Relax at any promenade in India and observe your surroundings. In a span of half an hour, you will observe at least 20 pet owners hitting the jogging track with their pet. Ask any professional pet groomer the number of clients they get daily – not less than 12. In terms of remuneration and giving an opportunity to follow your love for animals, pet grooming is the bingo-hit for animal lovers.
Many perceive pet grooming to be just about giving the pet a bath and then brushing its hair. It’s much more. There are several institutes and academies in India and abroad that offer professional pet grooming courses. Essentially, the course involves:
• Basic level: Includes bathing, brushing, drying and how to use the equipments in a pet salon. Lessons on different breeds of an animal, their traits and behaviourisms are delivered with emphasis on handling animals.
• Advanced level: Includes training in identifying if an animal is ill, advanced scissoring, shaping and specific styling for specific breeds (like poodle cut, terrier cut, etc). Course durations vary from institute to institute.
After one completes the course, training under a well-known, certified pet groomer adds to one’s experience and skills considerably. One gains knowledge of other intricate aspects like different cuts based on climatic conditions.
Cookkie Khanna, owner of Top Dog says, “One has to be an animal lover to get into this field.” The client in a beauty parlour sits with ease as the beautician does her job, but animals, on the other hand, might get restless. Cookkie Khanna feels patience,compassion and passion are essential qualities. “Pets can be shaky and scared when a pet groomer is handlingthem, so one must ensure not to hurt them or cut them. It’s okay if you get bitten.” she says.
Dealing with aggressive pets is definitely a challenge. Preeti and Sanjeev Kumar, owners Pet Bytes & Scoopy Scrub, say, “As pet lovers we hardly see any challenges in this field, though one has to be careful and cautious while working with frisky and aggressive pets. One must use their training to good effect while doing so.”
More than Just Grooming!
Many do it just for the money. A bath, brush and job done! But an ethical pet groomer also has to detect signs of illness and infection in a pet. Cookkie Khanna says that while grooming, one must be able to detect certain signs (if any) that indicate the pet is ill or carrying an infection, for instance, if the pet is secreting any green liquid, it is a symptom of an illness. Also, details like nails embedded in the skin need to be detected and one needs to know about future action. There
have been numerous instances of a pet being saved by a pet groomer. Gauri
Keskar, co-owner of Tailwaggers Pet Salon and Spa, says that it is essential to know which trim and cut has to be given to a pet, depending on the climate and pet’s bodily mechanism.
A Day from the Diary
A typical day of a pet groomer involves looking into the day’s appointments
and giving pets different kinds of baths, skin treatments, oil massages, clippings, etc. If one is an owner of a pet salon, then they also need to meet prospective franchises, take rounds in branches (if any) and plan shows.
Scope and Prospects
The concept of pet grooming began abroad and it arrived in India only a few years ago. As there is a shortage of professional pet grooming parlours in India, Preeti and Sanjeev Kumar feel that instead of choosing this as a salaried profession, one must look at this as a business opportunity. With most people being occupied with work and not having the time to even look after their health, the profession of pet grooming is a saviour for people’s pets. Cookkie Khanna says that people are slowly realising that their pets’ upkeep is important. “Also, specific cuts like a poodle cut can’t be given at home by someone untrained,” she adds. Currently, most pet salons mainly cater to dogs and cats. In a few years, the prospects would widen and include other animals.
According to Gauri Keskar, as a trainee, one gets Rs. 7,500 to 8,000 in hand. Gradually, once one’s skill enhances, he/she can get Rs. 25,000. Cookkie Khanna says, “If one wants to eventually start his own salon, taking into account costs of setting up a salon, advertising, public relations and other overhead expenses, an
investment of Rs. 15 to 20 lakhs is required.” As this field is coming into its own, the remuneration too is turning attractive. Preeti and Sanjeev Kumar think that with the right approach, positioning and timing, an individual would be making Rs. 50, 000 by the end or within the first year and it should only get better thereon.
Funny Requests Come with the Job
As a pet groomer, laugh riot sessions are nothing new. Gauri gets requests to apply bright nail paints to pets’ nails. Cookkie too has got hilarious requests: Could you please dye my black Labrador blonde?’ and here’s the topper- “Could you give my pet the Ghajini cut?” One customer insisted that Preeti and Sanjeev
Kumar braid all the hair on their Shih- Tzu’s body.
Luxury or Necessity?
Earlier, taking the pet to the salon was a luxury, something only the very rich could splurge on. Eventually, with growing awareness on hygiene and upkeep, the proportion of pet owners who would take their pets to salon began rising. Today, with heightened significance on glamour, show and health, the pet salon has turned into a necessity for pet owners. Rather than viewing it as an avenue for splurging money, pet owners take it as an investment for their pets’ health.
Check out where Indian pet groomers also venture into:
Pet ramp walks
Pet birthday parties
Pet wedding shows
Fuzzy Wuzzy, Bangalore
Top Dog, Mumbai
Scooby Scrub, New Delhi
New York School of Dog Grooming
Canine Design Academy of Grooming, UK
Volume 2 Issue 6