By Kathy Hosler
The majority of a groomer’s workday is spent leaning over a bathing tub or standing at the grooming table. All day long, your body is contorted into uncomfortable and possibly unhealthy positions; bending, twisting, stretching, lifting, etc. It’s no wonder that you say, “Oh, my aching back!”
Short of retiring or having your chiropractor on speed dial, is there anything that you can do to change how you feel at the end of the day? Yes, yes there is! The solution may be as simple as getting an equipment upgrade. The equipment you work with during the day has a profound effect on how you feel at the end of the day. Your body will thank you if you just make some adjustments – to your equipment, that is. That’s right, you need tubs and tables that are adjustable and designed specifically to make your job easier.
If you currently have a waist-high bathing tub that doesn’t have a ramp or steps, you know what a struggle it can be to get an uncooperative dog into it. Now, many stationary tubs come with a slide open door and a ramp or set of steps that allow the dog to easily enter and exit the tub from the front or the side.
Investing in a hydraulic or electric adjustable-height tub can make bathing any pet a breeze. Adjustable tubs can be lowered for the pet to safely get in, and then raised to a height that is the most comfortable for the person who is doing the bathing. No more back-breaking bending and reaching to scrub every part of the dog.
Many tubs have removable floor grates that keep the pet elevated above the dirty, soapy water and save time because they allow you to begin towel drying the pet before all the water has drained out of the tub. Most of the tubs have a backsplash and high sidewalls to help contain the water when the pets shake.
Stylists with busy salons may have several tubs in their bathing room. There are compact waist-high tubs that can be used exclusively for small dogs and cats. With these smaller tubs, everything is within easy reach, and the pets can be bathed and out in a jiffy.
For those who groom a lot of big dogs, a walk in shower may be a great addition. Whether you construct it yourself or have it done professionally, walk-in bathing areas don’t require lifting at all. These floor level bathing areas can be invaluable for high-velocity drying or pre-bath de-shedding.
No matter if you are a mobile groomer, house call groomer, or a multiple salon owner, you can find a grooming table that will be perfect for you.
House call groomers often need to provide all of their own equipment. That equipment has to be lightweight and easy to transport, yet sturdy enough to do the job.
Tables with legs that adjust to several heights and fold flat are easy to carry and also take up less space in your vehicle. Rubber caps on legs help keep the table in place and prevent scratches on your client’s floor. Non-slip table tops with clamp-on grooming arms are, without question, safer and easier than trying to groom pets on a client’s coffee table, counter, or on top of their washing machine.
Every inch of space has to have a purpose for mobile groomers. Some bathing tubs can serve a dual purpose and be converted into a grooming table by placing a special top over the tub.
In a salon setting, space can also be a big consideration. Your table is the “workhorse” piece of equipment. Most everything that you do revolves around it. For today’s stylists, having equipment that adjusts to your needs is essential.
Imagine working on a huge Standard Poodle on a table that does not adjust. You may have to reach way up to work on its head, or bend like a pretzel to work on its feet – putting your wrist, arm, back, and shoulder in awkward and difficult positions. When you have a table that you can raise or lower to a height that is comfortable for you – no matter what part of the dog you are working on – it benefits every part of your body and often produces a better groom.
Hydraulic and electric tables are a dream to work on. Some can lower down to ten inches and raise as high as forty-eight inches, and heavy duty models can accommodate up to five hundred pounds. (What? Are we grooming Polar Bears now?) When you are shopping for a table, make a list of the features that are important to you. If you are able to attend a trade show, you can ‘try out’ and compare all the different models.
A table that has casters can sometimes perform double duty. Depending on your salon setup, you may be able to simply wheel a big dog that is on your table over to the tub – and then easily transfer it from the table to the tub. That can be especially beneficial if you have a tub that is not height adjustable. And, tables with casters can easily be moved for cleaning your work area.
There are tables with bone shaped tops. Not only are they cute, they are functional. In many cases it enables you to get closer to the pet that you are grooming. Some tables are available with lighted tops to allow you to better see the underside of the pet you are working on. Other tables come with tops that can rotate.
Stylists who sit while they groom can especially benefit from tables with rotating tops. They can remain seated and simply move the pet as they work on it. Having a well-made table allows you to use heavy duty adjustable grooming arms and also additional restraint or support systems that keep a pet from spinning on the table, or from constantly sitting when you need it to stand.
Using the right equipment can make you more productive and may enable you to groom more pets (if that is what you want to do), or finish your day earlier. It will make a really big impact on how you feel at the end of your work day, and will contribute to how long your grooming career may be.
It’s so easy to injure yourself when you have to work in an awkward position or try to lift an uncooperative dog. Protect yourself by investing in quality adjustable tubs and tables. Then, at the end of the day, you won’t have to say…..“Oh, My aching back!” ✂