Beyond the Coat

by Jacqueline Hynes, Madra Mor Canine Spa Treatments


The recent national media attention on negative grooming situations provides an excellent opportunity to advance your facility’s reputation and bottom line. Think about it. In 2008 the media continuously highlighted the downturn in the economy. Millions pulled back and a percentage gave up. A select few viewed the downturn as an opportunity. Wise investors spent time sharpening their saws, strategizing new opportunities to prevail and become multimillionaires and some billionaires. Seize the opportunities from recent media stories to communicate what grooming facilities really are, Canine Wellness Centers. Emphasize the positive.

Here are three suggestions to position  your care as safe “Zenful” canine wellness.

Highlight Wellness Services Already Being Provided By Your Facility

Human groomers, AKA hairdressers, focus on hair. They do not express anal glands, clean ears nor eyes. Even nail care is extra.

Swept under the coat are services part of grooming animals that are very much a part of pet wellness; such as anal gland expression, cleaning eyes and ears and nail trimming. These essential services should be highlighted at every appointment. Take time to inform pet parents how you ACT on behalf of their pets’ wellness. Anal gland expression prevents impactions, infections and abscesses. Cleaning the ears and eyes prevents infection. Trimming nails prevents infection and distortion of skeleton structure.

Communicate your contributions to pet wellness with a check-in or check-out  report card and with your promotional brochures, posters and/or videos.

Highlighting all of the wellness services you provide increases their value while also informing clients that your care goes beyond the coat.

Offer Wellness Services & Products


Beyond the coat is the skin.  Human “groomers” contend with approximately one square foot of skin. Pet groomers manicure entire bodies. Skin is a pet’s largest organ, and its first line of defense yet last to be fed.

Offering products and services to your clients is an opportunity to clearly express your facility’s unique values and specialties. McDonalds asks each client, “Do you want fries with that?” or “Can we super-size your order?” What services & products are you offering?

Offering added wellness services, especially those that nurture and comfort, is an excellent opportunity to convey a health consciousness image. Not offering suggestions leaves clients with only their impressions, and you enter the “commodity zone.” When you are in the commodity zone clients may haggle or beat you down regarding your pricing.

Ninety-percent of pet parents will have to deal with some sort of skin disorder during the life of the pets.

Many dermatitis disorders arise when dogs’ protective barriers do not function properly. Nutrients & lipids are essential for healthy barrier-protection in the epidermis-stratum corneum layer. Offer skin wellness treatments to demonstrate your proactive contribution to the health of their dogs.

“With today’s groom let’s protect Bella’s skin with Madra Mór’s hydrating, nutrient rich mud bath.” Help them to envision the pampering, de-stressing Zenful spa treatment with the added value of the mud absorbing doggy impurities. Let them imagine their pet’s comfort from your feeling for abnormalities while its skin soaks in nutrients and lipids. Take your grooming services beyond the coat with health as well as beauty.

Sometimes nutrients from pet foods and snacks does not meet the demands for healthy pet bodies. Carry probiotics, supplements and in-between skin treatments supporting pet wellness. Consider effective ear and eye cleaners too. Your wellness product selection can add value to time-stressed pet parents and impress upon them the differences offered by your unique grooming facility.

Don’t Fear of Standardized Regulation, Embrace Education, Expand Knowledge

In 1988, few states required Massage Therapists to be licensed. Through the effort of the industry’s association,   educators and dedicated professionals that changed. In 1992 The National  Certification Board for Therapeutic  Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) was born to elevate the reputation of      Massage Therapists by requiring higher academic and training requirements, standardized testing and mandatory continuous education. Today the advancement continues with additional specialized certifications.

Competency testing demonstrates      accurate knowledge. It empowers more confidence and consumer creditability. It is mandatory for all licensed professionals to continuously learn and train and stay informed about advancements within their industry.

Invest in yourself. Personally mandate an allotment of your time to educational training each year, and keep a record of it. If educational training ever becomes a   requirement, you will already have the discipline.

Continuing education foments quality and safety. For example, controlling    canine unpredictable behavior requires knowledge and skills. Today there are many  options to expand knowledge: classes, publications, videos,  webinars, trade shows and supplier open houses. Embrace knowledge.

The more you know about wellness and safety procedures, the more valuable you are to pet parents. Opportunity is barking at your door. Now is the time to go beyond the coat. Get out and stay out of the “commodity zone” by elevating the public’s stereotypical concept of a grooming facility. What you really are is a canine wellness center. You really are beyond the coat.   ■