Grooming a dog with a double coat

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When it comes to grooming a dog with a double coat it’s important to understand how to take proper care of the coat all year round, to help ensure it can properly do the job it was designed to do.

Many dog breeds have a double coat, and some might even surprise you.   They include the obvious ones like arctic Spitz-type breeds such as the Samoyed, Husky, Chow Chow, Pomeranian and Japanese Spits, but can also include breeds like the German Shepherd, Corgi, Border Collie, Golden Retriever, Pug and many more.

There are of course many other types of coats including Smooth Coats (Eg: Staffy, Boxer, Dalmatian), Wire Coats (Eg: Border Terrier, Scottish Terrier), Curly Coats (Eg: Poodle and Bichon Frisè) and Long Coats (Eg: Yorkshire Terrier and Bernese Mountain Dog), so it’s important to understand how to best care for your dog’s coat depending on it’s breed and hair type to avoid some common grooming mistakes that can make your dog very uncomfortable and even put them at risk in the hot Summer or cold Winter months.

What is a double coat?

Essentially, a double coat is made up of a soft undercoat and a tougher top coat and is found on many of these breeds that originated in the cold climates.  It’s any coat that has two layers of fur, one being short and dense that provides insulation from hot and cold weather, while the top layer helps shield it against moisture and dirt.

When it comes to grooming a dog with a double coat,  many people mistakenly focus on brushing out the top coat, forgetting that it’s the undercoat that needs our attention.

Tools to use when grooming a dog with a double coat

The key to grooming a dog with a double coat is to regularly removing the loose hair of the undercoat. For the shorter haired ones you can use the DGG pin or slicker brush to brush out both the under and outer coats, and for longer coats, the DGG Hemp Bristle Brush and Shedding Rake helps remove the undercoat.

Divide their fur into different sections and then brush out each section from the skin outwards, a detangler spray can help remove knots, then brush and smooth out the fur with the hemp bristle side.

Remember to rake or run a comb over their whole body from their head, neck, legs, tail and everything in between.

Why shaving double coats should be avoided

Summer can be particularly harsh on these dogs as their coats are heavy and as they insulate, they can trap too much heat.   For this reason, many people think that shaving their pooch with a double coat in Summer will help keep him/her cool.  However, this can have the opposite effect.

Unless your pooch has some serious matting, shaving him/her does not help keep them cool and can damage their hair and prevent from doing its job correctly. The best type of grooming for coats therefore is with a vigorous undercoat raking to remove the hair from the undercoat.

Another thing to note, if you decide to cut or trim the double coats of your dog in Summer, is that the hair doesn’t always grow back. Especially in older dogs where the hair can regrow patchy and make your pooch look frizzy in appearance.

These are the reasons why some groomers will refuse to shave dogs with a double coat, and is something all owners should seek professional advice about from your Vet or experienced groomer if you are unsure.

Washing a dog with a double coat

The key for grooming a dog with a double coat is to make sure you wash them with a quality, natural shampoo like the DGG range and then dry them properly with a hair dryer so they don’t retain water which could cause problems for their skin.  ALWAYS brush out their hair and knots before wetting them.

Top Tips for grooming dog a double with a double coat
  • Brush your double coated dog a few times a week, getting right into the under coat with a special ‘rake’ designed to remove the undercoat to allow the air to circulate and the skin to breath.
  • Use a coat detangler spray to help when brushing out any knots.
  • Use a dog specific, natural and Ph Balanced dog shampoo and conditioner when washing your dog and make sure it is well rinsed out.
  • After any ocean swims, wash the salt water out.
  • Make sure your dog’s undercoat is dried after a wash or swim to avoid bacteria building up and skin irritations and infections.
  • If you find your dog gets a lot of knots or matting, take to the groomer every few weeks for a tidy and brush out.

About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love Your Dog

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