Grooming dogs professionally is a dirty, physical job. Some pets come in and are very scared, while others practically drag their bather to the tub.
The majority of dog owners know their dogs don’t like baths, and therefore it’s not unusual for a pet to not get excited about visiting the groomer. All this can get escalated when working with large dogs.
Trying to get a giant breed into the tub can take as many as three groomers. The dog can feel uncomfortable and may even get very nervous while on the table. We reviewed a few grooming tables for large dogs and found some groomer favorites.
Large Breed Requirements
People who own large and giant breed dogs soon grow to realize they have different requirements than many of their smaller canine family members. Often they don’t live as long and they tend to have more hip problems.
In the salon, these guys bring the promise of more physical labor to their groomer. They will need to be lifted more and often take longer to groom. They are heavy so will also need a table that is able to support their weight. With the right equipment, grooming the large breeds can be easy and rewarding.
Different Types of Tables
When you’re selecting the best table to groom large breed dogs on, it’s important to realize there are quite a few for you to choose from.
Not only do you have three main types — collapsible, hydraulic and electric — you also have differences among these. You can buy tables for just under a hundred dollars or you can choose to get the Cadillac of the table world and go for one that offers all the bells and whistles, costing you a thousand dollars or more.
Understanding the basics of the tables will help you understand which ones will be best for you and the large dogs you’ll be styling soon.
1. Travel Tables
These tables are meant to be collapsed down and easily stored for future use. They are great if you and your oversized pup will be spending a great deal of time heading out to one show after another. They are easy to fold down and tuck away in a trailer or back of a van and therefore easy to tag along to the show.
They can feel insecure to a large dog, though. If you’re not doing a lot of traveling, this is generally not the first choice for plus-sized pooches.
Getting a large dog on one of these tables can be quite the hat trick. They will need to be lifted up and often this will take more than one person to insure that the dog is fully supported. In addition, two people lifting can take the strain out of the project and lower the risk of dropping the dog.
If you’re considering a collapsible table for a heavy breed of dog be sure to check the weight capacity of the table. Most have a weight limit or suggestion and you don’t want to deviate even one pound over it. In grooming, safety must always be paramount, and having a table that is fully capable of supporting a large dog is first and foremost.
2. Hydraulic Tables
These tables are meant for adjusting to make grooming more comfortable. They tend to have a much more secure base. They aren’t as wobbly as the portable tables and allow you to move the table up and down to more comfortably work on a dog.
Although many of the higher end tables allow a wide range of mobility (able to be lowered to just a foot or two off the ground and then back up), the time it takes to do this with the hydraulics can be frustrating. They are often recommended for small to medium dogs.
3. Electric Tables
Electric grooming tables took the concept of adjustable height and improved it.
Some complaints hydraulic tables have is that they take a long time to be lowered or raised and that they can get squeaky. Working with a quality electric table, you can lower it to the ground, have the dog step on and then raise it to working level.
Many groomers even have these on sturdy wheels and use these in place of ramps for getting large dogs into the tub.
I like the Ultra Low Z-Lift from ComfortGroom (affiliate link), which you can find for under $600 plus a mere $4.49 for shipping. That’s it pictured here. The height range is great on this model — the accordion lift goes both super low and super high, so it’s perfect for dogs of all sizes.
Benefits of Hydraulic Grooming Tables
It’s not unusual for a lot of groomers to purchase or even recommend hydraulic grooming tables for the large breeds. It’s important to remember that isn’t what the tables were intended for. Their biggest benefits include:
- Adjustable height range, making working on dogs convenient
- Creating comfort for both the groomer and the dog
Benefits of Electric Grooming Tables
For the most part, when you ask a professional groomer what table they recommend for large dogs you will get the same response, hands down. The electric grooming table is the best choice for any large dog.
- They are able to be lowered all the way to the ground allowing the dog to easily climb aboard. Their parts don’t need repair as quickly as some of the hydraulic tables.
- They can be raised without a lot of noise allowing the groomer to easily get their work done.
Electric Grooming Tables Are Recommended
Across the board most will recommend investing in an electric grooming table for your large breed dogs. These tables make lifting easy enough that often a single groomer is capable of taking care of a large breed such as a Newfoundland.
If you buy one that has rollers, it’s easy to get the dog onto the table and even let her step down into the tub. They are capable of moving up and down and doing so quickly and without noise.
These days many people are looking for ways to cut corners and save money. In the grooming salon, it is no different. One thing that is important to keep in mind is that skimping on your table can be one of the worst decisions you make.
The table is such a central part to having a smooth and comfortable grooming experience that getting the right kind and quality can be vital.
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Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a periodic series of articles from Pets Adviser for the do-it-yourself groomer. The previous articles in this series are: DIY Dog Shampoo, How to Make a Grooming Table for Your Dog and How to Make a Grooming Table Arm.