Posted: October 22, 2013, 3:30 p.m. EDT
The newest lower-descending models reduce stress and strain for both groomers and their canine clients.
By Cheryl Reeves
Professional groomers asked for innovation in grooming tables; equipment manufacturers answered their calls. Various feats of engineering include electronic tables that save groomers’ backs from job-related injuries, tables with more durable frames and arm holders, and hybrid table/tub units that offer more versatility and floor space-saving value.
According to Lori Haraske, director of product development hardlines for PetEdge in Beverly, Mass., it’s important to communicate regularly with groomers to stay in tune with their needs. With this knowledge, Haraske said, her company is able to create innovative, high-quality products—or even new categories—to satisfy customers’ requirements.
Nancy Apatow, president of PetLift Equipment Corp. in Bradenton, Fla., said that her company is always looking for feedback from groomers.
"What we’ve been hearing is a demand for more ergonomic electric tables that descend lower to alleviate the need for heavy lifting,” said Apatow. "Grooming professionals also desire a sturdy, stable table that’s built to last.”
Carrie Brenner/i-5 Publishing at Lucky Paws Grooming
With so much grooming equipment flooding the market, and at such a variety of price points, Apatow said it’s important to consider the old adage ‘you get what you pay for,’ and that tables should not be bought based on price alone.
"When making a table purchase, groomers need to understand the value involved in choosing a quality USA manufacturer that offers fast and easy component repair and/or replacements—as well as integrity of design materials,” said Apatow. "At first, you may think you are getting a deal by saving money on these foreign products, but what you will most likely get is a table that is smaller than industry standard size, a table that wobbles or wiggles during use because of poor quality casters and, even worse, inability to get parts replaced when necessary.”
New Table Models Arrive
PetEdge’s new fall 2013 product line addresses a busy grooming shop’s desire for versatility and space optimization.
"Our new Master Equipment Groomer Combo Tub/Table is engineered with rust-resistant, 14-gauge, 304-type stainless steel and has a tub backsplash that folds down flat over the tub basin to form a grooming table,” said Haraske. The tub’s backsplash outer side features a textured nonskid black rubber surface that makes for a convenient tabletop for all grooming needs, she said.
Another PetEdge table trending well with groomers is the Master Equipment X-Tend Electric Grooming Table that offers quiet and smooth-running accordion-style lift that adjusts in height from 11 inches at its lowest point up to a height of 47.5 inches with the touch of a pedal, Haraske said.
Cassandra Cooper, the master groomer at Happy Tails Pet Spa & Resort in Wellington, Fla., said an increase in height is a huge relief for groomers like her who are tall.
"I’m 5 foot 8, and it makes my job so much easier to use an electric table that, with the mere push of a button, can rise to an appropriate level for me,” she said.
Yankee Clipper in Rockport, Maine, has five electric grooming tables and one hydraulic.
"The hydraulic is for use in the bathing area where there is no electrical outlet,” said Liz Czak, the shop’s owner. "The newer electric tables that go down very low make working so much faster and easier—for the dogs and for us groomers.”
Another manufacturer that is catering to the demand for greater depth and height is PetLift: The company’s newest model is its MasterLift Electric Fixed Top Grooming Table that lowers to 12 inches, raises to 42 inches and is designed to lift up to 375 pounds. The table also features control pedals on both sides, a duplex outlet and a moisture-resistant plywood surface covered by a heavy-duty, nonskid mat, according to the company.
"This is a workhorse of a table that can take a lot of wear and tear,” said Apatow.
To help groomers achieve maximum comfort in the workplace, Tim Dressen, president of Groomer’s Best in Brandon, S.D., said his company recently launched the New Low Profile Electric Grooming Table that, in addition to electronically lowering to 12.5 inches, also features easily accessible drawers that can conveniently store a variety of grooming accessories, such as clippers, scissors and more.
"Further, to innovate on-table stability, we’ve added 10-gauge steel parts for reinforcement,” said Dressen.
Michelle Austin, director of marketing/purchasing at Ryan’s Pet Supplies, a manufacturer in Phoenix, said her company’s most popular table is its Paw Brothers brand Professional Low-Low Super Electric Grooming Table.
While cats and dogs wait for their turn to be groomed at the salon, housing them in the cleanest and most secure cages is an imperative, said Tim Dressen, president of Groomer’s Best in Brandon, S.D.
His company’s mobile dog cage banks come in a variety of sizes and have lockable casters, and each unit offers a floor grate over a slanted floor, which allows dog waste to flow down a channel in the back into a waste container at the bottom of the cage, Dressen said.
"Because of the advanced drainage system, these cages can be easily cleaned just by spraying them off,” he said.
For feline grooming clients, the Cat Condo With Litterbox units can be stacked up to three high or used separately on a countertop, he said, adding that a mobile cart is also available that’s designed for easy maneuvering.
"Remember, when choosing cages and kennels for your grooming facility,” said Dressen, "these are the top features to consider: secure locks, user friendly, durability, easy to clean and, above all, sanitary.”—CR
"Groomers really like the fact that this table lowers all the way down to 10 inches off the ground, making it easy to get dogs on it without any back strain,” she said.
A Table Is Only as Good as Its Parts
PetLift is always highly focused on engineering for component improvements, said Apatow. From nonskid tabletops to tension springs, clamps, wiring and motors, she noted, the quality of a table is only as good as its parts.
Ryan’s Pet Supplies recently redesigned and improved its table arm holders, reinforcing them with solid steel and fully integrating them with the table frame, Austin said.
Stronger grooming table arms would be welcome, said Vanessa Lozoya, manager at Sydnee’s Pet Grooming in San Marcos, Calif.
"The arms are usually the first part of a table to go and that need to be replaced,” she said.
"Especially when a groomer has a lot of large, strong dogs to groom.”
Yankee Clipper’s Czak said she wishes that manufacturers would find a way to make easier-to-clean nonskid tabletop material.
"Dirt gets lodged in the nubby ridges, so it takes awhile to scrub,” said Czak, adding that she’d also like to see more choices in tabletop colors rather than just "boring black.”
Restraints, designed to keep a dog secure on the table, play a big role in maintaining both pet and groomer safety, along with allowing for a faster groom.
To this end, said Haraske, PetEdge’s Master Equipment Overhead Grooming Arm delivers maximum restraint options.
"This product is made of heavy-duty tubular steel and has two vertical 48-inch posts that clamp to each end of a 36- to 48-inch grooming table. In addition, the overhead horizontal connector bar has a total of 12 grooming loop placement options to keep pets secured in several restraint variations.”
PetLift offers the Clamp-on Double X-tenda Grooming Post, a heavy-duty spring-loaded restraint mechanism that’s fabricated of 14-gauge stainless steel and allows one-hand height adjustment while holding the animal with the other, Apatow said. The restraint post adjusts in height from 12 inches to 40 inches and extends from 36 inches to 42 inches in length.
Another great restraint system, said Apatow, is the Groomer’s Helper pet safety and positioning system created by Chuck Simons.
"I always like to promote this restraint system—even though it is not one of my company’s products—because it is a really well-designed product that keeps both the groomer and the pet safe using a loop and clips that minimize struggling with a pet,” she said, adding that the product effectively and comfortably limits a dog’s movements on the grooming table.
In the end, said Apatow, most pet owners want to treat their dog to a high-quality grooming experience at a state-of-the-art grooming facility.
"Invest in the best durable equipment,” she said, "and you will save in the long-term.”
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