears. The dog can’t resist shaking its head afterward, but the quick return of the blood supply to the ear causes the blister at the bottom of the lobe. A hoodie can prevent this type of injury.
Never omit to point out injuries to pet owners. It is a good policy to offer to pay for a vet visit or book a free grooming session as an apology.
Waivers and Firing Pet Clients
Before accepting a pet for grooming, the owner should tell you about any specific health problems, anxieties, and potential behavioral issues their pets have. Include all the known issues in a waiver like allergies, seizures, ACL tears, mobility issues, back problems, skin conditions, heart trouble, etc. Always confirm any issues again when pets are brought for their appointments. Include a matted dog release form for severely matted dogs. You don’t want an angry client because you needed to shave more of the dog’s coat off than they expected.
Finally, pets that are out of control and dangerous can place you, your employees, and other pets in danger. It is within your rights to tell their owner you cannot accept them at your pet grooming salon anymore.
Your Personal Safety As A Pet Groomer
Pet grooming is a highly physical job with a huge responsibility. You and your pet grooming colleagues need a safe environment to work in, while also ensuring your pet customers are safe.
Handling pets is demanding and dangerous, so use the right equipment to ensure maximum safety for everyone.
Wet floors are a massive danger in salons; to prevent slips and falls, dry them immediately. The same applies to pet accidents in all areas. Always keep your doggy clients on a leash when taking them through your salon to prevent any fights, and keep them separated when they await their turn. Keeping dogs calm creates a safer environment for everyone.
Wearing the Right Gear
Wearing the right clothes and footwear can contribute to your comfort and protection. Clothing should be water-resistant, easy to clean, and fast-drying. Suitable shoes are non-slip and reinforced to protect you from heavy or sharp falling objects.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) that every pet groomer should wear to protect themselves from common ailments and injuries include gloves, masks, eye coverings, and ear defenders.
Common Pet Groomer Injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, sore joints, and arthritis can’t be avoided because many people suffer from these as they age, but using lighter equipment, wearing wrist supports, and taking omega-3 supplements may help minimize these conditions.
- Problems with the back and neck are also common among groomers. Counter these by using tables and baths at a height that supports your posture.
- Shoulder, hip, and knee problems are caused mainly by bad posture and uneven weight distribution. The best way to counter these problems is by maintaining the correct posture when working, using tables with height adjustment, and lifting pets correctly.
Besides being physically fit and taking as many precautions as possible, it is crucial to prevent yourself from burning out and overexerting yourself by taking on too many clients. Take time to recover if you have a recurring injury.
Dealing With Accidents
Besides having liability insurance with good coverage, it is also vital to keep a first aid kit for both human and pet clients to treat injuries. Include band-aids, gauze, antibiotic cream, and peroxide in the first aid kit.
The pet first aid kit should also include muzzles, vet wrap, Rubber gloves, and more. For a full list visit Groomer to Groomer.
Keeping Your Salon Safe
A safe salon is the best way to ensure loyal return clients that spread the good word about you to others.
Choose Employees Carefully
Hiring the right staff that loves pets and understands all the rules about pet and salon safety contributes to a safe environment for everyone at your salon. People with certification and formal training are always preferable, but the top-most requirement is experience and love for animals, ensuring you maintain a safe salon environment.
Pet Groomer Salon Hygiene
Disinfecting and cleaning all surfaces between pet grooming sessions keeps everyone in your salon safe. Workstations, baths, holding cages, tools, and equipment are only perfectly clean if you use the cleaning products according to the manufacturers’ instructions. Also, hot water is not enough to clean these; a disinfectant solution is essential.
Clear any spills, hair and nail clippings immediately from floors to avoid slips and falls in your salon.
Maintain the Equipment
Pet grooming equipment is primarily electrical, making your life easier. However, all equipment needs regular servicing and PAT testing. Always have frayed wires replaced immediately and ensure all equipment is safely and correctly stored when not in use, preventing accidents and damage. Dull instruments may lead to an accident, always keep your cutting tools sharpened.
Pet Grooming Products
Ensure that the pet grooming products you use are tested and safe to use on pets. Remember, these products also have a shelf life, so check how long you can store the products before opening and once opened. The shelf-life of pet grooming products shouldn’t be a problem if you have a busy salon but try not to overstock products if not necessary. Finally, always make certain shampoos and conditioners are sealed adequately between uses to prevent bacterial contamination that can cause infections and irritations to pets.
Your customers are both the pet owners and their beloved pets they entrust to you for their grooming. Make sure you offer them a safe, clean, and friendly environment by maintaining all the safety practices mentioned above. The safer your salon is for them, the safer it is for you. Don’t forget to protect your business with the right insurance policy and correctly worded waiver forms – because even if they aren’t always your fault, accidents can happen.
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