Grooming dogs requires a lot of expertise as well as a wide range of equipment.
For some people there can be virtually no end to the different types of equipment they want and need. From high-velocity dryers to state-of-the-art shears, there are new and better items that can make grooming easier and more comfortable.
One of the most critical items for groomers is their table. Try grooming a dog on the floor and you’ll soon realize how stressful and time-consuming it can be. Add to that the sore back, chasing the dog as she walks away and the hair splinters you’re sure to get, and you’ll easily know why having a table is simply not an option but a necessity.
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What Kinds of Tables Are Out There?
When shopping for a dog grooming table, you’ll find three main types:
1. Electric Grooming Tables
The electric grooming table is mainly designed to be easily adjusted up and down in support of large-breed dogs. The design is smooth, and the tables are often very sturdy, allowing the dog to feel safe during the motion.
2. Hydraulic Grooming Tables
Hydraulic grooming tables are made for some large breeds, though they are better for your small and medium dogs. This is because they can be a little wobbly and aren’t meant to go all the way up and down but are intended for the more limited range of motion necessary to adjust for smaller dogs. They make it comfortable for a groomer to easily reach the dog and not have to strain.
3. Portable Grooming Tables
You can choose from fold-up tables that are easy to travel to dog shows with. These tables are often a first choice for a home groomer because they are the least expensive you can find. Besides traveling with these tables they are also useful for people who want to groom at home because they can be folded up to save space.
Build Your Own Grooming Table?
Quite a few people turn to building their own grooming table as a means of saving some money. This do-it-yourself (DIY) option can work well if you keep a few things in mind:
The table you’re going to build must be stable. This means you’re going to want to test it and see if it wobbles easily. You’ll want strong legs and a strong top so that the dog you’re grooming doesn’t have issues with it.
The top of your table will need a cover that the dog won’t slip on. It is a common reaction for those building a table to use linoleum squares to cover the top because they are easy to clean up. However, these are hard for dogs to get a good grip on and can make them feel unsafe.
Size and Height
Depending on your situation, you’ll need to consider both size and height. If you’re building tables to place in a salon, make a few of varying heights to better accommodate a range of dog sizes and people heights. If you’re making one for home grooming, take into account the height of your own dog and your height.
Also consider the size of the table top. You’ll need a table top that is several inches wider and longer than the dog you’re grooming. Again, if you’re creating a table for your own dog, this may be measured for. If you’re building for a salon, it’s best to go with the standard size — 36 by 24 inches.
Repurposing a Folding Table
The most common way to make a table is to use a premade table. These fold-up or banquet tables often have slippery tops, so you’ll need rubber matting to make it safer for your pets.
You can find rubber matting at most home improvement stores and then you can glue this to the table. You will also need to make or order a grooming arm for the table.
The benefit of creating the table this way is it will be fast and simple. The drawback is there is little ability for adjustment with these tables.
How to Make a DIY Grooming Table for Your Dog
The way to get the best table short of purchasing one is to make it by hand. The ideal way of doing this is with several 2×4’s and a sheet of plywood for the top.
- 2×4’s (8) cut to the height you’re after
- 2×4 full length
- Sheets of plywood (2) cut to the size you want
- Rubber matting
- Krazy Glue/staples
- Decide on the height and accommodate for the size of the dog(s) you will be working on. A good rule of thumb is the top of the table should be about four inches above your belly button.
- Measure out the tabletop either using the standard of 36 by 24 or deciding on your own. Cut your 2×4’s for the desired leg height and tabletop.
- Attach two of each of the cut legs at the corners of the plywood, forming a V whose center matches the corner.
- Attach the other piece of plywood so that you have it double-thick for support.
- Use the final 2×4 to cut pieces that can be attached to the legs at the bottom for added support and attach them.
- Cut the rubber matting to cover the top and attach with Krazy Glue or staples. All you need to finish the project is a grooming arm, and you’ll be ready for your first trim.
If you’re interested in a DIY grooming arm, check out this video. The guy in this video goes into great detail about how to put one together for a little more than 10 dollars:
A Word on Purchased Tables
If you’re grooming your dog at home and just need a temporary fix, making your own grooming table may work well. If you’re opening a salon and planning to groom daily, you should strongly consider tables that have adjustable qualities like a hydraulic or electric table.
Remember that grooming is physical work, so anything you can do to remove strain will be better on your body and better for the dogs in the long run.