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11 Essential Ergonomic Tips for Professional Dog Groomers

Updated: May 24

Groomer Nation tips and advice to help you stay comfortable and safe at work!


If you're a pet groomer, then you know the importance of having good ergonomics. After all, spending hours hunched over grooming a dog or cat can be extremely strenuous on your body. It can lead to pain and strain in your neck, shoulders, back, and hands.


If you're looking for some tips to improve your grooming ergonomics then look no further as we've compiled some of the best advice from expert groomers to help make your job a little bit easier.


Ergonomics is vital in our grooming rooms for longevity.


Burnout is a real concern in the grooming industry, often stemming from the physical toll it takes on our bodies. The repetitive motions and awkward positions can lead to strains and injuries over time. However, practicing good ergonomics can greatly reduce these risks.


The harmful effects of prolonged standing are well-known. From back pain to poor posture, research has shown that our bodies were never meant to stand for hours on end.


Prolonged standing can cause:


  • High blood pressure

  • Plantar fasciitis

  • Knee or hip arthritis

  • Bunions

  • Chronic heart and circulatory disorders

  • Poor posture (and its effects)

  • Knee problems

  • Stretched Achilles tendon (tendonitis)

  • Joint damage

  • Stiffness in the neck and shoulders

  • Shoulder pain

  • Musculoskeletal disorders

  • Sore feet

  • Swelling of the legs & feet

  • Varicose veins

  • General muscular fatigue

  • General back pain


Here are some tips to help you throughout your day to increase your longevity in business


1. Varied table heights


Try adjusting your table throughout the day to different heights. If you have a hydraulic or electric table then this is ideal. If your table is positioned permanently, consider a second table that can be moved up or down. Additionally, an adjustable table allows groomers to position the dog at the optimal height for each size breed, minimising awkward angles and repetitive motions that can lead to muscle fatigue and discomfort. Sometimes when we are caught up in a busy day we forget to adjust the table and tend to lean in or down to groom, try adjusting the table regularly to release tension in the shoulders and back.

2. Sitting during the grooming process


Try sitting for 10 minutes per dog to give your body a different position during the groom. Change the position also of where your arms and shoulders are. There are great grooming stools available. I recommend you contact your grooming wholesaler or browse a wholesale hairdressing website to check out the varying chairs available.


eBay is also another site to find a good grooming chair. These chairs are generally on wheels and are adjustable up and down to suit the height of your grooming table also.


3. Anti-fatigue mats are a must-have


An anti-fatigue mat at each of your stations is important this includes your bathing area, drying area, telephone area, and grooming area. Speak to your grooming wholesaler regarding these mats. Other options include trying Bunnings or your local hardware store.


4. Stretching throughout your day


Take 5 minutes out whenever you can to give yourself some safe stretching exercise. There are numerous stretching techniques that are available on the internet or even better, ask your physio or chiropractor. This helps to increase blood flow and can give you a little skip in your step for the rest of the day.


Try a little yoga! There is plenty of routines you can find on the internet. Try in the mornings before work if you have the time as it helps stretch your muscles for a big day at work. I personally have a rubber roller that I use or you can roll a couple of towels. I also purchased a cheap yoga mat from Kmart and keep it in the salon. I pop that on the floor during the day and use my roller to lie on and stretch out my back. Figure 8 hip rotations is also another great one to try.


The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as the relaxing breath, is a simple yet powerful exercise that can help calm the mind and body. To practice this technique, start by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of four seconds. Hold your breath for a count of seven seconds, then slowly exhale through your mouth for a count of eight seconds. Repeat this cycle four times or as needed.

 

By taking a moment to center ourselves and reduce our stress, we can help ensure a more positive grooming experience for both us and our dogs. This technique can help reduce stress and anxiety by activating the body's relaxation response. By taking slow, deep breaths, you can increase the oxygen flow to your brain, which can help promote a sense of calmness and clarity. Additionally, the extended exhalation helps to release tension and relax the muscles, leading to a feeling of relaxation and well-being.


5. Good shoes


Purchasing the correct footwear is a must to help you throughout your day. Investing in a decent pair of shoes can prevent long-term injuries. Yes, shoes can be expensive but they are an imperative part of our job to keep your feet happy.


Incorporate shoes into your budget alongside your tools like shampoos and general grooming purchases. You wouldn’t put bald cheap tires on my car so why put cheap shoes on your feet? When I first started grooming I wore cheap shoes with no arches or support. As the years went on I started to have issues. First, it was Plantar fasciitis which in itself is very painful and ongoing and leads to knee, hip, and back issues.


I highly recommend going to a shoe shop that may have an in-house podiatrist or a good sports shoe shop that can recommend the right shoe for you. Inserts are available for shoes at all chemists also.

6. Don’t groom while you're on your phone


I know we are all so busy and at times have to keep working when taking a work call, don’t crick your neck to support the phone while grooming. You will strain the muscles in your neck and shoulder by angling your neck in that position for even a few minutes. It’s not a natural way to stand and you may find yourself with a sore neck the next day. It can also be dangerous while trying to groom a dog.


Regardless of if you have a landline phone or mobile do yourself a favour and invest in a phone that can either take a blue tooth headset or a phone that supports headphones. Places like Officeworks normally have landline phones that will support headphones. Otherwise, pop it on hands-free speaker if you must continue to work.


7. Compression socks or grooming tights


Compression socks and tights are well known among people suffering from leg or foot problems or for long flights but they can also have benefits for hard-working groomers are who on their feet all day this included reduced fatigue to muscles, and more efficient blood flow. They also assist with reducing delayed onset muscle soreness.


8. Lumbar support


Lumbar support belts can be a game-changer for dog groomers, offering crucial posture support and muscle relief during long grooming sessions. These belts promote proper spine alignment, reducing strain and fatigue, especially in the lower back. Lumbar support belts can aid in posture and provide support for your entire body. Check out your local chemist of Chiropractor

9. Massage



Pamper yourself, busy groomers! Treat yourself to a relaxing massage – it's the best part of the week! Set aside a few dollars weekly for a half-hour session because you deserve it! Check your private health cover, as most include an annual amount for "remedial" massages in your extras. If you don't have private health cover, shop around for a local masseuse – many are reasonably priced. You can even find masseuse schools offering discounted massages! And if all else fails, try asking a family member to give you a massage – just be prepared for the "I owe you" list to come out!


10. Stay hydrated, Stay Balanced


Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial to prevent burnout and promote overall well-being. Taking time out to do the things that bring you joy and relaxation can help recharge your batteries. Additionally, prioritising healthy eating, especially at work, is important. Skipping meals due to a busy schedule can lead to fatigue and decreased productivity, so it's essential to look after yourself by eating nutritious meals and taking breaks to nourish your body and mind.


Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential ( this doesn’t include the water in your coffee or tea or the evening bevy ☺ ) Water will aid in not only thirst but will help with energy levels as it delivers oxygen throughout the body because our blood is more than 90 percent water, and blood carries oxygen to different parts of the body, keeping hydrated helps maintain blood pressure. Lack of water can cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure, there is a suggestion that staying hydrated can also regulate body temperature.

11. Tool Organisation

Arrange your workstation to minimise the need for twisting or bending, keeping frequently used tools within easy reach, keep your grooming tools organised and within easy reach. There are great caddies and tool holders available at your grooming wholesalers. If you don't have room near your table, a trolley from Kmart is perfect to keep your must-have tools at reach


At the end of the day, we at Groomer Nation want you to love your job and have a long, healthy career. Taking care of yourself at work is one step in the right direction. We hope you’ll find these ergonomic tips useful and that they help you stay healthy and injury-free for many years to come. Remember to drink plenty of water, take breaks to move around, and wear good shoes. Most importantly, listen to your body – it will tell you when it’s time for a break.


Thanks for reading!





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