Important to Groom Double Coated Dogs
Dogs can have single coats or double coats. A double coated dog has two layers of hair that are very different. The outer layer is longer and coarser and is known as the guard hairs. The inner coat is softer, shorter and thicker, which can be almost like wool.
These two coats do two different things. The thick inner coat is mostly for insulation, keeping dogs booth cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The longer outside coat is used to repel dirt and also to help to prevent moisture from getting into the dense inner coat.
Common dog breeds such as Huskies, sheepdogs, Great Pyrenees, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Pomeranians, Corgis, German Shepherd Dogs, and most terriers will have double coats. Mixed breed dogs with any of these breeds in their heritage will also typically be double coated.
It is important to routinely groom a double coated dog. The longer between grooming, the more the outer and inner coats can mat, making the process more challenging for the groomer and more painful for the dog.
- Always start by using a wire brush or a pin brush to remove loose hairs from the outer coat and any debris trapped in the coat. Then, use a grooming rake, which is a specialized tool to get through the double coat and gently remove any dead hair or tangles from the inner coat.
- Start from the back of the dog and go forward, pushing the hair forward and very gently using the grooming rake or pin brush to brush it back into place. Never brush or use a comb against the direction of the hair growth. Just think about grooming the hair to fall back into place to keep it simple.
- There are specialized, wide toothed combs to use if there are mats in the inner or outer coat. There are also dog-friendly, and dog formulated detangler sprays that can be very helpful in removing stubborn small knots and mats in the coat.
- Comb from the outer edges of the mat to the center, taking small amounts of hair at a time from the edge of the mat. Do not pull excessively on the mat as this can damage the dog’s skin. Also, do not let a mat stay in the coat as it will simply get bigger over time.
- If the mat is not possible to comb out, it can be clipped. It will be necessary to be extra careful not to cut the dog, so only use the scissors parallel to the dog’s body. For those people unsure of the process, a trip to the groomer is the best option.
Finally, most double coated dogs will “blow” their coat once or twice a year. This is when the inner coat sheds, and there will be significant hair loss. Daily or every other day grooming for this week or two in the spring and fall can help to keep your dog’s coat looking great.