It’s hot and sticky this time of year, and many of us are swapping out our winter wardrobe for summer wardrobe. If you own a fluffy, double coated dog, you may be thinking, “should I do the same for my dog?” Shaving your fluffy dog may be your go-to solution, but this is one thing you should never do!
Dogs with double coats boast and undercoat and an outer coat. In short, their coats are made up of long, guard hairs under which there is a denser, woollier and usually much softer undercoat. The denser the undercoat happens to be, the fluffier a dog’s coat tends to be and the more grooming they need to prevent tangles and mats from forming.
The outer guard hairs serve to repel any moisture and they help get rid of any dirt whereas the softer undercoat acts more as an insulation that keeps dogs warm during the colder winter months and cooler when the weather is hot in the summertime. As such, a double coat should never be shaved. Double coated dogs include:
- Alaskan Malamute
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Australian Shepherd
- Chow Chow
- Collie (smooth coat)
- German Shepherd
- Great Pyranese
- Labrador Retriever
- Saint Bernard
- Shiba Inu
Reasons NOT to Shave a Double Coated Dog
- Double coats provide a natural cooling system
- Double coats protect dogs from damaging UV rays
- Shaving double coated dogs DOES NOT prevent shedding
- Shaved coats may not always grow back
The best way to maintain summertime shedding with double coated dogs is to brush your pet regularly. This is especially important for long-haired dogs to prevent uncomfortable matting. The first key to maintaining your double-coated dog’s coat is to use the correct equipment! There are two essential brushes needed for double coated dogs:
- A gentle slicker brush – These brushes contain hundreds of soft, short, bent wires mounted in a firm rubber backing. The slicker brush is used to comb out the long, soft top coat.
- A comb – The comb is used to brush through and comb out the dense undercoat. A solid metal comb with combination coarse and medium teeth will do nicely. Using this comb regularly will effectively prevent matting.
Brushing is essential to a healthy, glowing coat. It terminates mats and tangles, removes dead hair, dirt and burrs, and distributes the natural oils, producing a healthy skin tone.
Mats, Tangles, and Burrs
Mats, tangles and burrs should be worked in small sections, separated with your fingers if necessary. Begin with the coarse teeth of the comb. After the coarse teeth slide through an area of fur, use the medium teeth to finish. Anti static grooming sprays, coat conditioners and powders can reduce coat breakage; however, use these items with caution around the eyes. Serious mats are best left to the groomer’s expertise.
The Brushing Begins
Take your pet’s head in your hand and begin by gently, but thoroughly combing whiskers, ears and head. Look your pet in the eye and say a firm “no” if your dog begins to misbehave. Through this exchange, you can gain an understanding with your pet that will last through the brushing session.
Now move to the legs. The legs are probably the most neglected part of the home grooming process. Alternate the comb and brush operation so you can locate the little snarls that quickly turn into big ones.
Brush up or down, but work in small sections and work down to the skin. A serious fault of the pet owner grooming is the overworking of the top coat and neglecting the hair closes to the skin. Lift the leg towards you and get at the inner leg. Proceed to the tail and back.
Long-coated breeds should be finished by combing in the direction of hair growth. And don’t forget to give him or her a special treat upon completion! If you find that you just don’t have the time or desire to brush your pet, more frequent professional grooming is recommended to prevent matting. Brookside Barkery & Bath is here to assist you in making the best decision for you and your pet!