Do you brush AND comb your dog after every single bath?
I would place a bet and say that most dog parents do not brush their dog. I get it, it isn’t always the most joyful of tasks or duties to tend to. Just because I happen to love it, doesn’t mean the rest of the pet world finds it as satisfying as I do. So let’s start there on agreeing that most folks do not brush their dogs.
The next tricky bit of business is the combing. If people do brush, most are so fed up, they can’t be bothered to use the comb. Understandable, a second step, takes more time, more wiggling and you’d rather spend your time together relaxing. Gotcha!
Or pet parents don’t understand the value of a good quality “Greyhound Comb.” Usually because nobody has ever educated them about the importance of brushing AND combing. Both are necessary and both are need to be together, forever, neither shall ever be apart.
Here’s another interesting situation that is surprisingly very common and it causes a fair bit of upset for dog owners who do not know about this. Some dog owners LOVE to bath their dogs, they absolutely love to keep their dogs clean and smelling fresh at all times. I think this is wonderful and I would never discourage anyone from bathing their dog at home regularly.
Here’s what happens. The dog starts to get a bit smelly and kind of shabby looking. The dog is a smaller breed, so it isn’t that much of a challenge to pop them into the sink and give them a quick bath. I have had many clients that make it a weekly routine to invite the dog into the shower with them on the weekends. It’s a Saturday, or a Sunday, and they have developed a weekly “shower” ritual with the pooch. Especially if the dog is white.
Those guys show the dirt and muck a lot more than than the tan, black or brown haired fellas. So mom or dad just gives them a quick bath every Saturday and, voila, problem solved. Clean yes, dirt no. I think it’s brilliant myself.
If that pattern continues without brushing or combing AFTER the bath, problems start to arise. I see it all the time and very rarely do pet parents understand what has been happening in front of them for the last 3 months. They will say to me with pride and their chests puffed out……….
“I give him a bath every week!”
Here’s the “rub.” Two not so awesome things happen in these situations.
- any hair that has a little bit of matting will get tighter & closer to the skin.
- The hair that isn’t matted, will winde around the matted hair. Thus making a small-ish matt, just a little bit bigger.
Fast forward into a few more weeks or months into the future with the same ritual and we have a big problem. Over time, the dog’s entire body becomes entirely encased in what we refer to as “cast matting.” Which means, from the head to the tail, the hair is one massive tight matt ball. The entire body of the dog is trapped in a prison of matts against the skin. So it’s similar to a body cast.
The dog is as clean as a whistle. Not a single speck of dirt, sparkling, shining, and clean on top. However, it is also tightly matted, and the skin is not breathing properly because it is matted underneath. Mom and dad haven’t got the slightest idea that the dog is in this condition. They are happy and proud that their beloved is so bright and shinny, and honestly, they’ve worked really hard to keep him that way. Gold stars to them, absolutely.
When they make an appointment at the grooming salon for a tidy up or a full grooming. More often than not the owners are shocked that their beloved MUST be shaved short.
The story completely changes for them when they add in that extra step of a thorough brushing and combing after the bath. In a perfect world of maintaining your dog’s hair and coat. Pet parents would have a routine of brushing and combing their dog a few times each week. Just 10 or 15 minutes every few days should be sufficient for most coat types and length. This ensures that there is little to no matting in the coat at any time. Go ahead and proceed with the weekly bathing if you would like and note that there are zero knots and or tangles. Therefore, there is less opportunity for matts to become tangled and or tight during the bath, because you have eliminated them before the bath.
Please note that I have pointed out a few times the need for brushing and combing. This is another step that pet parents often don’t know about or often think it’s ok to skip. I like to reference the comb as a “lie detector.”
A good quality comb, used properly will detect the little lies that are hiding in your dog’s coat. So if you have not brushed effectively. Or if the your brush of choice turns out to actually be the wrong tool for the job. By adding in the very important step of combing your dog after you have used the brush. The comb will snag, it will drag, it will tug and it will alert you to the reality that you need to go back over that spot with your brush again. Essentially, the comb tells you the lies that you need to see, so that you can go back and make it right.
I use one kind of brush on all breeds and that brush is called a “Slicker Brush.” I use one kind of metal comb and that is called a “Greyhound Comb” You will spend about $20 to purchase of both of them.
So there you go, if you are a regular bather at home. Good for you, keep up the good hard work. Just remember to never forget about the brushing and combing step after the bath. Add this step into your routine and you are well on your way to always having the look and hairstyle that you want your dog to have.
I hope this has helped you and thank you for being a part of my community. If you have questions or challenges with grooming and maintaining your dog’s coat at home….send me a note and I’ll do my best to answer you and give you a hand.