Back pain is ... well, a pain. And whether you suffer from chronic back pain, or simply find grooming to cause acute back pain, here are a few tips and tricks ranging from a few bucks to things you can do - completely free!
The main cause of back pain when grooming dogs is our height differences compared to our dogs. Bending over for 10-30 minutes to brush or bathe a dog is plenty enough to cause just about anyone some discomfort. That's simple enough, but what about some cheats and hacks to work around that?
1. "Lift with your legs, not your back." The same concept can be used to simply squat down to groom your dog while keeping your back straight and upright. A simple solution, but there are a few drawbacks such as difficulties keeping your balance and the fact that if someone has bad knees as well, this isn't much better than leaning over. An alternative is sitting on the ground. Balance is a bit better, but you'll have dog hair from head to toe. You'll also be plenty soggy if you're bathing the dog.
2. Another simple solution that can be as cheap as $100 to as expensive as well over $1,000. If you can't go down to the dog, bring the dog up to you. Grooming tables exist for this sole reason. You can buy a cheap commercial one for just over $100 before shipping, or a high end hydraulic one for a couple thousand bucks. I've never used a cheap one, so if you have a large dog, you better check the fine print for weight limits and warranties.
3. A homemade solution. If you're handy, you can build your own grooming table out of wood, or use steel pipe for a frame etc. The possibilities only end when the ideas run out. You could also take a sturdy, existing table, and modify it for your needs. A little skateboard grip tape to prevent slips and something to attach a leash too and you're all set.
4. This last one is the best solution ... well, besides paying a groomer of course. Use what is around you. 1 or 2 steps can help raise the dog up just enough to provide some relief if your discomfort is mild. A raised porch is even better if it's knee-waist height. Simply have your dog stand on the edge of the porch while you stand on the ground. It's almost like a free grooming table, granted there's no leash holder. But that's where solid training that you can learn from our other articles comes into play!
If you don't have a porch, maybe you have an annoying tree stump you refuse to pay $800 to have removed. Why pay to remove it when you can use it? If it has a large enough diameter and is flat, you can use it the way it is. If it's a little too small in diameter for your dog to stand on it comfortably, hammer down a few boards or build a frame to make a little deck on top; though that wouldn't technically count as a free option and falls more into the homemade solutions category. I've added it here because it could be free, or it might cost you a few bucks.
You can even use the tailgate of a truck to get the job done for free. Get creative. If you can't sit on the ground or crouch to get down to the dog, bring the dog up to you. All is fair in love and war. Love is grooming so you don't have fur tumbleweeds year round, and the war is the war on back pain!
As a parting bonus: Groom your dogs every day. Every, single day. Even if it's a 2 minute brushing, it helps build your bond with your dog. It makes it routine. And it keeps that much more fur off your floors. Grooming daily keeps the grooming routine vs a giant job every couple of months
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