This article is contributed by guest writer, Jackie B.
Tips for Grooming Dogs with Thick Coats
Dogs with thick, heavy coats can be exceptionally beautiful, but it’s the responsibility of the owner to maintain that stunning coat. Taking your dog to the groomer on a regular basis is vital if you want to keep that coat in pristine condition. However, there are plenty of things that owners can do between trips to the groomer in order to maintain the coat. Here are the best tips for grooming dogs with thick coats.
A daily brushing is the best way to keep your dog’s heavy coat in check. Just like you brush your own hair on a daily basis to keep tangles from taking over, your dog needs the same kind of treatment. Brushing a dog’s heavy coat removes matted dirt that gets caught in it, as well as releases loose undercoat fur. When removed, this fur will allow your dog’s remaining, healthy fur to maintain its luster and beauty. This process is most important in dogs that tend to shed more than other breeds, such as german shepherds, huskies and labradors. Controlling your dog’s shedding will not only keep their coat healthy, but it will stop your house getting covered in loose hairs.
It’s also important to remember to give your dog a good brushing before each bath. Removing loose undercoat hair before a bath will guard against matted hair and help the water penetrate to the skin more effectively for a deeper clean.
Use a Spray Conditioner
Conditioners are used on human hair to make it more manageable — and the same goes for heavy coated dogs! Spray conditioners, however, are generally not used during the bath but directly after. The use of spray conditioners following a dog bath will help stop the fur from becoming dry and difficult to brush. Moisture envelops every strand and prolongs the sheen of the dog’s coat. Conditioners also help to keep your dog’s skin from becoming dry and can even repair damaged hair follicles.
Invest in a Dog Dryer
Once bath time is over, your dog will likely want to shake out the excess water from their fur. With a thick coated dog, however, even a good shake will not get that coat completely dry. Using a dog dryer after bathing will ensure that the coat will look healthy and shiny, and won’t form any knots or matts before it’s completely dried. Using a dog dryer also means your dog won’t get too chilly from carrying around all that heavy, sodden fur. High velocity dryers, like the K-9 Dryer range supply a powerful yet gentle airflow, which will mean your dog will have a dry and lustrous coat in no time.
Need a stronger tool to brush that thick coat? A better option than a regular dog brush for a long coat dog is a grooming rake. This tool is better at removing loose undercoat, tangles, knots, and mats without causing any damage to the topcoat or the pup. Use a grooming rake according to the size of your dog — you do not want to be using a small one on a very large dog or brushing will take ages!
Low Suds Shampoo
We generally think that when bathing, a lot of suds equals cleaner hair or fur. Any owner of a dog with a heavy coat, however, knows this is not true! Too many suds produced by a shampoo is much harder to completely rinse away, so there’s always a risk of some of the soap residue being left behind. Soap residue can cause irritation and the skin to dry out. That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a soap that’s low in suds. Dog shampoos that are made for a dog with a heavy coat tend to be low suds varieties anyway. Plus, you’ll find it much easier to completely rinse off your dog if you don’t have mounds of soapy suds to contend with.
Cut Matts Out Before Bathing
With a long-haired dog, matts tend to form fairly quickly and easily. They’re difficult to contend with and have to be cut out on a regular basis. Some novice groomers might believe that using a silky conditioner during a bath will remove them, but this may just make it more difficult as wetting the matts generally makes the hair clump together even tighter. The best option for the home groomer is to remove the matts before any water is used on your dog. Take your time in removing these matts so as not to accidentally risk nicking the skin and stressing out your dog. Consider buying a matt-cutting tool to remove the most stubborn intertwined hair.
Long haired breeds can be difficult to manage when cutting the coat down, but as with anything, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. According to professional groomers, cutting the hair first with the grain of the hair and then against the grain will make the task a lot easier. Where it may be your first instinct to cut against the grain to remove the most hair in the fastest manner, this will cause the blade to clump up with hair and will not produce a smooth result.
While cutting the hair with the grain first, you will remove a significant amount of hair, making it much easier to cut against the grain for a smooth finish. It might take longer, but the final results are so much more comfortable for the dog as well as the owner.
Don’t Forget the Feet
The main body of your long-haired dog can be easy to properly groom if you follow these tips, but there is much more to a dog than their main body, legs, ears, and around the eyes. Your dog’s foot pads are important as well! On a longer haired dog, these foot pads will have significantly more hair. So while this may seem like a non-essential place to groom, it’s actually important for the comfort and stability of the dog.
Long haired dogs have substantially more hair between their foot pads than short haired breeds, and too much of this hair can matt up between the pads. They can also cause the dog to slip on smooth surfaces, so carefully cutting away this hair will give your pet much more comfort. This area is also a common place for pests to hide such as fleas and ticks, so by grooming the foot pads, you have far fewer places for common dog pests to hide out in.
Taking care of your dog’s heavy coat can take a bit more work, but with some of the most beautiful dog breeds in the world sporting heavy coats, it’s worth it to see a beautifully healthy coat on your amazing pooch. Happy Grooming!