This article written by owner of CAS dog and she would like to share her long time experience as a Dog groomer about Proper care for Double coats dog breeds.
As people, we differ from any other species on the planet with our incredibly strong need and want to develop bonds with the people and things we encounter in our day to day lives. Over time we have developed a ‘love’ for not just the people but animals in our life. Whether we brought pets into our homes for working or bonding purposes, dogs have very much so become ‘Man’s Best Friend’. This has made it easy for us dog owners to develop a deep desire to care for our dogs in the best way we can, same as any other members of our families. This being so, it had become relatively easy to unintentionally do things that may not be in the best interest of our pets. We often-times find ourselves projecting emotions and feelings from our own subconscious onto our animals. Simple things like dinner time can give us the urge to give leftover scraps to our dogs. This makes us feel happy, like we are including our dogs as members of our families when in reality this does more harm than good. One of the biggest misconceptions I see among pet owners has to do with none other than your dog’s coat. I hear people almost daily saying things such as “He is so hot with all that hair”, or “She is just so much happier when her hair is shaved”. This all boils down to the notorious annoyance called ‘shedding’. Most people wind up shaving their dogs with the false understanding that this will decrease or eliminate shedding. Some people find themselves worn out by the seemingly endless amount of brushing and combing without seeing any actual decrease in the amount of hair coating their floors and furniture. They then come to the decision that shaving is the best option. This article is going to share with you why shaving is never the answer but help you to understand the purpose of a dogs coat and how to properly tackle shedding in the best way for your dog. So let’s start at the beginning. Each and every breed whether designed by nature or human interference through selective breeding has a purpose for their coat. It will keep them cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and even dry when it rains. It protects them from the sun’s damaging UV Rays. It gives them a barrier to protect against parasites, bug bites and any other harsh conditions the environment has to offer. A double coated breed has both a guard coat and undercoat. The guard coat is vital in allowing it to function the way it was designed. These sleek, coarse hairs are designed with a waterproof coating to help keep the undercoat protected which in totality protects the skin and organs of any double coated breed. It is vital to help spread the natural oils produced by the dogs skin throughout the body preventing skin and coat damage. The guard coat is also what enables a dog to stay safe outdoors without receiving sun damage. These guard hairs grow at a completely different rate than the undercoat. The undercoat is what will be found all over your house and yard. You will find this especially true during season changes. This is what most pet owners want to irradicate and the reason why lots result in shaving their dogs. Here is why you don’t want to do that. When you shave a double coated breed you completely disrupt the natural growth cycle of the coat. You take away all of the guard hairs leaving the dogs susceptible to all of its environment. They no longer have sun protection leaving them open to things as serious as skin cancer. You take away their ability to handle the changing temperatures in whatever region they reside. You leave them with no protection from the millions of parasites, bacteria and insects they come into contact with on a daily basis. Not to mention you take away their ability to maintain proper pH levels throughout their body. Now you have left nothing but a thin layer of undercoat that is not designed to do any of the things the guard hairs do. If the dog gets wet they not longer have waterproof protection. It will take longer to dry, longer to cool down, harder to keep cool and hard to warm up. When the hair starts to grow back, you will notice a coat that is nothing like the one you shaved off. Some guard coats can take up to 5 years to regrow. Some may not grow back at all due to ‘post groom alopecia’. This leaves you with nothing but undercoat. Without the guard hairs to divide and provide oil throughout the undercoat you will run into impaction, an increase in shedding, and lots of potential for skin infections. As humans, interference is a way of nature for us. We as a species have found ourselves trying to fix or better things that are not broken. We have a tendency to force our emotions onto our dogs when in reality they do not exist anywhere aside from our own heads. For example, seeing a dog panting, we can assume they are ‘too hot’ when in reality they are simply cooling down the only way their bodies know how. We sweat, they pant. It’s really as simple as that! So how do we tackle shedding? It’s simple! Maintain a proper healthy coat. Diet is the first and most important part of this. We are what we eat and that rings true for dogs as well. Instead of grabbing food that’s the cheapest go for a food that is not loaded with byproducts, fillers and dye. Not only will this improve their coat and skin but it will also help with dental health and digestion. Next we can add supplements to their diet. Polluck and salmon oil, flaxseed, herbs and vitamins. All of these will help to drastically improve coat condition thus drastically decreasing unwanted shedding. Lastly, let’s address grooming. If you don’t want to take your dog to the Groomer on a monthly or bimonthly schedule I suggest purchasing a few simple tools and products. When bathing, the shampoo you use is just as important to them as it is to us. Find a conditioning dog shampoo with added vitamins and minerals to replace what may be stripped out while washing. Shampoo your dog with warm water to help open up the cuticles and release maximum amount of undercoat. Condition with a product specially formulated for deshedding purposes and rinse with cold water. This helps to close off the cuticles, trap in nutrients, and trick the coat into thinking it’s colder and the hair needs to stay in. Drying is the most important part. Invest in a HVD (high velocity dryer). This will blow out all of the hair your dog was shedding whilst giving it a smooth silky finish. Brushing is really not necessary and abrasive brushes can damage your dog’s skin and coat. I suggest getting a grooming rake and metal coated comb if you want to run through the coat after fully drying it. Those few things will keep your dog happy and healthy. You will see a huge difference in shedding, coat condition and even allergies. Don’t just do what is best or most convenient for you, do what’s best for your dog!
Ce’Neidra McComb Professional Groomer of 13 years Dog Trainer of 9 years Owner and lover of CAS