Page 1 OCT/NOV 2012

Step by step Review

Double coated breeds

Premier Groom 2012

Tricks of the trade Finding the right shampoo

Responsible dog grooming Advice on your duty of care

Worldwide trends

in dog grooming A look at Asian grooming and an American salon



elcome to the September/ October edition of Total Grooming Magazine! This issue has certainly got an international flavour with a look at the current trend for Asian-style grooming by Pammie Hogg and a fascinating insight into life in an American dog grooming salon by Sue Zecco. Closer to home, Gill East has been examining the effect of the recession on dog grooming in the UK, we’ve got more on the British Dog Grooming Championship 2012 and Trudy Anderson writes about the launch of the Scottish Professional Groomers Network. We’ve been really pleased by the response we’ve had to our very first issue with lots of positive feedback on our Facebook page – but there’s always room for more! If you want to comment on anything you’ve read in the magazine or have suggestions for future issues, we’d love to hear from you.

Amy Woodland

25 The Pet Trim

Contents 04 Paws for thought Our bi-monthly business profile

06 Premier Groom competition attracts record numbers A review of Premier Groom 2012

10 Whose job is it anyway? Dana Grant examines the responsibilities of a dog groomer

18 Using PR to win business Great tips from a marketing expert

22 Charge your worth on the cover: Frodo image courtesy of Susan Lowden, photo by Roland Gooday

Lesley Garrett on pricing in dog grooming

25 the Pet trim How to deal with double-coated breeds

30 Keeping business going in the recession How the economic downturn has affected dog grooming


Design and Production

Amy Woodland –

Grant Waters – James Taylor – T: 01795 509108

Publication Manager Mike Smith – T: 01795 509110 F: 01795 591065

Credit Facilities Manager

studio Manager

Chief executive

Paula Smith – T: 01795 509107

John Denning –

Vickie Crawford – T: 01795 509103

32 tips and tricks Everyday grooming by Alison Rogers

34 An American perspective on grooming A sneak peek into a Stateside salon

36 Directing for British grooming Meet Heidi Anderton, Director of British Grooming for the PCTA

38 scotland gets networking The launch of the Scottish Professional Groomers Network

42 Inspiration from the east A look at the growing trend for Asian-style dog grooming

46 Countdown to the British Dog Grooming Championship There’s still time to book your place!

48 stroppy or sore? Physiotherapist Lisa Cleeton on joint pain in dogs © 2012 CIM Online Limited, The Goods Shed, Jubilee Way, Whitstable Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8GD. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form – electronic, mechanical or physical – without express prior permission and written consent of the publisher. Contributions are invited and when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and addressed envelope. Manuscripts should be type written. No responsibility can be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during transmission or in the editor’s hands. In the absence of an agreement the copyright of all contributions, literary, photographic or artistic, belongs to CIM Online Limited. The publisher accepts no responsibility in respect of advertisements appearing in the magazine and the opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the Publisher. The Publisher cannot accept liability for any loss arising from the late appearance or non publication of any advertisement.

Total Grooming Magazine | 3

Paws for thought... In each edition of Total Grooming we ask one business owner to pause for thought and spend a bit of time sharing the story behind their business. In this issue Karen Lofthouse tells us about her salon, Ulti-Mutt Dog Grooming in Calne, Wiltshire… Why dog grooming? I’m a mother of two teenage children and four years ago we found a new addition to the family in the form of Ozzy – a Patterdale/Lakeland Terrier, now four years old. Soon afterwards we found our second boy, Zac – also a Patterdale and now 11 years old, in a Terrier Rescue Kennel. I had worked in catering for more than 20 years and hold a City & Guilds in Hotel Catering and Management. While I’ve been very lucky to have a varied career I decided it was time for a complete change a few years ago and, thanks to my two boys, I found it in the world of dog grooming. I am so lucky to be able to say with hand on my heart that I really enjoy my job and look forward to what the next day brings!

How did you start? I looked into training that I could fit in around my full-time job and started my diploma in dog grooming with the Learning Institute. I was lucky to find a good, local dog grooming salon that let me do some hands-on work experience to run alongside my course. After six months or so I started grooming parttime from my dining room, fitting it in around my full-time job. I did this for about a year and then, last summer, I was made redundant. This gave me the push into taking my business full time. We converted our garden shed and by

the beginning of December 2011 I was grooming full-time head long into the Christmas rush.

And how is business now? Thankfully I have been busy and so far it’s been really successful. In fact I wish I had made the change years ago. This year I completed my City & Guilds Level 3 in Dog Grooming and am waiting to take the written exam in November. I am already planning and sourcing model dogs so I can do my Professional Diploma part of the qualification next year.

What makes a good groomer? Apart from being a good groomer, you need to understand the basic breed standards. It’s also important that you take the time to talk and listen to what your clients want. A lot of owners are very nervous about leaving their baby with you, so you need to be able to earn their trust (as well as their dog’s trust). People skills are just as important as your dog handling skills. I only take one dog at a time and we don’t use any cages at any time during the dogs stay with us – we have found that is very popular.

What services are offered? As well as grooming we also offer dog walking and dog sitting for our

grooming clients which my 16-yearold daughter, Chloe, takes a large part in. In June I took part in my first grooming competition in Kent run by the English Groomers Group. I took one of my clients, Jessie the Scottie dog, and entered into the Newcomers’ Real Life category. Even though I didn’t get a placement this time it hasn’t put me off and I’ll be entering again next year. I regularly attend a couple of dog/ puppy training classes where we offer nail clips and grooming tips and I also get involved with local dog shows and events.

What’s your favourite dog to groom? I love grooming any of the bearded terriers – Scotties, Welsh, Airedale and Schnauzers. I love how you can create and capture so much expression and character in their faces and that they look individual. I also enjoy hand stripping. Contact details for Ulti-Mutt Dog Grooming: Tel. 07885 253990 www.ulti-muttdoggrooming.

Want to feature in Total Grooming Magazine? Send an email to:, or write to us at: Total Grooming Magazine, CIM Online Ltd, The Goods Shed, Jubilee Way, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8GD. 4 | Total Grooming Magazine

DEZYNADOG TOTAL GROOMING AUG12_Layout 1 05/09/2012 11:07 Page 1

Premier Groom competition attracts record numbers The fifth annual Premier Groom attracted more competitors and spectators than any previous grooming competition in the UK, as Alison Thomas of Look North Grooming and Training reports…


total of 85 competitors from as far away as Belgium, Germany and Austria attended to compete in the prestigious Premier Groom competition. Held on Sunday August 12 at the Kennel Club building in Warwickshire’s Stoneleigh Park, the event was well organised and professional but with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Organisers Groom Team England and Red Cape Ltd are to be congratulated for their efforts in arranging such a successful day. The event achieved its objective of providing the opportunity for groomers to fine tune their competition skills and encouraged more beginners to enter the competition arena as well as providing something of interest for competitors and spectators, groomers and nongroomers alike. This year’s competitors took up the challenge and demonstrated their skills in competing for the many prizes on offer across eleven classes ranging from Beginners to Pure Breed Scissor. Each class was judged with awards for first, second and third places. First and second places were awarded to debutante competitors. Additional prizes were awarded for the Best Transformation, the Best Preparation by a Beginner and the Best Model Dog. The Groom Team England Special Award was also presented. This award is given to the person or persons who, in the opinion of the Groom Team Committee, show the greatest potential to advance their grooming skills at competition level. These, and the ultimate accolade for the Best in Show

6 | Total Grooming Magazine

Best in Show winner Linda Barker

(sponsored by Double K) selected from the first-placed dogs from all open and champion classes, Reserve Best in Show (sponsored by Aesculap) and Beginner Winner, meant that a fantastic range of cash and product prizes were given out to worthy winners on the day. Classes were observed throughout the day by judges of national and international acclaim who have a great deal of experience in the industry. Those attending were also able to pick up new skills at seminars which ran throughout the day along with demonstrations by Amy English, Ilse FrenlKleton, Paula Hull and Colin

Sponsors The main sponsors of Premier Groom 2012 include: Double K Industries, Aesculap, The Pet Spa at Harrods, Groomers, Arden Grange Premium Pet Foods, Mikki Interpet, The ProGroomer, Grooming Vans 2 Go, Ashley Craig, Kenchii Shears, Hydrogroom, Ravenstein, Requal, Safe 4 Disinfectant, 2 Sharpen and Tru Sharpe, Pretty Paws Grooming, Look North Grooming and Training Centre, Redcape and Groom Team England.

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Taylor. Trade stands added to the occasion making available the most up-to-date equipment and supplies for purchase as well as information stands for holistic therapy and medical detection dogs. Funds raised on the day through competition entries, a tombola and an auction are all being put towards supporting Groom Team England in the international arena. The team was formed in 1997 to enable groomers from England to compete at the highest level of international grooming. Every two years team members are selected from the winners of major UK and European Grooming Associationrecognised competitions. As a nonprofit making organisation it is funded by sponsors and donations and through funds raised at seminars and events like the Premier Groom competition. To find out more about Groom Team England, visit the website at www.

Judges Agnes Murphy LCGI (UK) judging Beginners, Debutante and Workshop Peter Ensell LCGI (UK) judging Purebreed Scissor and Best in Show Paula Hull (UK) judging Beginners and Debutante Ilse Frenk-Kleton (Holland) judging Purebreed Scissor, Poodle and

Best in Show Jitka Krizova LCGI (UK) judging Hand Strip and Best in Show Rony DeMunter (Belgium) judging Spaniel and Setter, Hand Strip, Poodle, Best in Show Amy English (UK) judging Spaniel & Setter, Workshop and Best in Show

Results Best in Show Linda Barker – Standard Poodle Reserve Best in Show Nicole Baltes – Standard Poodle Best Beginner Donna McGarry – Lhasa Apso Best Debutante Chris Briggs – Irish Water Spaniel Reserve Debutante Cheryl Greenhough – Toy Poodle Beginners’ Class 1st Donna McGarry – Lhasa Apso 2nd Emma Taylor – Cocker Spaniel 3rd Andrea Maibaum – Bichon Frise Beginners’ Class Special Awards Best Handstrip – Sian Beddoe Best Spaniel & Setter – Emma Taylor Best Purebreed Scissor – Andrea Maibaum Best Poodle – Jade Georgiou Best Workshop – Donna McGarry Best Preparation – Victoria Jones

8 | Total Grooming Magazine

Spaniel and Setter Open 1st Margit Schonauer – Springer Spaniel 2nd Andrew Carr – Cocker Spaniel 3rd Charlie Cullinane – Cocker Spaniel

Hand Strip Open 1st Ann Marie Burns – West Highland WhiteTerrier 2nd Dawn Inett – Cairn Terrier 3rd Aine Lebioda – Miniature Schnauzer

Spaniel and Setter Champion 1st Mike Wildman – Cocker Spaniel

Hand Strip Champion 1st Mich Dale – West Highland WhiteTerrier 2nd Nicole Baltes – Schnauzer 3rd Lesley Harpham – Norfolk Terrier

Poodle Open 1st Nicole Baltes – Standard 2nd Charlie Crowley – Miniature 3rd Joanne Beddoe – Standard Poodle Champion 1st Linda Barker – Standard 2nd Corinna Verschuren – Standard 3rd Su EldWeaver – Standard Pure Breed Scissor Open 1st Sharon Smith – Bedlington 2nd Mike Wildman – Bichon Frise 3rd Julie Lalou – Bichon Frise Pure Breed Scissor Champion 1st Dione Spice – Bichon Frise 2nd Mich Dale – Kerry Blue 3rd Eve Somers – Kerry Blue

Workshop Open 1st Helen French – Miniature Schnauzer 2nd Lorraine Brackley – Poochon 3rd Rachel Hukin – Labradoodle Workshop Champion 1st Helen Skerman – Lhasa Apso Groom Team England Special Award Charlie Crowley, Chris Briggs and Donna McGarry Best Transformation Corinna Verschuren Model Dog Winner – Debby Knight

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Whose job is it anyway? A look at the responsibilities of the every day dog groomer Dog grooming is just cutting hair, right? Well, not for most groomers. We are often called upon to assist the pet owner with advising about the family pet’s coat and skin health, care, behaviour and general well-being. But how much is too much? Here, groomer Dana Grant of Pucci Pet Pamperers asks what should be considered a step too far?


ome groomers for need of an alternative means to bring in income, or just wanting to provide the most complete service to their clients, undertake some procedures which might be deemed unnecessary, illegal, unethical or dangerous. With no legislative bodies to police the industry, it is down to us to try to work through the rights and wrongs of alternative services. While the Pet Care Trust is there for guidance, it is not obligatory for all groomers to subscribe to get the latest information. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has advised that under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, however, the carrying out of any activity, which amounts to veterinary surgery, is restricted to veterinary surgeons unless there is a suitable exemption that allows other people to do it.

10 | Total Grooming Magazine

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Wahl Arco The Arco clipper stands alone in its class. This cordless clipper operates from a powerful battery in the hand-piece, which can be removed and recharged on the base unit. Supplied with two batteries, the user is guaranteed 2 hours continuous clipping time (60 minutes per battery). Designed to operate quietly with minimal vibration, this is a high performance rechargeable product. The easy to use snap-on blades are adjustable to provide 5 lengths of cut and require no tensioning or alignment. This compact, highly effective product clips quietly and efficiently and is one of our fastest selling products. Designed in Germany and manufactured in one of Wahl’s European manufacturing plants, the user is assured build and engineering quality with the added support of our UK service centre. Kit Contains: Clipper Course Blade Blade Guard 2 x Battery packs Charger Stand Clipper Oil & Cleaning Brush Instruction Booklet Total Grooming Magazine have teamed up with Wahl to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a cordless Arco clipper. For you chance to win, send us you name, address and email to be entered into our prize draw. Send you entries to Wahl Competition, Total Grooming Magazine, The Goods shed, Jubilee way, Whitstable road, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8GD or email your entries to Total Grooming Magazine | 11

sedation, sterile equipment to be used to remove plaque, carefully scraping away tartar while not nicking the gum line (which is very difficult even while the dog is under sedation and near impossible on a fully awake and moving animal). Further polishing is required to remove the scratches created by the scaling process. Antibiotics are often necessary to follow dental treatment as plaque can enter the bloodstream via any small nicks in the gums. These procedures must be performed by a qualified veterinary surgeon and it would neither be safe nor hygienic for them to be performed by a groomer in a grooming salon. Toothbrushing can be undertaken in the grooming salon – however whether or not having the teeth brushed once every six to eight weeks is even a useful act is debatable.

Anal glands Well let’s just dive in to the nitty gritty shall we? Start from the back end, so to speak! From browsing on internet forums such as Watt-A-Dog, it is apparent that the expression of anal glands is an area of question for some groomers. Some may offer this as a regular service on all dogs coming through the salon. Some groomers will only offer it if asked, and still others refuse to express them at all. Yet there are clients who will ask for the service, or even claim that their veterinarians suggest that the “groomer should do” their particular dog. According to the RCVS, this is not a treatment for groomers to undertake on behalf of an owner. As stated above, lay people such as groomers must not do anything that constitutes the ‘practise of veterinary surgery’ as defined in the Act. This includes, for example, diagnosing disease in, and injuries to, animals including tests performed for diagnostic purposes, or giving advice based upon a diagnosis. For the external expression of anal glands, the veterinary advice the RCVS have received is that deciding if there is any infection or impaction involves a diagnosis, which is the practise of veterinary surgery. If the gland is not affected it is questionable if it requires expression. 12 | Total Grooming Magazine

Ear care – plucking and cleaning A complete groom for many groomers includes ear care – whether it means a quick inspection and perhaps a wipe with an antiseptic fluid and cotton ball or thorough pluck! Ear hygiene for the most part is an essential part of grooming, and certainly is covered when being assessed in City & Guilds

Microchipping Subcutaneous microchipping does not amount to the practise of veterinary surgery and therefore an appropriately trained and competent lay person could legally microchip dogs. It should be noted, however, that for certain types of certification microchipping must be performed by a veterinary surgeon or a veterinary nurse working under the direction of a veterinary surgeon. Short

groomers must not do anything that constitutes the practise of veterinary surgery examinations. Care however must be shown if the ears appear red and feel hot, or there is an excessive amount of wax as this may perhaps indicate infection. In this case, it is better to advise the owner to have it seen by a veterinarian as to do otherwise could cause further problems down the line. Generally a groomer can alert the owner to the issue but must avoid giving diagnosis.

Dental scaling and tooth brushing Clients will often ask for dental hygiene care for their dog to be performed while they are being groomed. Dental scaling by a veterinarian will usually require

courses are available and it is certainly something that is a viable option for adding another string to the grooming bow.

Massage and complementary therapies As grooming work is very hands-on in nature, it may seem to be a natural side-line to offer massage or reiki in the salon. Before offering “massage” with that bath and trim, it might be worth noting that it is not something that can be practised without formal training. Lisa Cleeton, Veterinary Physiotherapist and Manipulation and Shiatsu Therapist, tells me: “It takes two years to complete veterinary



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physiotherapy training where you’d have to learn the musculoskeletal anatomy to the same level of competence as a vet, so it’s not a subject an untrained person should attempt to experiment with.” And more, according to the RCVS: “The Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962 allows for the treatment of animals by physiotherapy, provided that the animal has first been seen by a veterinary surgeon who has diagnosed the condition and decided that it should be treated by physiotherapy under his/ her direction.” Reiki as understood by the RCVS is healing by the laying on of hands and not generally regarded as the practice of veterinary surgery as defined by the Act and restricted to veterinary surgeons, provided there is no element of diagnosis. On this basis, there may otherwise be no formal jurisdiction to insist upon the involvement of a veterinary surgeon before the laying on of hands is given, although any person who provided healing to an animal that had not first been seen by a veterinary surgeon runs the risk that their actions would be considered to involve diagnosis and be a breach of the

Having the right insurance is crucial

when a dog has become overweight. However, often the owner is unaware or in denial – so what can a poor, backsore groomer do but gently advise that their dog should maybe go on a diet? A groomer must tread carefully here, as obesity is a medical condition and is a diagnosis! Convincing an owner to seek veterinary advice on weight control is a difficult thing as some might assume

it is the groomer’s responsibility to urge the owner most effectively to the veterinary surgery Act and criminal offence. The RCVS therefore considers that anyone undertaking Reiki should ensure that animals have been seen by a veterinary surgeon, who is content for healing to be given by the laying on of hands. All forms of complementary therapy involving the treatment of animals, including behaviourism, acupuncture, aromatherapy and homoeopathy, must be administered by veterinary surgeons. It is illegal, for non-veterinary surgeons, however qualified in the human field, to treat animals with complementary therapies.

Weighty issues As groomers need to be able to lift their canine charges in to a bath or on to a table it does not go unnoticed 14 | Total Grooming Magazine

that because the vet never mentioned it previously that it must not be an issue. Giving general advice on nutrition will be harmless for the most part and, in fact, for some be rather beneficial.

Skin advice Crusty, flaky skin, oily scurf, small pustules or large cyst-like structures on the skin... we see these commonenough conditions at one point or another – and while it might be possible for a groomer to recognise the signs of eczema, mange or flea allergy – it is still very much the realm of the veterinary professional. While there might be some old time concoctions that have worked for generations and are made from “natural” ingredients, if it goes wrong it could be seen that

the groomer is negligent or having diagnosed and treated on the client’s behalf. Using shampoos which are designed for the pet-grooming industry is the only way to protect oneself from a lawsuit or refusal of insurance pay out if it goes horribly wrong.

When to alert Groomers have an important role in a dog’s health and well-being. Sometimes they are the first line of defence when spotting major illnesses. Knowing how to spot the early warning signs of disease such as lumps, or discharge might be the difference between saving a pet’s life or not. However it is vital that while it’s not legal or ethical to diagnose the problem or tell the owner how to treat it, it is the groomer’s responsibility to urge the owner most effectively to the veterinary surgery for treatment. Self-employed groomers will have far more pressures applied to them due to the fact they feel as if, instead of one boss, they have maybe several hundred people (clients) to answer to. They also have the most to lose if their advice or treatments go wrong. For starters, there is a chance that if something goes wrong not only are they at risk of a lawsuit, but they could also be refused coverage by their company for the costs of subsequent veterinary fees.

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Scaling and polishing should be done at the vets

What can you do to protect yourself? As professional groomers, we need insurance to cover our businesses. Trying to choose which type of insurance is required can be a minefield. In the most general of terms there are two basic types of insurance – professional indemnity and public/ products liability. Professional indemnity insurance is designed to protect the professional person or business which is paid for advice. Should a lawsuit or claim be made against a person or business, this protects them from bearing the cost associated with legal action. This type of insurance is very important in an age where society has become very litigious. Professional indemnity insurance can be taken out to cover for the occasion in which your advice might be misunderstood and/or goes wrong.

in respect to their legal liability for injury or damage they cause either to the dog, owner or owner’s property. Professional indemnity is more relevant for trades that provide design/advice for a separate fee, such as solicitors, accountants, architects. A groomer would offer advice after the groom that has been paid for or if someone buys a shampoo or similar product from them. Thus if the advice they have given results in a claim this would more likely to be considered under the public/ products liability section.” While it might be tempting to tackle a procedure which once had been traditionally part of the groomer’s job, it’s more prudent perhaps to reconsider unless you are prepared to not be covered by your insurance. If a groomer is providing a treatment or performing a procedure which they should not legally do and has not made

it’s always a good idea to read the fine print in your insurance coverage

and our insurer has no issues in respect to extending the business description and thus providing the treatment cover for these.” In the simplest terms Mr Strangwick advises: “If the business description on your insurance policy does not include it, it is not covered.”

Waiver and consent forms Public/products liability insurance is designed to cover those who sell a product or provide a service. Generally speaking it’s always a good idea to read the fine print in your insurance coverage; there might be a clause, for example, that shampoos you use must be proprietary in nature and not mixed or blended by the groomer or on behalf of the groomer. Adrian Strangwick from HIA International further clarifies: “In respect to groomers I would say the most important insurance cover is public liability including ‘care, custody and control of customers’ animals’. This protects the groomer 16 | Total Grooming Magazine

the insurer aware, then the argument is that that no cover will be in force and the groomer will be on their own to foot the bill of any claims. As some of the procedures such as anal glands, dental scaling, offering advice or diagnosis about skin disorders fall under the realms of veterinary medicine, they would be covered under medical malpractice. As a groomer is not a qualified veterinary practitioner, they would not be provided such cover from their insurers. However, as Adrian Strangwick said: “Procedures such as microchipping, Tellington Touch and aromatherapy are treatments we cover,

If you have a client whose pet has become ill while in your care to the degree of needing lifesaving first aid, a groomer is well within right and obligation to administer this first aid. However, should more advanced treatment from a veterinarian be required, a consent form will usually be enough to satisfy the requirements for permission for a veterinarian to treat on the owner’s behalf in their absence. Waivers also become very useful to release the groomer from liability when a pet is presented in such a state that there is a risk associated with the type of work which needs to be done. In fact,

Image courtesy of Peddymark

Check that your insurance covers you for the procedures offered in your grooming salon

a waiver releasing the groomer from liability for conditions already present becomes necessary as well as sometimes there may be an underlying skin condition which the grooming process can make worse.

veterinarian for further investigation.

Just saying no If a groomer is presented with a severely matted pet, it would be lawful (under the Animal Welfare Act 2006)

some of that responsibility can be lifted and put in the hands of the trained professional veterinarians Health alert report cards To avoid the confusion of a client misunderstanding a statement made by a groomer over the condition found during a groom, a health alert card can be a simple form which a groomer can write out his or her findings – carefully avoiding making a diagnosis – but recording observations with regard to lumps, bumps and skin issues, dental or aural needs. These cards can be presented to their

to refuse to demat it if the process were to cause pain or stress to the animal. So at the time of check-in of matted pets, a discussion might be necessary where the groomer refuses to demat. An explanation would be necessary that the process would in fact be breaking this law. During the discussion the explanation might involve dissecting what happens in dematting, explaining that the process can cause brush burn and the constant pulling at the coat is

painful. It would also be well within the groomer’s rights to refuse any service if they deem that the act or procedure might be against any laws or roles which are defined above.

Long story short While pet groomers have long held an important role of responsibility for their clients, a bit of relief should be felt when some of that responsibility can be lifted and put back in to the hands of the trained professional veterinarians, physiotherapists, and vet nurses. It will however, be a long road still in convincing our clients that certain procedures should not and shall not be done within the grooming studio. Because grooming is largely unregulated, there will be many groomers who will be blissfully ignorant that they are doing wrong for trying to do right – until a problem arises and they learn the hard way.

Total Grooming Magazine | 17

Using PR

to win new business

Think that the budget won’t stretch to advertising your business? Think again, says management and marketing consultant Phil Turtle…


e don’t need to advertise, we know all the people we need to communicate with.” I hear this from business owners and directors on a weekly basis. Either that or they say; “We can’t afford to advertise.” Nearly always, they’re from companies that are performing averagely. What we both know that they’re actually saying is: “Look, we’re sort of managing at the moment. Okay so the order book’s down, margins are low and advertising is really expensive so we couldn’t afford it even if we wanted to.” And of course they’re quite right - so why didn’t they just say so? Anyone who has run a company will know that when your nose is hard to the grindstone, you don’t really have

Managing director of, Phil Turtle

18 | Total Grooming Magazine

the luxury of the time and energy to stop and spend time thinking laterally. And of course believing your own defence statement gives you one less thing to worry about. But it doesn’t really give you less to worry about because the order book’s still very thin and margins are tight and there are many active competitors, which may not be too bad when the economy’s reasonably buoyant. But when the pendulum swings the other way as it has now, either you’re the supplier of choice in your marketplace (and you suffer a bit of margin erosion), or you’re much lower down the pecking order and your margins get decimated.

You don’t know everyone Even though you and your staff know your customers and possibly ‘some’ key

prospects, they aren’t the only people who need to know about your company. Even in existing long-term customer relationships, people move, situations change and new customers will need to take their place. If they don’t know your company, they’ll tend to favour familiar names and many new brooms want to make their mark and sweep clean. And it doesn’t have to be your direct contact that changes. You may offer the best service around but if another company has a higher profile – they are advertising or being featured in trade magazines all the time for example – they are almost guaranteed to get the customer’s business. It happens to big companies too. A classic example of a company being caught out by believing their own “we know everyone” mantra was former

Advertise and send press releases to industry magazines to keep your profile high

international car and truck brake manufacturer Ferodo. They did know many of the right people but that didn’t help when several of their major customers decided, almost all at once, to relocate their research and development functions to Germany. Suddenly, the Ferodo people knew no-one. Even worse, the new decision makers didn’t know anything about Ferodo. I was brought in to implement an aggressive advertising, PR, direct marketing and high-level sales operation. In this case, the damage was successfully limited but it was an expensive exercise that could have been avoided by on-going low key, low cost business to business promotion centred on PR.

Who needs to know you? There are various groups of people or “audiences” who it is in your best interest to make and keep aware of your company. But all of these people need to know how good your company is and the breadth of products and services you offer. Of course your customers and prospective customers need to be aware of your presence but it is wise that your peers or competitors also know about you. The more they know about your good points, the harder it is for them to knock you. Also, their people are more likely to want to jump ship and join you if have good press coverage. Your suppliers also need to be kept aware of your company. The better they perceive you to be in the marketplace, the more

attractive a customer you’ll be which will help you to negotiate better supply deals. Finally, it is also important for your staff. Reading about the company they work for makes them feel a part of something important. It can have an almost evangelical effect and is highly motivating.

But we still can’t afford to advertise… Advertising is not the only way to gain awareness and it certainly would be a very expensive way to communicate with all of the people you need to reach. It certainly has its place in the marketing communications mix, but there is a more cost-effective way for businesses to communicate with other businesses and that is PR (public or press relations). Business to business (or B2B PR) is completely different to the sort of PR you hear about with celebrities, paparazzi and champagne. It’s even legal, decent and truthful! There’s a total culture difference and thankfully, editors of trade magazines are not out to sell copies based on sensationalism – they’re in the business of providing high quality, relevant information to their readers about their market sector. Your market sector. In fact, because most trade journals actually have a staff of only one and a bit (the editor and a part time advertising sales rep), they are almost totally dependent on material submitted by companies. So if you’re providing a flow of high-quality press releases and feature articles, or case studies, they’ll probably use it. If you don’t, they’ll use your competitors’ material instead.

A few guiding principles As I run a PR division, you’d probably expect me to tell you at this point that PR is a really difficult black art. But it’s not. Granted, we at Turtle Consulting have learned a trick or two over the years which help, but the core skill is simple 20 | Total Grooming Magazine

The PR game plan: 4 Analyse the journals in the sector. 4 Brainstorm the subjects on which your company has something to say and then speak to the relevant editors. 4 Write and distribute press releases. 4 Keep a steady flow of material heading towards the editors. 4 Make sure you pick up on all the coverage you obtain and use it to your advantage. 4 Consider using a PR agency but only one that specialises in your sector.

hard work and gentle sales technique. To start with you need to analyse the journals in the sector (remember that many are online) and understand what the editors want. Write and distribute press releases on any real news stories you have – but don’t send rubbish. This way, editors will come to know that your releases will be worth reading. Make sure you pick up on all the coverage you obtain. And don’t just file it; you can reprint into a direct mail, put it on your website or hand-out items to encourage existing and potential customers. If you don’t want to do all of this yourself, then consider using a PR agency but only one that specialises in your sector. B2B advertising can sometimes be expensive and to be effective, it needs to be regular. B2B PR on the other hand can start from £zero if you do it yourself and as little as £15k a year using an agency. You can achieve editorial coverage valued at many times what you spend. Of course, there are also good reasons to advertise – particularly when you need to get over a message which is not “news”. And of course if no-one advertises there won’t be any magazines left for PR to work in. So it is a responsibility to support sector magazines with advertising too. For more information on PR and marketing visit www.turtleconsulting. com or email phil.turtle@



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Total Grooming Magazine | 21

Charge your worth It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to setting up a pricing strategy for your business but Lesley Garratt of the Canine Design Academy of Grooming is urging groomers to charge their worth...


kay, so you have just completed your expensive grooming course and you are ready to be nervously unleashed into a whole new world of unsuspecting dogs and dog owners! How do you decide how to set your pricing structure? You have just finished your training and don’t feel you should be charging the same as a well-established, experienced groomer. What do you do? Offer your services free of charge so you can ‘practise’ on people’s dogs? Do you massively undercut the local groomer who has been there for years in order to gain new customers and maybe some of their business? What sort of image do you want to portray – cheap and cheerful, Mr or Mrs Average, or a cut above the rest? Firstly, do not offer free or reduced price grooming when you first start – this gives the impression that you are unprofessional, lacking confidence in your skills and probably not very good at what you do. Do not try to undercut the competition – this will result in a

22 | Total Grooming Magazine

price war, which will not do any of you any favours (or gain you any respect) and will just start the rocky road of groomers undervaluing their skills. This is an age-old problem for the profession. We spend a lot of money on our training and continued professional development and should be valued for our professionalism and skills.

Income and expenditure When you first start you will probably be slow but will hopefully be grooming to a good standard. You need to accept, therefore, that your hourly rate will be fairly low to start with until you can build up your speed. It is not feasible for a new groomer to work on an hourly rate. If, for example, you decide to charge £32 for a West Highland white – when you have just finished your training it may take you up to around three hours to groom the dog, meaning that your gross hourly rate is £10.66 per hour, but once you have built up your speed you may be able to groom this dog in one to one-and-a-half hours,

Outgoings to consider 4 Rent or mortgage 4 Rates 4 Electricity 4 Gas 4 Water rates/charges 4 Telephone 4 Shampoo/products 4 Replacement equipment 4 Repairs to equipment 4 Maintenance of property 4 Sharpening 4 Education 4 Staff wages 4 Bank charges 4 Advertising 4 Accountancy Fees 4 Membership fees (eg. PCTA/ FSB) 4 Loan repayments 4 Car expenses 4 Insurance 4 Refuse collection 4 Printing (business cards, leaflets) 4 Office supplies

increasing your gross hourly rate to between £21 and £32 per hour. If you expect to earn this from the outset, you would have to charge your customers between £63 and £96 per dog! However, you must remember that by no means is the price of the groom all profit! There are many costs related to running a business which must be taken into account including your rent or mortgage, rates, utilities bills, wages and more – see left for a fuller list of things to consider. Obviously, your costs will vary depending on where you decide to set up business – if you work from home, your outgoings will obviously be a lot lower than if you work from a shop premises or decide to go mobile, but there are hidden costs that you must take into account. Do not make the mistake of working for next to nothing, burning yourself out and being the next casualty to close down their business before it has started.

Planning is key You need to be realistic and plan well before you start your business. Do not try to run before you can walk – it is rarely a good idea for a new groomer to take over an existing business which is being run by an experienced groomer. If you do, you may struggle to keep up with the amount of dogs that need to be groomed each day. Consequently the quality of your work will be lowered. The ideal situation for a newly-qualified groomer is to start out with as few overheads as possible. Possibly start out continuing with your existing job and grooming in your spare time. The ideal situation to be in is to be able to reduce hours in your day job as you get busier with your grooming. You should work out all your expenses in order to decide how much money you need to earn each day. For example, if it costs you £1,500-£2,000 per month to run your business (a realistic figure for a small to average-sized salon running from shop premises) and you are open 20 days per month, you will need to earn £75-£100 per day, just to cover your expenses. Say you are charging on average £30 per dog, you will need to groom between 2.5 and 3.33 dogs

per day before you begin to make any profit. It is easy to get carried away with the glamour of owning your own business and wanting a swish grooming salon of your own in a high street situation, but you must be realistic with your dreams and be sensible with the planning of your business. You need to keep a very tight rein on your expenses and carefully monitor your income against your expenditure. I do not know exact statistics, but I know that there are sadly a lot of casualties along the way of people who have opened dog grooming salons, spending huge amounts of money on creating their dream business, only to fall by the wayside as they didn’t do their planning thoroughly enough.

Quality worth paying for First and foremost, you need to make a living – you probably won’t make a lot of money in your first year (or may even make a loss as many new

businesses do). Set aside enough money to tide you over whilst the business is building. Do some market research as to how much your competitors are charging, but only use this as a bench mark. Don’t be afraid to be one of the most expensive groomers in your area as long as you produce high-quality work, keep your premises clean and attractive and are kind and compassionate to the dogs. This will attract the right type of customer – people who care about their dogs and don’t mind paying a little more for the best service. The type of customer who is only interested in getting the cheapest groom for their dog is unlikely to be loyal. Just because we groomers generally love the work that we do doesn’t mean that it is ‘just a hobby’ and that we should be undervalued. We possess a valuable skill, in which we have invested a lot of time, money and effort and we should be rewarded accordingly. Total Grooming Magazine | 23

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The Pet Trim feature is sponsored by:

The Pet Trim:

double-coated breeds

Grooming a double-coated breed can be labour intensive and timeconsuming but very rewarding. Amy English of Just 4 Paws grooming salon offers some tricks and techniques in this step-by-step guide...


ealing with double-coated breeds in the salon can fill groomers with dread. They will often arrive having gone many months between professional grooms and having had very little

grooming attention at home. I am going to use a long-coat Akita to demonstrate how using the correct tools and equipment can make your life easier and how the trimming should enhance the natural look of the

dog. Many double-coated breeds are trimmed but should not look scissored. Trimming will be tailored to the long coat Akita but most of the techniques will transfer to other breeds with just a variation on styling.


Total Grooming Magazine | 25

stand off should be blasted against the coat growth whereas breeds such as retrievers, where the coat should lie flat, should be blasted with the coat growth. Brush and blast the coat at the same time so you use the air force from the dryer to lift and separate the coat and remove undercoat. You can then use a stand dryer to finish thicker coat areas, such as ruff, tail and trousers.

Trimming Head before

Assessing the coat The first thing to do is to assess the coat. Is there matting or excess undercoat build up? I start by grooming the coat through with the aid of a blaster to loosen and lift the undercoat. I like to use a fairly stiff slicker and I groom the coat against the growth whilst blasting in this direction as well. This first groom is just to remove any very loose hair and to remove any matting prior to bathing. You can also use de-shedding tools if preferred and coat kings are great for breaking up matting in heavier coated areas such as trousers, ruffs etc.

diluted into a wash tank and then forced straight through the coat with a high power shower hose without any prewetting. The shampoo gets right to the skin very quickly and enables thorough cleaning of all areas. Shampoo type is a little dependant on breed but in general nothing too conditioning as doubledcoated breeds should have texture in the protective outer layer of the coat. I then switch to the rinse tank which uses the same force to remove the shampoo. The power behind this bath is great for this type of breed which are normally a nightmare to get wet, work shampoo in to and rinse.

In the bath


I am lucky enough to have a hydrobath which is a great time and money saver. You use much less shampoo as it is

Most of the drying will be done using a blaster to force the wet out of the coat. Any breeds where the coat should

Groom through before bath

26 | Total Grooming Magazine

Once you have a completely dry and properly groomed-out dog you can start your trimming. For most doublecoated breeds it is about enhancing natural beauty. You do not want to overwork areas with straight scissors or for lines to be to overly precise – it is not what this type of coat is about. For the long coat Akita we will be using thinners/chunkers for the majority of the trimming, this way we will leave more natural edges.

The head Use thinners/chunkers to blend hair around and under the ears so they sit neatly and look in proportion to the rest of the head. The hair sitting around the head can be blended in to the body, giving the dog a more even coat length all over. For the ruff I am also using thinners/chunkers to blend untidy edges and to shape the front in order to enhance the outline of the dog. You can also thin the hair if the coat is particularly thick.

Groom through using a rake/ de-shedding tool

Blast dry and brush at the same time to remove dead coat

In the hydrobath

The skirt, legs and feet It is very important with this breed to not end up with a very scissoredlooking skirt. Use thinners to chip into the skirt to remove coat length and leave a more natural looking underline. The front and skirt should flow into each over so ensure to blend the two areas together between the front legs. The feet should be very neat and cat-like. Hair should be removed between the toes and under the pads. Use thinners to blend over the toes and use straight scissors to shape around the edge of the toes to give an ultra-neat appearance. I use a grinder to trim nails on breeds where nails are exposed to keep the nails as short as possible. This will help to keep the feet looking tight and cat-like. I shape the hock hair into the rear foot and

After drying

tidy the pastern hair on front legs. Feathering on the rear of the front legs should be left natural looking and not be shaped into the foot area.

Trousers and tail You can clip in the groin area if needed but I prefer to just thin the hair out so the trousers sit neatly and don’t protrude too far around the sides or behind the dog. Also remove excess length so they do not over hang the hock area. Remove excess hair around the anus to ensure hygiene is maintained between grooms. For this breed the tail is thoroughly groomed and combed through but not trimmed as the tail is carried high over the back and looks better when heavily coated. For other breeds, such as retrievers, the tail would be trimmed into a heavy fan.

Tidy hocks and legs with thinners/chunkers

Do this by guiding your hand down the tail and gathering all the hair at the end. You want the tail to reach the top of the hock. Normally this will mean leaving one thumb’s width on the

Thin excess hair around bottom

Total Grooming Magazine | 27

Thin excess hair over toes and trim nails

Thin and blend ears

Blend cheeks into ears using thinners

Coat after grooming through

end of the tail and then cutting the hair that overhangs this area off in a straight line. Now drop the remaining coat, hold the tail out and comb the hair down. The tail will now already sit in a run shape and will only require a little shaping to neaten the edges. So the outcome should now be a wellgroomed-through dog with no dead undercoat and a trim to suit the natural outline of the dog. Remember to use the tools that have been created and designed for these coat types to make your life easier in the salon and to also charge an appropriate price for the time given to grooming.

The finished look

28 | Total Grooming Magazine

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Keeping business

going in the recession

The economic climate has meant tough trading times for businesses across Europe and beyond. Owner of Canine Comforts training school and grooming parlour, Gill East, looks at how the recession has affected the grooming industry...


s I have been training and trading for more than 30 years, I have coped with three recessions, but this one has proved the longest and the worst. Whereas other recessions have been brief and not too dramatic, this one is causing more concern, especially as we head into winter. Apart from broken appointments, which would not normally have happened, more customers are moving booked appointments back to eight to 12 week intervals, stating that the appointment is not needed yet, as the dog has not grown – a miracle! – or that he is not well. Needless to say, as a result of lessfrequent appointments, canine clients are arriving at grooming salons knotted solid, with fleas and other skin and ear conditions, due to the length of time People tend to leave it longer between grooms in times of recession

30 | Total Grooming Magazine

that their groomer has been restricted from seeing them or addressing these problems. Then there are the requests of “Can you cut him shorter?” If we go any shorter we will be on the bone. You may find that you are not losing clients, but not seeing them as regularly. To cope with the gaps and keep you financially stable, you need a bigger client base. We have noticed as you all must have, how the public have suddenly adopted a more-demanding attitude, being harder to please, and less likely to say “thank you”. This is not to say trims are inferior or less than top quality, but shows that people are nervous and not as comfortable.

So what do we do? It is a good idea to always make a further appointment when the animal is collected. By giving this to the owner it is a way in which, if you have a no show, you can confidently telephone to remind them and reappoint. It is not like having to cold-call, as the client is embarrassed for forgetting and is more likely to book another appointment. Another offer we have given is to book three future appointments on a card. Each time the client returns, the card is stamped. When all three bookings have been completed you can offer the third at a reduced price. The benefit of this is that you will see the dog more often, their coats will be in reasonable condition and the trim will

be faster to complete. Think like the big supermarkets – they certainly know how to get the money in.

A few good things A positive to come out of the recession for well-established parlours that are paying high rents, wages, national insurance, tax and generally trading legally is that a lot of technicallyimpaired groomers have stopped trading. I love that statement, meaning groomers that have no technical skills, no training and a bad reputation have given up. Established parlours with skilled groomers are usually able to adapt and survive in times of economic difficulty. Loyalty and the quality of your work should keep customers coming back and with a few adaptations and good ideas, like those mentioned, you should be able to continue trading successfully. Many of you that know me, will be aware of the years of work trying to get groomers recognised and enthusiastic about continuing to add qualifications and achievements. My advice now is no different – keep advertising your qualifications, tell your owners how long you have studied to achieve this professional status and remember you are not just a groomer, but a health-care expert. Who notices any skin problems that need attention, unexpected lumps and bumps or unusual behaviour or movement for prompt referral to a veterinarian?

Award Winning Grooming Tutor A

Pretty Paws Grooming & Training Centre.

With Alison Rogers L.C.G.I

lison Rogers LCGI, has been grooming since she was 16 years old and has run her own grooming salon for 18 years. Alison’s depth of experience includes teaching dog grooming & Animal care at various colleges, teaching NVQ, BTEC & National Diploma to entry level and asset. She also teaches the NPTC city and Guilds Level 3 certificate in dog grooming at her salon in Holmfirth. Alison is qualified to City and Guilds 730 level and has also completed her OCR level 4 qualifications. She is also a fully qualified City and Guilds level 7750 dog groomer, she has her higher grooming diploma, also holding the LCGI in dog grooming and she is a member of the Guild of Master Groomers. In her spare time, Alison loves to keep up on her grooming by competing in and judging grooming competitions both home and abroad, where she is on the European Judging list. She has achieved a number in places, winning the Professional Groomers Championship best in show 2003 and 2004 (she is the only groomer to win this two years in a row). She also won Groomer of the Year at the British Championships 2007 and runner up 2000. she has more recently been a fonder member of the England Groom Team coming in 2007 and 2009, where they came 3rd in the world championship*, with Alison competing with a Springer Spaniel. Having trained many students over the years, Alison has had pleasure of watching them go on to run succesful dog grooming businesses, with some following in her foot steps and entering the competition ring. Her former students have won many placings and newcomer of the year awards. As well as this she has shown and bred West Highland White Terriers, Standard Poodles and more recently Bichon Frise’s (Alizo), won are doing well in the show ring and hold reserve CCs and CC and have all qualified and won at Crufts, this year. Alison will also be seen on Mikki products as she trials out for the company before they go on sale. Alison was the 1st head Groomer at the pet spa at harrods in London but is back in Yorkshire full time teaching her students or going to theirs salons to do freelance training. So please ask for more information.

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Total Grooming Magazine | 31

Tips and tricks

of everyday dog grooming

In this issue of Total Grooming, groomer and trainer Alison Rogers shares a few of her tips and tricks on finding the right shampoo…


sing a good shampoo is a must – not just in order to achieve a clean coat but also to make it easier to trim and get the kind of show-stopping coat that your customers will want for their dogs. Using the right shampoo will help you to get the best out of your grooming equipment. I believe that using the same shampoo on a dog every time is not always effective so I suggest changing the shampoo sometimes to help the coat. You’ll also need to

consider whether your area has soft or hard water. The type of water in your area can affect the condition of the coat – not just through washing but also through drinking, just as giving bottled water helps to remove eye staining in white dogs. Using good quality grooming tools and equipment will make your job easier and, while they may involve a higher initial outlay, will cost you less in the long-run so it’s sensible to think about investing in a good stand-dryer

to use alongside your shampoos. I also like to use the hard pin Mikki slicker brush or the pro slicker from Mikki while blow-drying my customers’ dogs. These brushes are easy to use and tend to last. I also sell them in my salon so customers have no excuse to not brush their dogs’ coats in between grooms! I’ve put together a guide to the shampoos and equipment that I recommend for different breeds and coat types in the table to the right – I hope you’ll find it useful!

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32 | Total Grooming Magazine

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Coat types

Condition of coat


Drying equipment

Wool: Bichon, Normal or have pee Poodles stained coats. If matted, spray with Le Pooch PreWash Detangling Spray to remove matting first with stand dryer on cool (Superjet dryer) or see spray after.

First wash: Crown Royal Deep Cleansing Shampoo mixed with their conditioner (from Hub). Second wash: Requal mix for wool coat is Keral-Prof, RiflexProf and a small amount of Bio-Plus and, if the dog is knotty or has a thick coat, add a capful of Requal Derm-Oil (Red Cape). This must be mixed with half hot water to break down the conditioner and the shampoo must be applied to dry coat to work.

Mega Blast Blaster (Christies Direct) and fluff dry with Super Set dryer or Dezynadog Blaster Gimzo and finsh off with Superjet.

Double coats: Full of dead hair, moulting GSD, Rough and matted areas. I Collies use a bath rake when shampooing on the dog’s coat with the shampoo already on the coat to help remove dead coat and reduce drying time. This will also loosen matted areas if conditioner is add to coat. Dezynadog do a great Balsam conditioner – but don’t use the rake on a wool coat (bath rakes are plastic not metal).

First wash: Shampoo in Grimeinator. Second wash: Tropiclean Oxy De-Shed for this time of year which reduces shedding and helps groom dog quicker (Christie’s Direct) or 1st aid from Dezynadog which is also great for Spaniel coats and clipped Terriers. On rinsing shampoo, rake and rinse and you’ll get through the coat better and save drying time.

You can open the coat before shampooing by using the Gizmo or Megablaster. After bathing, make sure you remove all water from the coat so dog is drip free by squeezing the coat, then blast so no water can be squeezed out of coat as if the coat is still very wet, the dog is more likely to burn. If you like to use a drying cabinet, the only one I use is The Fox Box from Dezynadog. I’ve had mine for more than 16 years and it’s still going strong – couldn’t groom with out it!

Silky coats: Yorkies, Spaniels

Yorkie with oily coat, Yorkie with normal coat and Spaniels.

For Yorkies use deep cleansing Blast and Superjet. shampoo with no conditioner, 1st aid shampoo. Some people use Pantene or a good cleaning shampoo like Grimeinator, then 1st aid and conditioner for the legs and skirt.

Wire coats: Terriers

Clipped coats.

1st aid from Dezynadog or Requal Keral-Prof to keep coat harsh. Also good cleaning shampoo like Deep Clean Crown Royal but don’t add conditioner.

Spray to use after blow dry

Before fluff drying, spray The Stuff or Thermal Fluid to reduce drying time and Ensure you brush from the to get the coat root of hair and use your blow straight so eyes, not hand, to see if coat no curlies left. is straight and separated.

Thermal Fluid to help remove matts when blow drying with Superjet also de-matting spray Demel’ex or D-mat tangle remover from Tropiclean. These are the only sprays I find do the job.

The Stuff from Hub.

If knotty after blasting spray legs with De-Mat.

The shampoos and equipment named in this are from Christie’s Direct, Hub International, Dezynadog, Redcape and Simpsons. Total Grooming Magazine | 33

An American

perspective on grooming

We Brits are known as a nation of dog lovers so it’s no surprise that dog grooming is big business – but have you ever wondered how they do it in other countries? Sue Zecco, owner of the Pampered Pet in Paxton, Massachusetts gives us a taste of grooming over the pond...


began my grooming business in 1977, aged 19, just after graduating from a one-year animal care course. My business, The Pampered Pet, has undergone many changes over the years but I believe we have always stayed true to our slogan: “We have warm hearts for cold noses”. At first I did everything on my own (with a little help from my husband): grooming, bathing, office work, customer relations, retail, cleaning, pick up and delivery, but now I have a full staff of ten employees, plus my husband Ray and I. A typical day at the Pampered Pet begins at 7.30am. Between then and 9am is the drop-off time for most clients. There are always exceptions to the rule though because our goal is to keep the dogs happy as well as being as accessible to our client as possible. We have a very large dry-erase board hanging in the front of the bathing area. As the dogs get checked in, their condition is evaluated, as well as the trim and any special requests by the owners. Each finish groomer, (five including myself) has a list of the dogs they will do for that day. The receptionist will designate the checkout times, giving the groomer time to get each dog done and the board is updated as the dog goes through the various stages of their groom. If a customer calls to check on the time of their pet’s release, the receptionist can tell by a glance at the board what stage that dog is at. With 12 people working in my shop,

34 | Total Grooming Magazine

this board really allows for as smooth a day as can be predicted. We all know that a typical day in a grooming salon is not always predictable. Whether it be a dog that arrives matted and needs to be started, a pet that is new and not accepting of their first groom, a biter or very difficult dog to do. Honestly, all the things that can go wrong in a day are part of the reason I still love what I do – no two days are ever alike, always something different to deal with. Another thing I love is that there is always more to learn. Recently, I had a call from a new client with a Borzoi. Although she knows all the show secrets quite well, she has trouble executing proper grooming technique. With her guidance, I have now added another breed that I can groom for show and she has also referred me to a friend who breeds and shows Shetland sheepdogs. My shop has moved locations three times over the years, our final location

The Pampered Pet

is a building that we have purchased, so we will not be moving again. We have expanded, added retail, do small-scale pet sitting, and training for groomers who are eager to learn more. We offer all types of grooming on dogs and cats. We specialize in scissor cuts, will dematt and do hand stripping, something most shops in this area don’t do. Since we do very little advertising, word-ofmouth is important, so always doing a great job is crucial to our business. I have been blessed to travel a lot with my work and one thing I have learned is no matter what country I am in, when I begin talking with other groomers about their shops, I find that we all have that same fresh dog, that same picky client, the same problems with employees… it is in a way comforting to know it’s not just me. I have also picked up some great tips to try at my shop that have worked well for others. Hopefully, I have done the same with this article.

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Directing for British grooming In April of this year Heidi Anderton took on the role of grooming director on the board for the Pet Care Trade Association. Here, she describes what the role involves and tells us a bit more about herself...


put my name forward for the grooming director role in April after completing my team member participation with Groom Team England. The director position had been vacant for well over a year and although I had previously discussed the appointment, it was not until I had completed my period with the team that I could accept the opportunity to join the PCTA Board. I am very excited about my new role and am looking forward to the new opportunities and challenges that I know I’ll face. I have already attended a few directors’ meetings and feel it is essential that the grooming industry – YOU! – have a representative at this level. I have been warmly welcomed by the other directors on the board, and am thankful to be part of a positive, supportive and generous group of people, all of whom have broad and in-depth knowledge across various pet care sectors. The directors are all united to promote the pet trade and to educate the public about pets.

Animal welfare The Pet Care Trade Association is not only about dog grooming, but also involves many other animal sectors including kennels and catteries, pet shops, suppliers and manufacturers. I therefore feel the Pet Care Trade Association is the correct place for the British Dog Groomers’ Association to be incorporated, as all of these sectors are involved in animal ownership and animal welfare, and often impact on each other. Dog groomers are part of this group, and it is essential that we are all involved, and that together we can have our input on current affairs, 36 | Total Grooming Magazine

codes of conduct and regulations. The Pet Care Trust is a related charitable association and was set up to educate the public on responsible pet ownership, which naturally includes knowledge and practice of grooming. I see the director’s role as varied – representing the grooming industry and being a voice for the grooming sector; putting plans in place for the future to improve the path for new groomers coming into the industry; to improve education and animal welfare; communications and public awareness for the industry; to work with other organisations to help achieve our plans; and to improve the already successful ‘qualification structure’ which is part of the national qualification framework.

Proud to be a groomer Already in my role, I have attended the annual City & Guilds graduation ceremony at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London where I presented five groomers with their Licentiateship Award (level 4 Dog Grooming). This was a great day at a very prestigious event and I was honoured to make the presentations to those candidates who aspire to be the best they can be, as shown through their excellent achievements. Candidates came from across the world to collect their different awards, and it is apparent that we are now seen as a comparable profession to rank along other industries …Yippee! I was so proud of the grooming industry this day, and I look forward to future presentations. I’m also really looking forward to seeing the array of grooming talent on display at the British Dog Grooming Championship on Sunday October 28 at

Heidi Anderton (centre) with recent recipients of the LCGI

the Kennel Club Building in Stoneleigh Park. Competitions are a great way for groomers to raise their skills and reach new heights (Ed’s note: find out more on pages 46-47).

The future Additionally, I have also put forward a range of ideas which will promote ‘Continuing Professional Development’ education through our sector, and I am working on a new British Dog Grooming Committee for next year. I look forward to your support in my new role as Grooming Director and I shall be providing you with reports and updates on activities currently in progress throughout the year. Already we are forming an Event’s Committee to organize a fabulous show for next year. All your input and ideas are most welcome, so please get involved – we are working for you! I hope to see as many of you as possible at the British Dog Grooming Championship. I’ll be there all day and am presenting a cat grooming demonstration in the afternoon, so feel free to come and find me! The British Dog Grooming Association is focussed on the future, raising standards and improving the industry for us all.

Curriculum Vitae:

Heidi Anderton LCGI Motto A well groomed dog is a happy dog!

My qualifications for the role I personally believe that the Grooming Director should have a vast knowledge of all the different sectors in the grooming industry. I believe I am a suitable candidate as I have worked as both a mobile and salon groomer, and to date I have achieved and accomplished the following: • Successful Owner/Director of the only Premier Accredited Training School in London • Teacher qualified • Assessor qualified • Level 3 City & Guilds Dog Grooming • Level 4 LCGI • Higher Diploma • Guild & Master Groomer • Previous Groom Team England Team Member 2010 – 2011 • Animal first aid qualified/Qualified Micro chipper • Groomer of the Year Winner 2004/Multiple Award Winner • Judged in the UK and abroad • Current Examiner • Accredited Pet Care Professional • Cat Groomer • Successfully contracted for creative grooming for various TV and advert projects

My career I started my dog grooming career when I was just 17, having previously completed eight months working in a Boarding Kennel, following my O levels. I had the opportunity to go on a two-week YTS dog grooming course and loved it straight away, and I knew that it was the career for me. I trained in a dog grooming salon as an apprentice, and after a year or so I progressed to manage another salon, as well as building a home-grooming clientele. This experience set me on the path of qualifications, seminars, competitions and workshops where I continued to be challenged with more specialist information, enabling me to further improve my work and techniques. I have been consistently learning and advancing my knowledge of the industry, taking all available qualifications and making industry friends and contacts across the world. I started my salon business – Absolutely Animals Ltd – in 1995 with the help of the Prince’s Youth Business Trust. I work doing something I love and I have found the grooming industry to be very rewarding – what could be better?!

My personal details I am a working mum of three so I know all about multi-tasking! Also I am very lucky to have my daughter Christine express an interest in this industry. She is now a great support, together with participating in running the business and teaching alongside me at Absolutely Animals in London. Christine is a keen competitor, already winning competition classes at Groomer of the Year and achieving Young Kennel Club Groomer of the Year 2011.

Total Grooming Magazine | 37

Scotland gets networking Professional dog groomers in Scotland are getting together online through a new social networking group as Trudy Anderson of Furrynuff Dog Grooming in the Scottish Borders explains...


eptember saw the launch of a new closed group on Facebook - the Scottish Professional Groomer Network (SPGN). The stated aim of this recently launched groomer network – the first in Scotland in almost a decade – is to encourage continuing professional development and share good practice in commercial dog grooming. The idea of a Scotland-based network has been the ambition of a number of pet groomers dissatisfied with the dearth of grooming events and networking opportunities in Scotland. The Facebook group provides free basic membership of SPGN. The social networking site functions as a platform for interacting with members to share information, advice, tips or ask questions. Events will also be publicised and managed via Facebook. A second tier of paid premium membership will be offered from 2013 (for £24 per annum) and will include a range of other additional benefits summarised in the table on the right. The network is a grassroots, member-led network which promotes professionalism and recognises professional responsibilities. Integral to membership is a commitment to the network’s stated code of professional conduct. There are no eligibility criteria for membership. SPGN welcomes

38 | Total Grooming Magazine

any and all groomers, irrespective of location, experience or qualifications, to join. Vendors and other canine professionals are also welcome to join the network. The first regional event being publicised via Facebook - The Language of Grooming, will be held in January 2013 in Ayrshire. Groomer and behaviourist Tracy McCrindle of All Breeds Dog Grooming in Ayrshire says: “This is a one day workshop to introduce groomers to new ways of communicating with their canine clients. Based within a home salon, the format will comprise a mix of presentation, demonstration and discussion. Learning to read the dog, understanding how he learns and teaching him to cooperate on the table will make your working day more enjoyable and rewarding - and much less stressful for you and the dog!” Demand for the event has been brisk, so it is likely that a second date will be announced in due course. A logo competition has been launched to design SPGN’s logo. More information is available on the Facebook site or from Trudy Anderson at or on 01578 730 428. To join, search for Scottish Professional Groomer Network on Facebook.

What it means to be a member of SPGN The basic free membership package gives you the following benefits; • admittance to a closed Facebook page, • invitations to certificated events and, • invitations to locally co-ordinated social outings. Whilst upgrading to the premium membership (£24 per year) you will receive the additional benefits of; • reduced entry fees to certificated events, • a welcome pack, • quarterly e-newsletter, • inclusion in the member directory, • inclusion on the website member map (accessible by everyone including the public), • optional participation in the loan/ share scheme, the visit-a-groomer scheme and the groomer referral scheme, • the opportunity to present or demo at events with a speaker/demo fee included and, • the opportunity to advertise in quarterly e-newsletter, which has limited space for supplies and dog products of national interest.

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Scottish Professional Groomer Network Dana Grant of PUCCI Pet Pamperers, Edinburgh commented: “Because the majority of groomers tend to be self-employed people who are working alone, there isn’t much opportunity to network with other people who are doing the same thing. As a result there can be a feeling of isolation and sometimes mistrust when it comes to “competitors”. Having a network such as this is vital for groomers to learn and share ideas. Networking is important for the industry in order for it to continue to go forward. Personally, I feel like I get so much from networking camaraderie and always learning something new. I hope to be able to give back as much as I’ve got!”

Emma Hunter, 4Legged Trends, Larbert commented: “I am looking forward to meeting other like minded groomers who are not afraid to share their experiences. There are so many talented groomers around Scotland and we need to come together as a group for the advancement of the profession and to instil public confidence in our abilities.”

Carol Miller, Pampered Pets, Bridge of Weir commented: “This group will provide new and established groomers with a forum to ask and answer questions. To further and improve their knowledge on this ever-evolving profession and help highlight the skills dog groomers need to acquire in order to produce lovely grooms and happy customers. I am delighted to be a member and can’t wait to help build this site into the first place groomers turn to for help or share knowledge.”

Tracy McCrindle, All Breeds Dog Grooming, Coylton commented: “I am really excited to be part of SPGN as it forms & develops. Along with helping each other to become the best we can be, it’s a great platform to bring the subject of grooming professionally into the public eye. Scotland often feels a long way away from the major grooming events so if we can supply the benefits of a professional network at grassroots level around the country it can only improve our industry. I can’t wait to share my first love, dog behaviour, with fellow groomers, and am equally excited to learn more from them. It’s a wonderful time to be a Scottish groomer!”

Pamela Reidie, Scruf to Krufts Dog Grooming, Glenrothes commented: “I am delighted to be part of SPGN, especially at inception. Grooming can be an isolating career for many; I believe it will be a very useful arm for groomers by helping support, encourage and by providing a place where groomers can network, benchmark and share experiences. For many years there has been little activity to help and support Scottish groomers. SPGN’s creation should hopefully start to bring an end to this. I’m looking forward to being part of SPGN’s future.”

Martin Bannatyne, Adorable Dogs Professional Dog Grooming, Livingston commented: “SPGN is a fantastic opportunity for groomers to network, further their skills and knowledge base. As professional groomers we should strive to be the best we can, offer support and advice to each other. We should take the fore in our education and help ourselves and others to achieve their potential. I hope SPGN will offer each and every one of us the incentive to attend local seminars, visit other local groomers and share our expertise with each other.”

40 | Total Grooming Magazine

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Inspiration from the east: Asian dog grooming Groomer Pammie Hogg takes a look at one of the latest trends in dog grooming...


ove it or hate it, it’s sweeping the country by storm and us groomers can’t get enough of it. We are fascinated by the styling, by the shapes, by the seemingly endless permutations, and by the technical challenges it presents. Some groomers are just wondering what exactly it is, or what all the fuss is about. Our customers are catching on to it too with groomers reporting that their customers are requesting it – or bits of it – for their dogs. ‘How to do Japanese grooming’ must be high on the list of Google’s most popular search terms lately, with very little coming back to feed our hunger for more knowledge or instruction. Defining it is more difficult than it might seem on the surface. My observations are that different countries have their own slant or style. The Japanese trim styles lean more toward the full, rounded teddy bear or cartoon like appearance, while the Korean or Thai styling seems to put more emphasis on eyes and facial features, with very short, shaved bodies and wide, bell-bottom legs. These trims are more child-like than cartoon, with ribbons and various other

© Margaret Stasiak

42 | Total Grooming Magazine

embellishments added above or on the ears in a pony-tail fashion adding to the illusion and allure.

Growing demand Historically, our trims have been guided by breed standards and based largely on form and function. However, with the explosion in cross breeds or ‘designer dogs’, the demand for alternative trims has been driven – not only by the consumer – but by the professionals who are at a loss to know what to do with many of them, or are bored of creating the same style (usually a standard puppy trim) on these dogs. These days, owners lead busy lives and are requesting hair shorter and easily maintained to fit in, but do not wish to compromise on style. Dog clothing (another love it or loathe it issue) is also influencing styling. The very short sparse body hair with full legs, tails and heads, accommodates the wearing of clothes without the bulk and inevitable matting underneath, that occurs with simple friction and not grooming out adequately. The grooming industry is evolving. Traditional grooming parlours are fast becoming ‘spas’ offering, for instance, pampering, facials, pawdicures and nail varnishes in a variety of colours. The industry is aware that the consumer is demanding more and is indeed providing more, like ‘all natural products’, ionic dryers and nano-bubble technology. If groomers are to succeed in today’s consumer-driven market, we must therefore change with the times and provide the customer with what they want.

© Margaret Stasiak

Controversial styling The eastern styling is not only for cross breeds. Many of the pure breeds are getting furstyles that have nothing to do with the standards laid down by the breed clubs, specialists and the like. The argument over whether it’s right and proper to do so, with purists advocating that owners should not buy a certain breed of dog if they don’t want it to ‘look’ that that breed of dog, will no doubt rage on. However, the owner dictates what they want for their dog, with the groomer either complying or losing the business. With today’s economy, it might be foolhardy to ignore this styling trend. The burning question that everyone wants to know is ‘how’. How exactly is it done? The social networking sites and grooming forums, act as a stage for overseas groomers to showcase their best works, with the likes of Mina Choi from Korea, Irina Smirnova from Russia and Margaret Stasiak from Warsaw leading the way, and showing the UK groomers what we should be aiming

© Margaret Stasiak

for. All state that they do not use products and apart from clippers use only straight shears and thinners. Preparation of the dog is the key in all of these trims. Sadly, there is no magic formula. The key is having the right dog, and preparing the coat.

Suitable breeds The breeds most commonly used for these styles include the Yorkshire and Maltese terrier, shih tzu, poodle and poodle mixes, and mini schnauzer. Not just any dog is suitable. Probably very few of the dogs commonly presented in our salons are indeed suitable. As previously stated, the coat must be well prepared, the dog needs to co-operate, the owner needs to want it done or be willing to think outside the box and allow you to try this creative grooming, and of course time must allow. There are instructional books and magazines or a cross between the two, called ‘mooks’ available mostly from Japan, but they are all written in Japanese and of course read from

back to front. Getting these mooks translated is another challenge. Much of the original text and context gets lost in translation with the technical terminology very difficult for a nongrooming translator to explain. In the absence of UK trainers offering this branch of creative grooming, groomers are beginning to study and interpret the styles for themselves. Carol Millar from Pampered Pets Dog Grooming Academy in Scotland and Trudy Anderson of Furrynuff Dog Grooming also in Scotland are two such enthusiasts.

styling. Customers love it as they are building a style for themselves – pick ‘n’ mix fashion. Word is spreading with a regular trickle of new customers now telephoning and asking for it by name. It offers the customer something different from the standard puppy trim but can be adapted to fit most dogs, fits in with the scheduling and brings repeat business. Colin Taylor recently said that Japanese grooming “comes from the heart”. I would certainly agree as I for one, love it!

Developing the trend

© Carol Miller

44 | Total Grooming Magazine

Of course, not all the elements need be included in a style to satisfy a customer. Parts of the Japanese or Korean trim styles can be used to great effect. I do this for my customers on a daily basis. If the dog is not a suitable candidate, or the owner is unsure about going the whole way, I offer what I call ‘Fusion Grooming’: a kind of east-meets-west

© Margaret Stasiak

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Countdown to British Dog Grooming Championship 2012 Excitement levels are on the up with the Pet Care Trade Association’s most prestigious annual event just around the corner. Here, they update us on the latest news…


ith just a matter of weeks to go before the 2012 British Dog Grooming Championship, competitors will no doubt be honing their skills and ensuring their dogs are sufficiently prepped before the journey to the Kennel Club Building in Stoneleigh Park on Sunday October 28. This year’s event looks set to be a cracker! Aside from all the grooming action taking place in the main halls, there’s a trade show where grooming companies including Dezynadog, Groomers Limited, Mutneys, Red Cape and Simpsons will be exhibiting, and of course there’s the ever-popular selection of grooming demonstrations and seminars taking place in the Seminar Room, to enable visitors and competitors to pick up new skills and tips from expert groomers, and take home advice on their City & Guilds qualifications. See the box on the right for the full line-up of seminars on the day.

Save money by pre-booking Organisers of the event, the Pet Care Trade Association, are encouraging people who want to attend the event to pre-book their tickets – if they haven’t already done so. Tickets for members of the PCTA are £25 on the door, but only £19.50 when pre-booked through the website. The on-the-door price for non-members is £35. The entry deadline for competing in the Championship has now passed, though there may still be space left in some classes. If you are keen to take part call Meriel France on 01234 273933 to see if you are still able to compete. 46 | Total Grooming Magazine

Fancy being a VIP for the day? There’s also still time to upgrade your experience of the British Dog Grooming Championship by signing up for one of a limited number of VIP tickets on offer for the day. Tickets are available exclusively to members of the British Dog Groomers’ Association and

include entry to the show, seminars and demonstrations; a sit-down two-course buffet lunch in private dining room with wine; reserved ring-side seating; a goody bag and set of souvenir photos post-event. The total cost of this experience is £49.50 per person. Email for more information or to book your ticket.

Grooming Demonstration & Seminars Time



10.00 11.30

Grooming Masterclass

Structure and Movement Getting the Best Finish Cat Grooming UK

11:30 – Launch of cat grooming 12:30 qualification and introduction to cat grooming

Demonstrator/ Speaker Colin Taylor




3 pts

Liza Cox and Heidi Anderson LCGI



Zoonotic and Contagious Diseases - Looking after yourself, animals in your care and your salon The Big C The Groomer’s Role in Cancer Detection

Dr Vicki Adams MRCVS



Dr Vicki Adams MRCVS



City & Guilds The 7763-03 Your Questions Answered – Cat Grooming

Liza Cox Quality Assurance co-ordinator for PCTA

12:30 – 13:30


13:30 – Seminar 14.30

14:30 – Seminar 15.30



Launch of new cat grooming qualification As well as all things canine, the event will see the launch of a brand new City & Guilds Cat Grooming qualification. The Level 3 Certificate in Cat Grooming comprises seven units, which include cat breeds and behaviour, handling and restraint, cat diseases as well as techniques and routines for cat grooming and managing the health and welfare of cats in the grooming salon. The PCTA’s education and animal welfare manager, Meriel France, explains: ‘We’re launching this cat grooming qualification, the first of its kind, in response to our groomers who are facing an increasing number of clients requesting this service for their cats. Whilst many groomers are highly proficient in grooming dogs, cats by their nature require a very different approach, and this Certificate should give groomers the confidence to offer this service in their salons.”

Initially, the Certificate in Cat Grooming will be available through PCTA Accredited Training Centres and member Colleges only. To find out more head to the cat grooming taster session at 11.30am in the Seminar

Room at the British Dog Grooming Championship. Find out more about the British Dog Grooming Championship 2012 and the Pet Care Trade Association on their website at

Get safe, informed and legal Courses and networking for animal lovers


o you know what to do if a dog or cat stops breathing in your salon? Is your dog microchip legal? Are you looking to further your skills and offer new services? The Pet Care Trade Association is dedicated to providing training and qualifications to help keep standards in the pet industries high. A full brochure of the courses offered is available but the association is keen to highlight some coming soon that still have availability. They are offering a choice of courses and training opportunities this autumn to help your staff maximise their potential and giving you the chance to increase your product range and services. Places are still available on the following courses: Monday November 12, 2012 Animal First Aid training at Future Inn, Cardiff Bay, CF10 4JY

Tuesday November 13, 2012 Microchipping training, Future Inn, Cardiff Bay, CF10 4JY Monday November 26, 2012 Dog walking and pet sitting course, Bedford Further details on all of these courses, are available from the training and qualifications section of the PCTA website at or by calling 01234 273933. Each participant will receive a PCTA branded certificate and comprehensive course notes. Those signed up to continuing professional development accreditation schemes from AMTRA or the Accredited Pet Care Professional register will receive CPD points, demonstrating their commitment to keeping up to date with skills and knowledge.

A range of seminars will take place throughout the day

Total Grooming Magazine | 47

Stroppy or sore?

Joint pain and the dog groomer

Every dog is different and when grooming it can be difficult to assess whether a dog is acting up and being stroppy or whether it is genuinely sore. Veterinary Physiotherapist Lisa Cleeton offers some advice on how to groom a dog with joint pain and when it’s time to suggest a visit to the vet…


ome owners will know that their animal has joint pain and can forewarn the groomer but other owners may not be aware and it may be that the groomer is the first person to identify an issue. During the process of being washed, dried, groomed and lifted on or off the table a dog’s joints in her limbs and spine will be mobilized. It may be the case that when you flex a limb or extend the spine during a ‘normal grooming action’ that you elicit a pain response from the dog – such as a yelp, growl or whine; being quiet and lethargic; shivering and crying or a decreased appetite. I have tried to go through some of the more common actions and positions that a groomer will require a dog to be in and have highlighted common issues which you may encounter.

Not just a wash & blow dry Before you start worrying that every part of the grooming process may cause the dog discomfort, I thought I would start with how you can actually benefit dogs. Showering the dog is an Showering massages the dogs’ muscles

48 | Total Grooming Magazine

excellent hydrotherapy treatment – dogs which have arthritic spines or other spinal disorders will often have pain along the epaxial muscles (these run along the back). By having good water pressure you will effectively massage the dog’s muscles and help relieve muscular spasms and tension. The warm air in the drying unit will also be relaxing for dogs that live their lives with low grade muscle or joint pain. You may want to extend the time older or arthritic dogs spend in either of these sessions and explain this fact to the owner.

Forelimb Issues Dog groomers have to be able to lift legs in order to clip toenails and trim feet. Having an awareness of the range of motion of the limbs and what is a normal level of flexion and extension of each joint will help you notice if the dog has crepitis, bony changes (the start of osteoarthritis) or fusion in a joint. If a pain response is exhibited (it yelps, growls or squirms) then you should consider the possibility that the dog has an issue in this limb (alternatively it Warm air during drying can be relaxing

could be a behavioural issue – but that is another subject altogether!). This should be reported back to the owner so they can have it investigated by a veterinary surgeon. With older dogs or dogs that seem to be in pain, a different joint angle is often all that is required to ensure the animal is comfortable while you carry out your work. For example the photographs below and at the top of page 50 demonstrate two opposing limb positions – the first is retracting and the second is protraction of the forelimb. Depending on which joint in the limb or digits is affected by either osteoarthritis or soft tissue (ligament, tendon or muscle) acute injury, experimenting with each position will help you to determine which is most comfortable for the dog enabling nails to be clipped and feet trimmed.

Hind limb and hip issues Another very common issue you may encounter is when lifting the hind limb – this could be due to a cruciate Retracting the forelimb

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Total Grooming Magazine | 49

ligament injury within the stifle joint, osteoarthritis within any of the joints or hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia literally means abnormal development of the hip joint, which leads to joint instability and eventually this excessive movement leads to joint degeneration – at any stage in this disease the joint is likely to be painful. The most common breeds affected are Labrador retriever, German shepherds, golden retrievers, rottweiller and Newfoundlands.

Spine issues Great care should be taken when lifting a dog to ensure you keep the spine in a neutral, or level, position. Excessive flexion or extension of the spine can cause pain or may induce micro-fractures in an arthritic dog or damage intervertebral discs, which can lead to paralysis. Spondylosis Deformans is another problem. It is a degenerative condition of the vertebrae in the spine. It can be diagnosed by x-ray, as symptoms include boney spurs growing between the individual vertebrae. Symptoms are stiffness, pain on palpation of the spine or in movement (eg lifting) and restricted range of motion. Supportive slings, like the one pictured below and right, can help support the spine and give the dog groomer access to the limbs without the dog having to balance on three legs and risking damaging the spine. Whilst other dogs, may just be happy in a normal restraint; where they are safe from slipping off the table.

Intervertebral Disc Disease The canine spine has an intervertebral disc between each vertebra, from the second vertebrae in the neck down to the sacrum. The role of the disc is to provide a protective cushioning effect for the spine and to improve flexibility throughout it. Throughout the animal’s life, the disc becomes drier and loses its ability to flex and shock absorb because it loses its soft gelatinous texture. The disc mineralises and becomes calcified. Intervertebral Disc Disease (or IVDD) occurs when changes to the disc take place prematurely in the animal’s lifespan, especially in chondrodystrophic breeds – those 50 | Total Grooming Magazine

with abnormalities of the growth or development of bone or cartilage that result in distinct dwarf characteristics. Commonly affected dog breeds, are basset hounds, dachshunds, cocker spaniels and corgi’s. Symptoms vary depending on the severity but can include some or all of the following: inability to flex or extend neck; sensitive to touch in neck and/or obvious neck pain (cervical IVDD); difficulty walking or standing; dragging of the rear legs; hunched back (thoracolumbar IVDD); uncontrollable/ incontinent bladder and bowel movements; muscle spasm around the affected area; uni or bi-lateral hind or forelimb or all four limbs, can present as weakened or in partial paralysis. This could lead to complete paralysis, in one or more limbs, in severe cases. This disease should be regarded as a veterinary emergency, as paralysis can result if the pressure is not removed from the spinal cord in a matter of hours; so if you are grooming a dog that presents with any of these symptoms you should contact a vet. In general owners should be aware of their pets’ ailments. However you are more likely to be aware than the owner of what is ‘normal’ in a dog’s behaviour or range of motion given your experience and daily handling of a vast number of dogs, thus are more likely to notice any abnormalities. Hopefully this article will have enhanced your knowledge and awareness of some of the more common diseases, obviously there are many more and if you are concerned please do not hesitate to discuss any issues with the owner and urge them to gain veterinary advice. For more information on dog physiotherapy visit Lisa’s website at

Protracting the forelimb Ouch! A severe risk of hip dislocation with this action

Keeping the hind limb under the body is much safer

A sling restraint

Try alternative positions that suit individual dogs

With thanks to Dana Grant of Pucci Pet Pampers for the photographs.

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Total Grooming Magazine October 2012  

Total Grooming Magazine October 2012

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