Learn to Groom Animals
- All types of animals
- Start anytime, study at your own pace
- Scope and Nature of Grooming
Introduction to grooming behaviour
Why do humans groom animals?
What animals are groomed?
Generic grooming tasks
Common tools and equipment
Combs, brushes, rakes, blades and other equipment
Confidently handling animals Introduction
The industry and workplace opportunities
Accessing the right information online
- Animal Biology
Skin – Epidermis & Dermis
Claws, Nails and Spurs
Physiological control – Homeostasis
- Caring for the Skin and Coat
Common skin problems in dogs and cats
Ringworm – fungal infection
Flea and flea control
Ticks and tick control
Lice and control
Mites (mange) and control
Treating skins problems in dogs and cats
Common skin problems in equines
Caring for the coat – brushing, bathing, blow-drying, de-matting, clipping, trimming
Removing burrs from fur
Caring for cats – combing, brushing and bathing
- Specialised Grooming Tasks
Risks of working with animals
Selecting a suitable grooming location
Understanding animal psychology and behaviour
The flight or fight response
Environmental Influence on behaviour in zoo animals
- Handling Animals
General considerations when handling animals
Medical restraint – sedation
Safely handling different animals when grooming: dogs, cats, cattle, poultry, rabbits, etc
Handling Horses: Safe and Respectful
Catching, releasing, leading, tying up and working around the horse
Indicators of pain, mild fear and extreme fear
- Grooming Dogs
Communication in dogs
Use of scent
Barking & body language
Grooming different types of dogs
Long Coat types
short coat types
single coat types
Double coat types
Smooth coat types
Wire haired coat types
Woolly or wavy coat types
Corded coat types
Bald or hairless coat types
Brushing and bathing care
Clipping and styling
Grooming procedures that can go wrong
Cutting toenails too short
Cuts or nicks when clipping
Water trapped in the ear canal
- Grooming Exotic Animals
Grooming captive wildlife
Bathing small and large mammals
Handling large animals and exotics
Fear of humans
Issues with handling animals
Psychological effects of different handling techniques
- Safety in Grooming Workplace
Safety for people and staff – workplace health and safety
Legislation and duty of care
Safety of animal owners and visitors to the premises
A groomer’s personal protection
Equipment and workplace safety
Storage and disposal of chemicals
Handling Tools and Machinery
Safety with tools and equipment
Example of an audit checklist
Safety for animals and people
Safety of the animal at the salon
Electrical safety – at home and the groomers
Slip risk – wet surfaces
Cat and dog allergies
- Preparing for Showing
What is animal showing?
Why do people show pets?
Training your show puppy
Preparing for show – dogs
Days and evening before the show
The day of the show and in the ring
Showing – dress to impress
Getting started – selecting your breed and buying your birds
Preparing birds for show
The day before the show
The day of the show
Preparing cattle for show
In the show ring on the day
- The Business of Grooming Planning a new grooming business
The business plan
Long term goals
Medium term goals
Annual financial plan
Commonly used finance related terminology
Make the business a success – know your market
Insurance and risks – risk analysis and managing risk
Course duration is around 100 nominal hours.
Grooming is for More than just Dogs
Grooming is necessary for health and wellbeing of animals, just as much as it is for appearance. Animals in the wild will often groom themselves, to stay clean and healthy; and when kept as pets, farm animals, or zoo animals; it is important to ensure they are groomed in whatever way is relevant to the type of animal in question.
How Can Large Zoo Animals be Groomed?
In zoos or wildlife parks it is normally the animal keepers responsibility to groom (or bathe) the animals they are trained to work with. Large animals will have a routine which they are used to. Working through a routine aids the animal to feel calm and understand what is going to happen around it. Once the grooming routine has been followed a number of times, the animal is more likely to be understand that there is nothing to be afraid of and it will gradually become more receptive to the grooming.
A nice example of large mammal grooming is bathing elephants. In the wild elephants like to wallow in water holes and will enjoy having ‘mud baths’. The purpose of a mud bath is to help cool the elephant and as such they are critical to the elephant’s survival the often harsh heat. As the mud dries the moisture slowly evaporates from the skin’s surface, the temperature of the animal is kept lower (similar to the way the evaporation of sweat from the human skin is designed to keep reduce our temperatures). The mud layer over the skin surface of the elephant is also designed to reduce direct UV rays from damaging or burning the skin surface.
In the wildlife park under enrichment guidelines, the elephants may be lucky enough to have artificial (man-made) watering hole to allow them to carry out this natural grooming behaviour and will be able to wallow. Elephants are particularly playful and will enjoy passing time by slipping and sliding around in muddy water. This activity also helps reduce the weight bearing from the joints and limbs which may give the elephants some relief.
The keepers need to be able to wash elephants at times though and the process is pretty simple. The elephants are trained to line up or stand quietly whilst being initially being hosed off. The water should not be hot or cold. Tepid or room temperature water is usually best. Once the elephants are hosed and large dirt debris cleaned away from the skins surface, smaller dirt particles can also be removed by brushing the elephant with a long handle brush. Some obedient and well trained elephants can be instructed to lie down on their side whilst you brush them. The brush should be soapy from gentle washing detergent which makes an excellent product to use. There will be tremendous amounts of water from bathing an elephant so care is needed to ensure you select the right place to carry out the task to avoid mud and slipping. Some drains in the ground are very useful.
Once the skin has been brushed the feet and nails should also be washed thoroughly with a hard brush. This is a great opportunity for the keeper to check the animal for cuts or similar.
Why do we need to Groom?
The study of animal grooming deliberates and provides techniques on how to correctly groom an animal. A course in animal grooming should not only consist of grooming techniques, but also factors on animal biology, grooming and restraining tools, animal handling and, of course, health and safety.
It is important to have the availability of animal grooming courses so people can complete their dream of becoming a professional animal groomer, or perhaps wish to be involved in encouraging and teaching owners to understand the grooming requirements of their pets. Grooming an animal is not simply on the list of animal husbandry duties just to make the animal look good, it is there because:
It benefits the animal's health
Ungroomed fur becomes matted which will be uncomfortable for the animal. There could also be the presence of ectoparasites which go unseen, causing sores and infection, and furthermore the risk of disease.
It supports animal welfare
An ungroomed, matted animal becomes a welfare concern due to neglect as this is putting the health of the animal at risk. By having pets groomed from a young will encourage the animal to become accustomed to being groomed, resulting in better welfare for that animal.
It is good animal husbandry
Grooming an animal is for similar reasons as we brush our hair, wash our hair, or clean our teeth!! We need to look after ourselves, and when we own an animal it is our duty, as the owner, to ensure all husbandry and care is carried out.
It builds human-animal bonding.
Grooming is one way for a person to bond with an animal. When an owner grooms their pet, this is ultimately a bonding session between owner and pet.
Do Cats need Grooming?
All cats need some grooming; but there are many different types of cat, and some need greater attention than others.
Short Haired Cats
- Fine tooth comb, fine tooth flea comb
- Short haired de-shedding tool
- Bristle brush
- Groom pad, or mitt
The technique for grooming short haired cats is to use the comb, or de-shedding tool, from the head down towards the tail, and in the direction of the hair growth. If the cat allows it, the bristle brush can be used to perform upward sweeps from tail to tip to bring any loose hairs to the surface. Cats do not appreciate this sensation and only some cats will tolerate this, so if the cat is not enjoying it then it must be stopped as the main aim is to groom with minimising of stress. The pad, or mitt, can then be used to clear and remove any loosened hair.
Long Haired cats
- Wide toothed comb
- Long haired de-shedding tool
- Groom pad, or mitt
The best technique for long haired cats is to initially stimulate the hair at the roots with fingers, then use the comb, or de-shedding tool, brushing gently from head to tail, and in the direction of hair growth. This must be done gently and carefully to ensure that the hair is not pulled, or any matts are caught in the comb. If the cat is groomed frequently and adequately for its coat type then there should be very limited matts, if any. Pay careful attention to the armpits and hind legs, as the hairs here can be prone to matting and the skin here is very thin and sensitive. Between the toe pads are also prone to matting. Try to avoid the use of scissors as this will involve pulling the matt tight causing pain, and it is very hazardous so near to the skin. Try teasing the matt apart with fingers, and use a cat specific detangling spray
If matting is severe, or will cause the cat too much stress to detangle, then it is probably best to use clippers. If the cat is calm enough then this may be tried by a professional groomer, however, if the cat is stressed then he will most likely need to be sedated and this will need to be carried out at a veterinary practice.
Pet owners may use a professional groomer to clip or style long haired cats. Using clippers, or scissors, for styling should be done extremely carefully, if done at all. The cats should never be under stress and should never be cut to close to the skin. Professional groomers should have completed specific grooming courses, and have appropriate experience, to ensure they understand the feline species and techniques which can be used.
Who can benefit from studying animal grooming?
Anyone with a love and care for animals can benefit from a course in animal grooming. You may be an owner wishing to know more about how to care for your animals, or perhaps someone who is looking to change their passion into their career.
Professional people who work within the animal care industry may require CPD (Continued Professional Development) and wish to direct their career path towards grooming.
How to Build a Business or Career in Grooming?
As it is quite a specific subject, there are not masses of courses available and courses tend to be short in duration. This course provides good theoretical knowledge which is a solid starting point. Once you have that foundation, you are going to learn the practical aspects of grooming so much easier, faster, and more thoroughly.
Some graduates will continue to learn by finding employment, within the animal or pet industry (eg. paid employment or volunteering - perhaps a dog kennel, animal shelter, pet shop, etc). Getting involved with a dog show, horse show, or other such events may allow you to see different animals getting groomed and perhaps start to get some hands on practice. Working in a veterinary surgery, a zoo, or on a farm may also provide opportunities to develop your hands on skills.
Few countries regulate animal grooming to any great degree; though animal health and welfare laws do exist; and it is important to understand and comply with such laws.
There may be no legal requirements to start up a business grooming dogs or other animals. You may not be required to register your business or join any organization; but to be successful in a grooming business you do need to follow the law, understand how to groom, and also have a capacity to run a business.
Our staff can help you with all of these things.
Before going any further - talk to us.
Advice is free -and from our animal husbandry specialists, it can make a big difference to your career prospects.