From Retail Manager to Dog Groomer: An Inside Look into the Animal Care Industry
The Animal Care industry has become extremely popular and in-demand in the past 10 years, due to both population growth and dog ownership growth.
There are approximately 24 million pets owned by Australians, with Australians having the highest rate of pet ownership in the world.
With 4.1 million of those animals being dogs and only around 4,000 dog groomers, it’s no wonder there’s a national shortage in senior level dog groomers.
Macarla Muscat spent eight years working in retail before a life changing accident forced her to pursue a new career. An opportunity arose for Carla to purchase a dog grooming business and having had prior experience in dog training and horse grooming, it seemed too perfect to turn down.
Big Paws, Little Paws has been Carla’s baby for the past eight years and has become her full-time career. She now also competes in dog grooming competitions, where she puts her incredible pamper skills to the ultimate test.
What is ‘Dog Grooming’?
Dog Grooming is the process of maintaining, cleaning and cutting a dog’s hair for both enhancement of appearance and general care of the dog.
Dog Grooming is quickly becoming a popular industry due to the flexibility, opportunity to work with dogs and the good hours involved as well as the ability to be portable.
You can undertake a number of different dog grooming courses here; it is also recommended that you get some industry training with a professional first as well.
I work 12 hour days… but the reward is there because I have amazing clients and amazing dogs.
Carla and ‘Big Paws, Little Paws’ Dog Grooming
Carla loved her job, but an unfortunate motorbike accident left her in a wheelchair and unable to work. Upon returning to work, her employer believed it was too risky for her to continue working and therefore, forced her to resign.
Before beginning her career in dog grooming services and starting up Big Paws, Little Paws, Carla undertook a dog grooming course to learn how to properly control and groom different dog breeds.
She originally had reservations about beginning her new career.
Firstly she was nervous about her medical condition and she was also unsure of the different breed styles and their coat types. The course helped her gain more confidence and knowledge about the processes and styles that are required for pet grooming.
Carla believes it’s very important to undertake a course as there’s so much that can go wrong in the dog grooming process.
Unfortunately, it’s not a regulated industry, so even if you don’t have a grooming qualification you can still pursue it as a business. This can cause a lot of damage to people’s pets and can leave them traumatised, which is why Carla recommends everyone undertake a course.
At Big Paws, Little Paws, Carla’s day consists of around 10 appointments per day. As her grooming practice is quite fancy and consists of more than just a chop with clippers, she takes a little longer than usual and puts in a lot more care as she’s considered a professional dog groomer.
She has an open salon policy meaning she allows the dogs to roam free while they wait for their appointment, rather than being locked in a cage all day. This also means the dogs are able to get a good amount of socialisation and play time with other dogs as well.
Carla’s aim for the future is to hopefully compete more in dog grooming competitions and eventually travel overseas to compete internationally.
Yes, I fell in to this accidentally – but it was life-changing for me.
Dog grooming doesn’t just involve playing with dogs all day, it also involves using correct methods for taming and calming the dogs, informing people of their dogs’ diets and whether they’re overweight or underweight, communicating with clientele and being knowledgeable on the different grooming styles for different breeds.
Tasks in dog grooming include:
Although Carla already had prior experience, she made sure to undertake a Dog Grooming course before pursuing it as a full time career. There are many Animal Care courses available whether that be in Animal Training, Zoology, Wildlife Conservation, Vet Assistant and even Animal Behaviour. A career with animals is only a click away!
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