Dog grooming can be a wonderful business, but it doesn’t come without risk. The trick is to recognise all the potential risks and take steps to prevent them from happening. This is also known as developing a risk minimisation plan.

From dogs escaping and clients slipping to dog fights and injuries—there is a lot that can go wrong in a dog grooming business. Of course, that’s not to put you off. Minimising risk is all about forward planning and taking utmost care to protect the health and wellbeing of your clients (furry and human!).

What could go wrong?

Whether this is an urban myth, I really do not know but have you heard the story about the dog that jumped off a grooming table and through a glass window to get to its owner who was walking past outside?

Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there. The commotion caused a car accident, which resulted in millions of dollars. I think it’s fair to say the groomer went through a great deal of financial and emotional stress over the entire ordeal.

Yet, aside from pets leaping off grooming tables, there are myriad other things that can go wrong in a dog grooming business.

  • What happens if a dog makes a mad dash and escapes as a client enters your salon?
  • Worse still, what if the escaped dog gets hit by a car or attacks a passer-by out of sheer fear?
  • What if two dogs in your salon come into contact with each other and suddenly start fighting?
  • Imagine if water spills on the floor and a client walks in and slips?

There are so many things that can and do go wrong. And while it’s nice to only think about the good things in business, it really pays to consider what could go bad.

How to minimise risk

It is absolutely worth the time and effort to assess your dog grooming salon, identify the potential risks and come up with a few action points that can help minimise risk.

To identify potential hazards, the Dog Grooming Association of Western Australia recommends the following actions.

  • Perform a physical inspection of the workplace
  • Compile a thorough list of the duties, services and activities that are carried out and the risks associated with each one
  • Look at previous accidents or injuries that have happened
  • Check the safety instructions/warnings on equipment and suppliers and ensure they are being adhered to
  • Talk to other groomers to find out what hazards or accidents they have experienced

Of course, once you have identified any potential hazards, it’s important to make plans to prevent these accidents from happening. Here are a few steps you can take to help minimise the risk to your dog grooming business.

  • Put together a code of practice that all employees must adhere to
  • Make it easy for employees to identify any potential issues, without fear of being persecuted
  • Have regular checks in place to identify any problems and rectify them before a hazard or accident occurs
  • Encourage employees to be responsible for their own workspaces
  • Take out customised insurance cover for your pet grooming business

Protecting your dog grooming business

It’s important to note that risk minimisation isn’t a one-off action. It is part of your ongoing duty of care, so it is something that needs to be constantly considered. All of the above steps need to be performed regularly and kept top of mind.

In addition, there are many more rules that should be adhered to. This includes:

  • Never leave a dog unattended (whether harnessed or not). A cage can be used to ensure the dog’s safety. Even if it’s only for a couple of minutes, taking this precaution is essential.
  • Do not allow dogs to have even the slightest contact. You never know when a fight might break out.
  • Keep pets on a lead and separate at all times.
  • Immediately address any water, waste or product spills.
  • Use a harness, rather than a collar and leash to secure dogs.
  • Always keep risk minimisation practices top of mind.

Whether you’re a mobile groomer or have a bricks-and-mortar business, these are important considerations to keep in mind to help minimise risk to your business.

Related posts:

Avoiding dog grooming injuries

Pet grooming insurance: is it worth it?

How to make your grooming business more eco-friendly

Image source: The Academy of Pet Careers

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Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure for the past 12 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals.

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