Using an Undercoat Rake on Long-Haired Dogs
Grooming your dog is an important part of the bonding process between her and you. Ideally, you would start this when your dog is a puppy. Realistically, though, a lot of people adopt dogs that are older.
Either way, you would begin the daily grooming procedure by first running your hands over the entire dog, including handling the feet. Eventually you will want to use a brush and undercoat rake on long-haired dogs.
This is an inexpensive way to keep your dog looking great. The expensive way is to leave the hair alone until it’s so bad it has to be groomed by a professional groomer at the cost of $50 or more.
Table of Contents
But for now, run your fingers gently between your dog’s toes and handle the nails. You may want to give a treat or two as you do this. This will help your puppy or older dog become acclimated to having her nails trimmed, which is an important part of regular grooming.
Nail trimming is something that most dogs will need to have done every few weeks for the rest of their lives unless they keep them worn down by walking on pavement or other abrasive surface. Even these dogs should have their nails checked periodically by a professional to see if they need trimming.
Importance of Daily Brushing
The next thing you would do with your new dog is start using a soft brush on her. Run it all over her body and offer treats along with the brushing to make it a positive experience. Even if your dog is short-haired, it is still important to brush her on a regular basis to get rid of dead hair. This is also a good way to find any skin problems as your dog ages.
Things you might discover while grooming are ticks, fleas, lumps and growths, puncture wounds, cuts, hot spots, etc. These are things that you might not notice otherwise until a sore becomes infected or a tick bite becomes very irritated.
Long-haired dogs will need more extensive grooming, some of which might need to be done by a professional groomer. But there is still plenty you can do in between groomings to make the trip to the groomer a much more pleasant experience.
If you brush and comb out your long-haired dog on a daily basis it will only take a few minutes. But if you let it go a few weeks without combing through the hair, the hair could become matted and cause a lot of pain when you or the groomer try to comb it out.
An Undercoat Rake is Best for Getting Rid of Dead Undercoat
Using a brush alone on a long-haired dog such as a Sheltie, shihtzu, Lhasa Apso, Chow Chow, etc. is not going to keep the undercoat from matting up. A wire brush is only good for the outer layer of hair on long-haired dogs.
But a metal comb or undercoat rake is what is needed to get through all of the hair down to the skin. You do need to be careful not to put so much pressure on it that you scrape your dog’s skin, but this is the only way to get the undercoat out so it doesn’t mat up.
An undercoat rake is especially helpful in areas such as on the haunches, along the sides and also throughout the tail. A metal comb is good to use behind the ears and in the arm pits of your dog.
Some tools will have just the teeth to comb through the thick hair, while others will actually have blades that cut through the tangled mats and thick coat. How often you comb your dog out will determine which one you should use.
If you plan to work on your dog’s hair every day, using the undercoat rake with teeth only should be fine.
If it’s gone too long and the hair is matted, there are a couple things you can do. To remove mats from a long-haired dog, you might want to try the de-matting tool with blades to help cut through the hair. Just be careful, of course, not to cut your dog.
Or you might just choose to shave your dog down to get rid of the mats and basically start over. Then you can be sure to keep the hair combed and brushed as it grows out.
Usually a professional groomer will charge extra if she has to take extra time to comb out a matted dog, plus there is just no easy way to do it without causing some pain to your dog. You can imagine trying to pull mats out of your own hair if you hadn’t combed it in weeks. That would hurt!
Taking a Few Minutes a Day Will Save Money and Pain
If you can take a few minutes every day to run an undercoat rake or comb and brush through your dog’s long hair, you can save money and save your dog the pain of having mats combed out.
Some groomers may not even have the time to de-mat a dog and will, instead, shave him down to the skin. Most dog owners don’t want their dogs that short but when a dog has tight mats, the only clipper blade that will get under the mats is the shortest or nearly the shortest blade.
On the other hand, many owners of breeds such as shihtzus, Lhasas, Cocker spaniels and others that have hair that tends to mat easily, may want to keep them clipped fairly short so they don’t have to worry about the tangles.
Many people think if they just brush their dogs with a wire dog grooming brush they are doing a good enough job. And by looking at the dog , she may look well-groomed. But that’s because the brush is only reaching the outer layer. If you tried to run a comb through the hair, you might find it getting caught in tangles.
So just to recap –
- grooming is an important way to create a wonderful bond between you and your dog
- it’s a good way to check your dog over for any problems
- it prepares her for a trip to a professional groomer
- giving treats while grooming makes it a pleasant experience
- it will also help prepare your dog for trips to the vet, where her feet or other body parts might need to be handled, because she’ll be used to the handling and grooming you have done
- use a brush for short-haired dogs
- use a brush for the outer layer and an undercoat rake for the undercoat of long-haired dogs