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Petropolis Salon Strives For Pet Empowerment

In addition to our blog post explaining the steps Petropolis is taking to make our facility a fear free environment, we wanted to share the steps each of our departments are taking. Grooming salons and the different aspects of grooming can be very stressful for even the most experienced pet, so our team has implemented a humanity over vanity approach. This means that our stylists will always do their best to ensure a pet is feeling no pain, discomfort or stress during a grooming session. Included in their humanity over vanity approach are the following techniques to prevent and treat fear.

Buddy Bar and Treats

One of the most important tools we use in our salon are treats and snacks. We use treats for both cats and dogs, including our own invention, a buddy bar. This invention is a dog toy, filled with a high value treat like cheese, hot dog or peanut butter for the dog to snack on and lick while the stylist works. The use of treats and our buddy bar has helped create positive grooming experiences. It is important to note that we understand some pets cannot have these types of treats and we are willing to work with any dietary restrictions or allergies.

Gradient Touch

Our pet stylists are also trained on how to touch your pet, using a technique called gradient touch. This technique helps animals become aware that a groomer is going to work with them on a certain area of their body. This style of touch helps to prevent surprises that may cause fear or stress. For example, instead of grabbing a dog’s paw, a gradient touch would include petting the pet’s leg all the way to the foot, gradually moving towards the paw and then picking up paw.


Our grooming salon has pheromone procedures in place to help create a more calming environment for all pets. For dogs, our team sprays the Adaptil product on a bandana for the dog to wear. For cats, our team places a towel sprayed with Feliway over the cat carrier as soon as they arrive. These techniques have provided another tool for our team to help create a less stressful environment for your pets.

Techniques and Tools

Our salon also takes precautions to avoid ‘stretching’ an animal, meaning our team will not push a pet past its limits. This is part of our humanity over vanity approach and it includes using techniques like taking breaks and using tools to prevent fear. Our team uses Happy Hoodies for pets who may be nervous around the dryers or find another technique to dry the pet.

Fear Free Certification

In addition to the methods above, five of our salon stylists have passed the Fear Free certification, allowing them to not only know the signs of fear of stress in an animal but other tools to deescalate and prevent fear.

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