Professional pet care can take many forms, from veterinary services and obedience training to pet-sitting and dog-walking. Among these, grooming is one service that pet owners seek out to keep their beloved companions both healthy and happy, and their expectations are high for professionalism and safety.
For the groomer, there are many facets to providing skilled and satisfactory results. Above all, the service provider must make every effort to ensure the safety of both pets and the professionals who physically handle grooming that may include frequent contact with products like medicated shampoos, ointments, or flea and tick treatments.
Protective Apparel for Dog Grooming
Tips and tricks abound for keeping four-legged customers calm during grooming sessions. There are many effective tools on the market that offer gentle and secure restraint. Maintaining a calm demeanor and using soothing tones, incorporating products with aromatherapy elements, and even playing quiet music can help create a relaxing atmosphere for pets that may become anxious during the grooming process.
Along with setting the appropriate tone for a positive experience, pet grooming professionals should set the tone for safety by choosing the right range of protective apparel for everyone involved in the pet care process. While the “guests” may provide unique challenges in their behavior, groomers are also tasked with handling potentially irritating or hazardous chemical-based materials as well as working around airborne hair and dander.
There is no single pet grooming uniform, but the type of personal protective equipment (PPE) and dog grooming apparel that should be considered includes:
- Closed-toe shoes with non-slip soles
- Respiratory protection
- Skin protection including gloves, arm coverings, and full-length pants to ensure against bites and scratches
- Hearing protection
- Eye protection
Those concerned with workplace style may seek out fashion-friendly dog grooming smocks and the like, but the main feature of all apparel should be its effectiveness in reducing the potential for injuries and irritation – to pets and groomers themselves.
How to Choose the Right PPE
To determine which personal protective equipment will best fit your grooming needs, consider each aspect of the process:
While some animal handling tasks may require leather gloves, high-quality disposable gloves are a better choice as dog groom gloves. Easy access to freshly dispensed exam gloves allows for frequent changing that ensures good hand hygiene for the groomer and prevents cross-contamination between pets.
Handling chemical-based products and the application of special medicated shampoos or ointments requires barrier protection like that offered by nitrile gloves such as the Tronex 9010 Series and the 12” extended cuff Tronex 9662 Series. Fit and comfort, along with chemical resistance, are important factors when choosing a frequent-use daily glove.
These nitrile styles feature heavy-duty protection along with excellent elasticity and a second-skin feel, making them ideal for tasks that require long wear and those that may result in scratches from pet nails. As small cuts and abrasions can sometimes occur, on both pets and groomers, the added benefit of cross-contamination protection from gloves of this quality is invaluable.
Gloves should also be worn when cleaning cages and grooming areas. Look for heavy duty gloves that offer a secure, comfortable fit like Tronex Multipurpose Flock-Lined Latex Gloves.
Comfortable protective apparel is of paramount importance. Pet grooming aprons, smocks and jackets are available in various fabrics and styles that resist pet hair and wash easily. Including disposable apparel, such as fluid impervious medical gowns that are perfect for covering up during splashy bathing and handy pull-on sleeve covers for extended arm protection, along with reusable dog grooming outfits is a great way to offer alternative options for staff.
In some circumstances, disposable face masks may be advisable. They can offer comfort and protection against an abundance of pet hair blowing into the nose or mouth during grooming, hair or dander triggering allergic reaction, or the inhalation of other airborne particles.
There are certainly many options to consider when choosing the right protective equipment and apparel for safe pet care. Above all, the products you choose should be of the highest quality that meets your budget and needs. Happy and safe grooming to all!