Let's be honest, grooming senior pets can be stressful and scary – for everybody!
Here are my top four ways to creating a more comfortable experience for senior pets during the grooming process:
1. Understand Their Specific Needs
Ensuring you have a clear understanding of the animal’s medical or physical needs is essential for safety and comfort.
It's common for older pets to have an array of medical and physical problems. Having an open conversation with their owners beforehand will put their mind at ease and allow you to determine which grooming and handling techniques are best suited for their pet.
For example, aging pets may be suffering with arthritis or joint pain. These pets tend to have difficulty standing or are more sensitive when it comes to physical handling. Belly bands or hammocks are excellent tools for those who struggle with this.
2. Be Prepared to Suggest a New Trim
We all want happy customers, but with senior pets, owners may not always get the haircut style they want. The grooming process itself could take hours and may require a lot of standing to achieve the owner's desired style choice.
Instead, the pet should always be groomed for what's best suited to their needs and comfort. At particular life stages, style and aesthetics shouldn’t be more important than comfort and practicality. I've often had to explain this to customers, which is difficult.
Suggesting a lower maintenance clip that can be completed more comfortably and in less time is always a good suggestion. Shorter, lower maintenance breed clips can be completed much faster and keep hair from matting and tangling, since most senior fur-babies lounge and blissfully sleep their days away.
3. Use Gentle Products and Tools
Sensitive skin due to age and thinning coats is extremely common, and, therefore, choosing the right product is essential. For example, my personal favorite shampoo to use for older fur babies is Bark2Basics Skin Remedy. This shampoo is invigorating, and I find it's perfect for sensitive, dry, flaky skin.
4. Schedule the Right Time to Set the Mood
Elderly pets may not see or hear the best, but they can still read our energy. I’m a firm believer in pets having that amazing ability. For that reason alone, it’s important the space around them is not “off.”
Set the mood, or as we call it at The Paw Shop – our vibe. Do your best to not book senior pets on days with a high volume of clients or during a time when you yourself feel more stressed, overwhelmed or anxious.
Seniors can be sensitive and may require more patience. Creating the right atmosphere will help keep them from becoming overly anxious and nervous during their groom. Try creating a stable environment that is comfortable and emotionally consistent for them.
As professional groomers, ensuring wellness, safety and comfort should be our top priority. By properly understanding your elderly clients’ individual needs, giving them appropriate style trims, using gentle products, scheduling their appointments at the best times and providing the right atmosphere, you’ll ensure a more comfortable salon experience. And the extra TLC they deserve will come naturally.