The dog fur is a health barometer: If it is shiny, the dog is usually healthy. Matt, dandruff or irregular coat usually indicates a deficiency or parasites. Therefore, you should take care of your dog’s coat regularly and intensively. There is much more to grooming a dog’s coat than just brushing and bathing, even though both are important grooming procedures. Some breeds, for example, require regular shearing or trimming in order to prevent disturbing and even pathogenic matting of the coat.
Coat care in dogs is therefore not only – but also – a question of beauty, but also of health. Read this guide and get some tips on dog grooming and learn how you care for your dog’s coat correctly.
Dog grooming – for skin and hair and against pathogens
With the right grooming of the dog’s coat, you can detect pathological changes early on and avoid matting of the coat. A daily combing or brushing of the coat, especially after a walk through woods and meadows, makes parasites such as ticks and fleas visible, so that they can be removed immediately. This will prevent any subsequent flea invasion or tick infestation in the bud.
Daily coat care such as brushing, massaging and, if necessary, a treatment with special build-up and care preparations developed for dog hair takes much less time than you might think with proper usage and routine.
Dirt residues are easily brushed out and make the occasional bathing of your dog obsolete. Dead skin particles and hair are also removed. While you are grooming your dog you can whether the skin of your quadruped is really healthy. Because often bite wounds remain undetected after small or large fights and develop quickly to regular infection sources.
Crusts, ticks, fleas, bare spots or even inflamed skin can be recognized immediately. New, healthy fur can grow back better – the skin literally breathes a sigh of relief. Well-Executed coat care is at the same time also a massage, which promotes the blood circulation and awakens the immune system.
|Consequences of inadequate coat care:|
|► Uncultivated fur is scaly, itches, can knot, mat and literally suffocate the dog’s skin. Possible consequences are skin damage, infections or parasite infestation. If UV exposure and ventilation of the skin are missing due to felting, this can easily lead to bacterial skin inflammations up to weeping eczema. If heat and moisture are added, fungal infections are only a matter of time.|
|► Fleas, mites, and ticks feel very comfortable on warm, damp skin under the matted coat. There they can feed themselves properly and spread diseases and infections such as mange or eczema undisturbed.|
|► Regular coat care, therefore, prevents skin diseases and infections and provides your dog with more well-being and joy.|
Dog Grooming: Healthy “habituation factor” for dog
Not all dogs like grooming, as combing them can cause painful pulling and tugging if done carelessly. A dog that has had a bad experience with grooming may even react aggressively if you approach it with a brush. However, do not give up grooming, but change your methods and approaches to problematic dogs.
It is best if you practice grooming with your puppy already. Use particularly soft natural brushes and combine the coat care with exciting games in which the brush can sometimes transform into a toy. Every puppy likes a soothing massage with a flat hand.
Wellness for your dog – that’s how it works
But even older dogs who did not get to know grooming in “childhood”, or even those who unfortunately had bad experiences with it, can be convinced of the wellness of brushing with patience and treats. Always start the coat care with something pleasant: For example, stroke the dog over his head or belly – depending on what he enjoys the most – and try to repeat this movement with a pleasantly soft brush. Make the brush a natural tool in the life of your unwilling dog. Leave it between his toys or “forget” it in his dog bed. The “brushing exercise” must be repeated daily – it is best to combine it with a particularly tasty reward.
But be careful: Care of the coat does not belong in the hands of children, who can hurt the dog unintentionally due to ignorance and inability – with possible fatal psychological consequences.
The coat of the dog – single-layer or multi-layer?
The difference between a long coat and a short coat is obvious and needs no further explanation. But did you know that the decisive care factor depends on how your dog’s coat is structured? Both short-haired and long-haired fur can be single-layered or multi-layered.
- Single layer dog fur consists exclusively of top coat (top layer).
- the two-layer coat consists of a top coat and undercoat (under wool layer).
Breeds with a two-layer coat are Leonberger, Pugs, Golden Retriever or Labrador.
Both the covering hair and the undercoat die off gradually in the natural hair change of the dogs. It is therefore important to remove the dead hair with an appropriate brush and comb. If in spring or summer the dog “throws off” his undercoat, then the brush should be in daily use – the daily procedure may be somewhat shorter.
On the other hand, it is wrong to use certain trimmers and shearing machines that not only remove dead hair and “trim” dense fur but also cut off healthy, regrown top hair. This makes the coat brittle, increasingly dull and sensitive.
Ridgebacks, Whippets, Greyhounds and similar Sprinters or hunters among the dogs have a single-layered fur, as well as poodles. Poodle`s curly and long growing hair is often sheared off by dog owners. Experts among the dog hairdressers (so-called Groomer) warn against it, however. The single-layer coat protects the sensitive dog skin underneath if it is shortened too much sunburn and in winter hypothermia threatens. Use special brushes to keep the coat felt free.
Multilayer dog skins have so-called “weatherproof” dog breeds, especially the Nordic breeds, but also water dogs and many guard dogs. Their coat structure can even consist of three layers, if, in addition to undercoat and top coat, an intermediate coat develops.
Although the caring effort for this dog fur is seasonally intensive, due to its multi-layered structure it is normally very dense, strong and tends to natural “matting”, which means: it is shedding only a little.
Surprising for some dog owners is the realization that the single-layer coat of some four-legged animals – such as the Whippets or the Dalmatian – requires a lot of care. Although it cannot become matted, it is often very fine, falls out more frequently and the skin underneath is very sensitive.
How to care for long-haired dogs properly
Depending on coat density and structure, long-haired dog breeds require special and intensive body care.
If your dog jumps into the mud hole or rolls around with pleasure in cow dung, the question “bathing – yes or no?” does not really arise for you. But what about everyday situations such as going for a walk on rainy forest paths or in parks?
The answer is: bathing as rarely as possible and only with a gentle, moisturizing dog shampoo.
Collie, Spitz or Belgian Shepherd have easy-care, simple long hair. The single-layer longhair fur should be thoroughly brushed and combed several times a week. The care of the Briard or the Old English Sheepdog, for example, is more difficult. The coat is denser and easily matted.
Demanding, multi-layered longhair fur with a lot of undercoats like the Newfoundland or Chow-Chow is particularly maintenance-intensive and has to be treated almost daily with comb and brush. At least the critical areas on the head, muzzle, under the armpits, around the genitals and paws should be combed or brushed daily. Because they become matted quickly and cannot be cared for at all.
A fur comb and a brush belong to the basic equipment of the fur care of long-haired as well as short-haired dogs equally. While plastic bristles or plastic combs generate an electrostatic charge, natural bristles or coated wire bristles are better suited for dog-friendly coat care.
You will need fur scissors, for example, to shorten the hair on the genitals or in the ears and paws of your dog. Specially rounded scissors are particularly suitable for these particularly sensitive parts of the body.
For thick, stubborn undercoat and a shiny fur, we recommend an undercoat rake and an undercoat brush. A dense, long and curly coat can be tamed with a little practice and a clipper. And if your dog has particularly strong hair, experts recommend the FURminator, which removes dead hair, skin particles, and undercoat without damaging the topcoat.
|Dog Grooming Accessories:|
|► Natural fur comb and brush|
|► Fur scissors|
|► Undercoat Rake|
|► Undercoat brush|
|► Special dog shampoo and, where appropriate, skin care products|
Dog grooming for long-haired dogs
First, brush long-haired dogs against the stroke with a natural or slicker brush. Then work your way through the coat from front to back, always in the direction of growth. In the next step, place your dog on his side and brush him with one hand, while accompanying the grooming with the other hand.
Changing seasons of long-haired dogs are literally a hairy thing. In this period grooming needs more time and effort, but your apartment, sofas, and textiles will thank you for this: Free your long-haired dog daily from dead hair during the coat change. For this, you need an undercoat rake that reaches even the lowest layers of the coat. Then work your dog’s topcoat with a fine comb. If your dog’s coat allows it, take it gently in your hand and hold it while you comb it with the comb.
For dogs with dense undercoats, a special undercoat brush is essential.
Small matting is best removed with your fingers, whereas difficult areas require a special tool such as an undercoat rake or scissors. The hair of the dog is densest at the back. The tail and the root of the tail are particularly sensitive parts of the dog’s body. No wonder that this is the area where parasites feel most secure. Be careful that these problem zones do not even appear.
While grooming your dog, always take a close look at the skin in order to detect any changes early on.
Dog grooming with short-haired dogs
Perhaps you ask yourself at this point: is this even necessary for my short-haired dog? The answer is: Yes, even short-haired dogs need coat care. The care of a short coat is not necessarily a short pleasure. Structure and density of the hair, coat change, and average hair loss determine the caring effort. With some short hair dogs weekly brushing is sufficient, others must be trimmed.
Many breeds with a short, smooth coat have a slowly regenerating skin flora, which only recovers with difficulty after bathing. With these dogs, a foam bath should be the exception.
There are suitable coat care and helpful accessories for every type of short haired dogs. It is really important that your dog gets used to regular grooming as early as puppy age. This way, you can prevent skin diseases in your dog and other unpleasant consequences.
Dog grooming tips for dirty weather
Rainy weather? Dry your pooch well after a walk in the rain. Not only the coat wants to be rubbed down. Also lumbar and elbow areas, stomach, paw spaces, and ears should be dried. This is the only way to ensure that no secondary diseases such as colds, fungal infections, skin inflammation and increased parasite development (parasites like moisture and warmth) arise.
Be careful with the frequency of bathing or showering: with each bath and showering, the dog fur loses its protective layer of fat that surrounds the dog’s hair. If left untreated, it also dries out the dog’s skin, which is otherwise protected by a talcum layer. Take a special shampoo adapted to the dog’s coat and help the dog skin stay healthy.
Can the dog be bathed in winter?
Also in winter regular coat care is important to support the dog’s coat change and to remove the dead hair. In long-haired breeds, the snow and the overall damp weather can also quickly lead to matting and nodules. Such nodules are often found on the legs and between the armpits, tweak and are uncomfortable for your dog. That’s why the grooming program for your dog’s fur is even more important in winter than in summer.
A bath may also be appropriate to remove fine sand particles from the coat. It is best to bathe your dog only in the evening hours. Then he will have enough time to dry overnight and will not run the risk of catching a cold with his wet coat.
A bath is generally not recommended for short-haired dog breeds. The coat dries only sluggishly and the protective fat layer builds up only slowly again.
Dog grooming accessories at a glance
- Fur comb and brush are the most important dog grooming accessories even for the care of short-haired dogs.
- The pet grooming brush is suitable for bristly short hair.
- Soft brushes are just as much a must for the tender puppy skin as for the velvety single-layer coat of Whippets, Galgos and similar hunting and running dogs.
- For short-haired dogs with a lot of undercoats, you need a clipper.
- Mat Remover and also thinning scissors thin dense and curly coat.
- The FURminator, which removes dead top coat and undercoat particularly effectively and soothingly, is especially suitable for strongly hairy short-haired dogs such as Dalmatians.
- And if bathing is on the wellness programme, then it is best to use special dog shampoos that are tailored to the coat type of your dog.
Perhaps one of the dog grooming accessories may confuse you. You may be wondering if you can challenge the dog grooming by your own because you don’t want to do anything wrong with your four-legged friend. It is best to talk to an experienced breeder. Or go to a professional dog salon and let them show you the correct use of the dog grooming accessories. A conversation with the experts makes the handling clear and the usage will certainly be easy after a short training phase.
Dog grooming services
In addition to coat care, in a dog salon, you will find professionals for claw care, ear care, and paws. And since not all dogs like this care procedure, you will get professional grooming advice, so that the coat care is also pleasant at home.
What to expect at the dog groomer
9 steps to a groomed dog:
- Anamnesis”, i.e. the owner is asked about diseases, medication and special behavior of the dog.
- To get in contact with the dog.
- Inspection of coat condition and skin condition of the dog.
- Dust and dirt particles are removed by combing and brushing, possibly trimming according to dog breed or coat structure.
- Washing with care shampoo and conditioner.
- Complete drying the coat with a hairdryer.
- Cut or clipping according to breed standard or customer request.
- Claw, eye and ear care.
- Fur finish with oils, which supply skin and fur with maintaining substances.
Summary: Tips for grooming your dog’s coat
- Regular coat care prevents skin problems and matting
- It is best to get rid of dead hair every day during the changing season.
- Talk to your breeder or a professional groomer about your dog’s coat care.
- The right dog brush is the most important accessory, it must be adapted to the coat of your dog.
- Try out many different combs, brushes or curry combs.
- Get your dog used to combing and grooming as early as possible.
- Do not bathe your dog too often to avoid destroying the sebum and acid protective film.
- Only use dog shampoos and conditioners that are adapted to the coat characteristics of your dog.
The contents of this guide cannot replace a visit to the veterinarian. This information should not be used as the sole basis for health-related decisions. A veterinarian should be consulted on animal diseases and the use of medicines.