Grooming Your Dog: Shedding, Combing & Brushing
Our human hair grows in never ending strands, and only comes out when it is broken or pulled. Dog hair, however, grows and dies in "cycles". The first stage is characterized by a strong growth spurt. That is followed by a period of almost zero growth, then a loss of hair. Then the "cycle" begins again. Depending on the breed of your dog, these cycles could last anywhere from four to five months.
The loss of hair period is known and dreaded by many dog lovers as "shedding". All breeds tend to shed, although some do it more dramatically than others. Shedding is one of the reasons dogs need grooming. When dogs are shedding, the best way to remove hair is to get the dog between your legs, massage his coat and skin with your hands to loosen hair, then stroke from head to foot with the palms of your hands. If you do this twice a day in the back yard during the shedding season, you'll have very few shedding problems.
Grooming also helps to remove dirt particles (the finer combs will even bring out fleas and lice). Combing and brushing will help prevent hair mats or balls, will distribute hair oil, and will help to make the healthy coat glisten. Combing also helps to keep the hair in place, of course.
Use The Proper Grooming Tools
Some tools are mandatory when grooming your dog, others are optional:
Long-tooth slicker or wire brush: Best for long haired dogs. Slickers remove tangles and knots with fine wire bristles. A must have for dogs that shed heavily and have thick coats.
Shedding Blade: Great for long haired dogs, shedding blades go beneath the outer hair coat to remove the dead underlayer, where 95% of shedding hair comes from.
Chamois Cloth: For sleek, short haired dogs.
Rubber Curry Brush: For short haired dogs.
Flea Comb: A fine-toothed comb that removes debris, insects, insect eggs, lice, and fleas.
Each breed will require grooming instruments of differing sizes and strengths. Ask your groomer which types are best for your dog. After a good combing and brushing, you should also give your dog a bath.
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