Preventing Compassion Fatigue within the Grooming Salon


Monique is on the grooming desk, and though she is a Maltese, she turns right into a T. rex once you contact her toes. You want to ship her residence as an alternative of combating along with her, however you realize that her nails are getting too lengthy and can begin inflicting issues. You’re the third groomer to battle with Monique and, sadly, she gained’t be the final pet to check you right this moment. 

Gomer is because of arrive quickly. Wrestling with him to get him out of the service is exhausting. And let’s not neglect about Sadie; her stress degree is so excessive that she begins peeing and pooping as quickly as she enters the constructing. Your entire workforce places forth a contented perspective as they take every pet from its proprietor, however the workforce is getting bored with feeling confused. However, truly, what they’re feeling is compassion fatigue.

Coping with all the pieces from outrageously-matted pets and difficult model requests to reluctant canine and stressed-out cats is all in a day’s work. Nonetheless, the fixed publicity to pets underneath stress takes its toll on the grooming workforce, inflicting compassion fatigue. 

Compassion fatigue is an emotional facet impact of working with pets in misery and struggling. These three pets coming in on this explicit day are affected by worry, anxiousness and stress—and the workforce is weak to the strain.

Compassion fatigue is characterised by bodily and emotional exhaustion from desirous to look after or assist pets in want. Some could name it the excessive price of caring, or burnout. It doesn’t matter what label you give it, groomers get worn down coping with pets who’re struggling—together with pets affected by stress in the course of the go to to the salon. The end result might be staff quitting their jobs…or worse. The time is now for implementing a plan to enhance pets’ grooming experiences and cut back the compassion fatigue skilled by the workforce.

For starters, it’s important to debate compassion fatigue together with your workforce. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Affiliation) has a device to assist workforce members measure the results of serving to others on themselves known as “The Skilled High quality of Life (ProQOL) Evaluation.”1 Think about adjusting the language within the evaluation for the grooming business (care supplier = groomer/grooming, affected person/consumer = pets receiving grooming companies, care = grooming companies, and so on.). Though developed to be used by human well being care suppliers, the device is a place to begin for discussing the office setting and psychological wellbeing. 

Beneficial motion steps for coping with compassion fatigue embody:

  • Find time for your self: Train, hobbies, leisure actions, unplug from know-how
  • Focus in your well being: Meal breaks, nutritious diet, ample sleep
  • Create a assist system
  • Follow mindfulness and meditation
  • Set boundaries: Know when to say “no”
  • Make work an satisfying place

Make work an satisfying place? Is that even potential given all that’s taking place in right this moment’s office—lengthy hours, short-staffed, indignant purchasers and difficult affected person interactions? Of all of the concepts that come to thoughts for making the office satisfying, take into consideration one potential space for enchancment: making a relaxed, low-stress expertise for the pets.

Why give attention to the pets? Isn’t this concerning the workforce’s stressors? A fast seek for widespread problems with concern for groomers turned up feedback about wrestling unwilling canine all day, stopping the groom for security as a chew can finish a profession, and the necessity for pet dad and mom to coach their canine as a result of it’s a lot simpler to groom a canine that isn’t terrified to be on the groomer. Due to this fact, a confused pet is a vital element of what stresses the workforce.

Think about the workforce’s aid when Monique is cuddly as an alternative of a T. rex; when Gomer willingly exits the service; or when Sadie trots into the constructing whereas sustaining management of all bodily features. Eradicating that sense of dread one has when confronted with the every day battle of coping with stressed-out pets is a major step in making the office satisfying and in combating compassion fatigue.

How does one create a low-stress salon expertise for the pets? Faucet into these assets to get began:

  • Worry Free® Groomer Certification Program from Worry Free Pets2
  • Low Stress Dealing with® College3

These assets are relevant for anybody working with pets. They supply the instruments, coaching applications, video clips and slides to point out the grooming workforce find out how to create a greater grooming expertise for pets—from the salon setting to the grooming desk. Each Worry Free and Low Stress Dealing with supply certification applications for groomers or pet care companies. Initiating a change to “the best way issues have at all times been accomplished” will take a while as a result of it’s a cultural change. However the workforce is basically altering how they work together with pets, purchasers and even with one another. 

Take into consideration how a lot time the salon’s workforce spends studying about grooming kinds, instruments and methods. How a lot time is dedicated to security coaching or animal dealing with? What about coaching on find out how to make the pet’s expertise much less irritating? 

“It’s important for groomers to be educated and empowered in the kind of method and sensible methods that can set a soothing, serene scene and permit for safer dealing with and grooming of pets whereas underneath their care. A Worry Free method is just not solely safer and more likely to lead to decrease harm to individual and pet within the grooming course of, however when the animal is simpler to work with as a result of they’re stored calm, it turns into a extra satisfying, much less irritating course of for everybody concerned,” says Mikkel Becker, CBCC-KA, CDBC, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA, CTC, Worry Free Cert, BA Comm, and Lead Animal Coach for Worry Free Pets. 

Used correctly, the methods introduced within the applications talked about above may help enhance pet care, cut back consumer churn and enhance the office setting for the workforce.

In accordance with Grooming With out Stress! by Terrie Hayward, Jay Andors and Anne Francis, salons making the change to a low-stress setting discover:4

  • Elevated enterprise
  • Increased return and retention charges
  • A safer working setting
  • Happier and more healthy human and animal clientele

As Mikkel Becker factors out, “One adverse expertise on the groomer can set the pet again for a lifetime. As such, it’s essential for a pet to have protected care that watches out for each the animal’s bodily and emotional wellbeing. The groomer is a spot of explicit significance by way of how the animal is more likely to fortunately or negatively anticipate dealing with and care outdoors of the house.” 

Implementing a change within the pet’s expertise transforms the workforce’s every day interactions with pets, purchasers and colleagues. As a substitute of dreading that subsequent grooming appointment, workforce members can have the satisfaction of performing grooming companies on calm pets; they will have the satisfaction of participating in a dialog with a consumer who can hear (as an alternative of fussing with an upset pet); they expertise a calmer, safer office setting they usually expertise compassion satisfaction.

Don’t underestimate the significance of these every day interactions. In accordance with a survey on compassion fatigue, veterinary technicians report that “serving to animals, working as a workforce, and dealing with grateful purchasers helped shield them from compassion fatigue.”5 Would groomers say the identical? Serving to animals and dealing collectively—that is the face of a office setting that enhances the standard of life for each pets and other people.

Many elements trigger stress in a salon. Whereas we are able to’t forestall all stressors, we are able to have a strategic plan to decrease the worry, anxiousness and stress skilled by pets. This, in flip, improves the grooming expertise for purchasers and salon groups, giving us the reward of compassion satisfaction. ✂️


  1. Assess your wellbeing. AVMA.
  2. Worry Free® Groomer Certification Program. Worry Free Pets.
  3.  Low Stress Dealing with® College. Low Stress Dealing with.
  4. Hayward, T., Andors, J. & Francis, A. (2018) Grooming With out Stress!
  5. Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction. NC State Veterinary Drugs.



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