There has been such a debate in the groomer industry over when it is safe to start grooming again. While all states have different laws, we all know that groomers areessential and many of you have been on the forefronts of making sure that the government is aware of this (It's a "medical shave down", Karen!). Of course, please listen to the guidelines put forth by your state. If they have declared it safe to open up your shop, just follow the proper techniques and guidelines for sanitizing and social distancing. We have also created a Safety Essentials cate gory on our website for easy access to any items you might need and posted a video on how to safely re-open your shop here.
Unfortunately, face coverings are about to become a part of normal life. However, this is good news for groomers! It should always be best practice that we wear face masks when grooming. The hair, dander, and nail particles can settle in our lungs and provide lung issues. Bleck! When you go to get your nails done, doesn’t the nail tech wear a face mask? Of course! They don’t want bacteria or your nail dust to end up in their lungs! And who knows what sinister things you could inhale from being near a dog. We know we sound like we are on our soap box, but this is truly important!
We have a variety of face masks that we carry but if they are all out of stock, a bandanna is a great option. Check out this video where we show you how to make a face mask from a bandanna and two hair ties or two rubber bands. For extra peace of mind, you could put some coffee filters in your bandanna face mask to decrease any micro particles entering.
Some shops are also requiring that their customers also wear face coverings when they open. We have seen this all across the country, including at Costco. We are also requiring at Ryan’s Pet Supplies that customers wear face coverings when entering our warehouse once it is open again. This is in order to protect everyone, including our employees AND our customers.
Many shops are allowing a limited number of people in their shops at a time. Please follow the CDC guidelines when it comes to social distancing. You can mark six-foot spots in your shop where people can wait. Schedule your appointments or specifically pickups (LOL we know, impossible right?) further apart so clients don’t overlap as much. We have even seen set ups with double gates (like at dog parks) where customers can enter, take the collar and leash off their dog, and then the groomer can come get them with limited contact to the customer which leads us to our next point: kennel leads (or slip leads).
A lot of shops are requiring that the owner remove the collar and leash so that the groomer can slip a slip lead (hehe) over their head. We have seen this at groom shops such as PetSmart. This is a good way to stop the spread of any contamination that might be on the collar and leash.
Clipper, Blade, Tool Sanitation
First things first. Sanitizing our equipment has always been important, but now it is even more serious that we keep up on it. Clean your clippers, blades, and tools after every dog. For your clippers, you can use Wahl CliniClip Disinfectant Spray, Clippercide 5-in-1 Spray, or Virucidal Anti-Bacterial H-42 Clean Clippers Jug. For your blades, you can use Andis Blade Care 7-in-1 Dip or Virucidal Anti-Bacterial H-42 Clean Clippers Jar. We have covered clippers and blades but what about your shears and grooming tools? For both, you can use Oster Spray Disinfectant or we also carry a variety of Barbicide products such as Barbicide 64 oz or Barbicide Disinfectant Jar to put everything in. We have seen shops updating their policies to include sanitizing clippers, blades, shears, and grooming tools between every dog.
Not only is it important that we sanitize our tools, but it is also important that we sanitize any areas that dogs or humans come in contact with. This includes door handles, common areas or waiting areas, kennels, tubs, grooming tables. Anything that dogs or humans touch will need to be sanitized. We carry Paw Brothers 256:1 Disinfectant Gallons and Best Shot 256:2 Disinfectant Gallons. Both of these are EPA approved and registered. And a single gallon of either brand makes over TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SIX gallons of disinfectant. We can’t make this up! This disinfectant is so concentrated, all you need to do is add 1 oz to 1 gallon of water. This mixture can then be transferred to a spray bottle and sprayed on door handles, kennels, common areas, etc. Please make sure to read the label before using.
The beginning of this article discusses all the guidelines for dealing with COVID-19. We thought there were a few other things that we could brush up on when it comes to safety in our shops.
In our Safety Essentials category, we have featured some First Aid Pet Products. There are some things that it’s just prudent to keep on hand in your shop. You never know when a dog is going to move to quickly and there’s going to be an accident or a shear. We aren’t perfect, Groomers! Accidents happen. Make sure that you have what you need such as Remedy + Recovery Medicated Antiseptic Spray or Remedy + Recovery Liquid Bandage Spray and Bandages. When it comes to nail care accidents, we carry Paw Brothers Styptic Powder and Kwik-Stop Styptic Products to quickly clot the quick. We also have an entire Health Aids category on our website if there’s anything else that you are looking for. It is always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. As groomers, we can’t just rely on luck 😉.
Something groomers rarely think about is release forms. Release forms simply release you of liability if anything happens to the client while they are in your care and gives you the approval ahead of time to treat the dog with immediate veterinary care if something were to arise. Barkleigh has done an amazing job and they have prepared a number of different release forms to protect yourself and your business:
· General Release Form (Old Version)
· General Release Form (New Version)
· Senior Pet Release (Old Version)
· Senior Pet Release (New Version)
Our equipment is very important. It allows us to do exactly what we love every day. However, not all equipment is built or designed equally. Some companies have worked directly with groomers to manufacture equipment that is designed with safety in mind. All Paw Brothers and Value Groom Grooming Equipment either meets or exceeds the Professional Pet Groomers and Stylists Alliance (PPGSA) Standards.
Our Paw Brothers Low-Low Super Electric Grooming Table was designed with the safety of both the groomer AND the dog in mind. Using foot pedals, this table lowers to an amazing 11 inches. This helps with large dogs, so you don’t break your back trying to get them up on the table. This is also helpful for senior dogs who may not be able to easily get up on the table or might be injured while trying to lift them up. If you have the double whammy: a large, senior dog, this will surely make the grooming table experience much more comfortable for yourself and your client. With lifting dogs all day, it’s no wonder that groomers also have back problems in addition to lung issues!Both our Paw Brothers Stainless Steel 60” Tub and Paw Brothers Stainless Steel 48” Tub feature a ramp that eliminates the same issues we just discussed: trying to get large and senior dogs up into the tub. With the ramp, it’s much easier to guide the dog into the tub. While it still might be difficult to get a weary dog to enter the tub, this at least eliminates the major issues we previously discussed such as injuring your back or your client.
Another safety issue to be aware of is your dryers. The Metrovac Airforce Top Gun Stand Dryer 3has a five-legged anti tip stand with rolling casters that prevents this standing dryer from tipping over and the Double K Challengair Cage Dryer features an automatic 30 minute safety dryer. The saddest thing we hear all too often is that a shop burned down … with animals inside. This is the last thing any of us want to hear. Prevent these sorts of accidents with safe dryers that you know have timers or anti-tip features.It should also be worth mentioning that your filters should be changed regularly, and your dryers should be frequently maintained. Our Ryan’s Repair Shop does a fabulous job with repairing and servicing your dryers. Check out their Instagram for mind-blowing pictures of before and after blade, shear, clipper, and dryer maintenance.
Another tip is to frequently take the covers off your electrical sockets and clean any hair that might have accumulated. You can see an example of this here.Photo Credit: Bethany Connerton Audette
Thanks for Reading!
Thanks for reading about how to re-open your groom shop amidst the COVID-19 crisis and how to make your shop just a little bit safer. We of course never want anything bad to happen to ourselves, our employees, our clients. Using kennel leads, tool sanitization, disinfectants, and face masks or bandannas will help keep us all safe and get out of this pandemic once and for all. And maybe we will bring these safety guidelines with us into the future and build a culture of safety for groomers.
P.S. Last time (we promise), please, PLEASE, always wear your face mask when grooming, COVID or NO COVID.
Comment on this post on Facebook and Instagramand tell us what we were missing, what you have been implementing in your shops, or what articles we should write next! As always, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to know when we drop blogs, contests, giveaways, new products, and more.
We hope to see you soon in our warehouse or at upcoming shows! Until then, stay safe and healthy, Groomers!