Grooming Golden Oldies – Pets & People

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Grooming Golden Oldies – Pets & People

Most people wouldn’t appreciate being referred to as a Senior but reality is that we are living longer than ever before and thankfully our beloved dogs are too.  Although their life span is relatively short compared to ours, through the development of veterinary practices, medicines and technology, our pets are enjoying longer lives. We have therefore seen a surge in products and supplements to support canines in the aging process. Some of their needs will alter with age but dogs will continue to need grooming into their most senior years.  This can be tricky with potential decline in mobility but as dog groomers we have techniques for supporting older pets & their people. Here Four Paws Groom School discusses grooming for golden oldies:

Take extra time

Dogs that have reduced mobility or depleting senses such as eyesight, require a slower approach to the whole grooming process.  Dog groomers should plan for this extra time in order to give elderly dogs extra rest breaks and support when grooming. However, owners should expect that this time is chargeable and therefore grooming costs may increase with age.

Split up the groom for Golden Oldies

It may not always be suitable but splitting up the groom into smaller and shorter sessions can give an older dog the time they need. Groomers can do part of the dog that require most assistance such as clipping hygiene areas and then move onto bathing in the next session. As dogs get older they may struggle to maintain sanitary areas themselves and therefore extra grooming and care in these areas may be required.

Reduce movements

Jumping onto a table maybe tricky as dogs get older but fortunately there are tools and equipment available to groomers to help reduce movement such as electric grooming tables that can glide a dog from floor level to working height without excess joint pressure.  Additionally, tools like slings can help support an older dog who can’t weight bear for a long period. Reducing movement may even be completed by grooming a dog on the floor and most groomers will adapt to an older dogs needs with simple solutions such as non-slip mats.

Accept comfort over vanity

In truth, as dogs get older their coats change and the glossy locks they once had can go patchy with hormone changes in age.  It is important that owners and groomers always groom for welfare and comfort over vanity and this is just as important in older dogs. They may not look as fine as they once did but maintaining comfort will keep an old dog very happy.

Smelly breath

Older dogs can suffer with smelly breath which can be a sign of gum or dental disease that must be checked by a vet. However, owners and groomers can often help support oral health with regular teeth cleaning and checks. In February 2024 to coincide with National Pet Dental Health month, iPET Network launched the iPET Network Level 3 Award in Canine Oral Health qualification aimed at owners and canine professionals to improve knowledge of the importance of promoting good oral health.

Communication with owners

If an older dog is struggling with the grooming process, a good groomer will share this with the owner. It can be very difficult for owners to see their aging dog decline and although a difficult conversation, sharing the reality can help people to make best choices for their pets welfare.

Consider owners too

A sad fact of most pet ownership is the loss and grief when a pet passes and owners of senior pets will be aware of this. Groomers can extend their support skills by learning about pet bereavement and studying a course such as the iPET Network Pet Bereavement Course

At Four Paws Groom School we teach people to groom dogs at every point of their life cycle, ensuring their needs and welfare are met at all times.  We also teach people at varying stages in their life cycle too! Recently we had a lady in her late 70’s come to us to learn how to groom her rescue Westie correctly. They both proved you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Four Paws Groom School is a dog grooming training school with locations in Cheshire, Herefordshire & Shropshire specialising in grooming as a career or a hobby.  Four Paws Groom School exclusively offers iPET Network qualifications which are designed and created by industry experts, then regulated by Ofqual.

To find out more about iPET Network or Four Paws Groom School visit the websites



Enhance your animal care career

Completing a course with Four Paws Groom School offers learners a distinct advantage in enhancing their animal care career by providing a comprehensive and hands-on curriculum taught by experienced professionals. With a focus on grooming techniques, animal behaviour, and industry best practices, our training courses equips learners with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the competitive field of animal care. The modern facilities and personalised guidance from experienced tutors ensure that student not only meet but exceed industry standards, positioning them for success in a fulfilling and rewarding career working with animals.

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