Dog Grooming/what brush to use
QUESTION: Hi Elizabeth,
Hopefully you can give me some advice-I have a german shepherd/lab mix who is shedding NON-STOP. You should see the dust bunnies in my house! I'll admit we don't bathe her as often as we probably should, she doesn't have much of an odor and I'm afraid to dry our her skin and coat so we only bathe her once every couple of months. I've recently been using the furminator, which has been amazing, until I realized it seems to be getting the same amount of fur out every time- that's when I learned you can't use it as often as I thought. I had been using it about once a week, but with the huge influx of fur this past week, I used it 2 days in a row, oopps! Of course I don't want to damage her coat or skin but at the same time this problem really has to be kept under control- what can I use that would be safe on more of a daily or every other day basis? And how often can I use the furminator? Also, I thought dogs are supposed to go through 2 big shedding seasons a year with the beginning of summer and winter- but its the middle of the summer here in NY….is this just how she's going to shed forever?
Thanks so much!
ANSWER: Hi Ashly,
First off you need a better brush- forget the furminator - it is not the correct tool for the dense coat you are dealing with. The correct tool is a Mars Coat King- there are imitations but you get what you pay for so don't skimp- get the double wide 18 blade model.
Second- if you don't get the first shedding of the season it will continue year round. A bath is only as good as you prepare and finish- Brushing thoroughly first, using a diluted shampoo so it rinses out easily and most important- blow drying the coat to remove what you just loosened up in the bath. If you don't blow dry the undercoat just sits on the skin and dries like felt and then comes loose later when the hair grows and the dog scratches or rolls around on your furniture. A metal comb is the best friend you have after you remove the dead coat. It also lets you know if you got it all.
High velocity dryers blow all the dead coat out after a good brushing and bath. You are not going to dry your dogs coat out bathing it once a month- that is a myth. Do, however, dilute the shampoo 10 parts water to 1part shampoo. If you can use a curry in the bath to loosen the coat even more so it just rinses away. There are some great cream rinses that help shed the coat as well but throw away that fulminator- it cuts off the precious guard hairs that help water proof you dogs coat.
Shedding occurs when the light changes in the spring and fall- at the Equinoxes. It has nothing to do with heat otherwise it wouldn't shed in the fall - right?
A Universal slicker Brush - a brand name- is the best for heavy undercoat but be careful not to press hard or you can give the dog brush burn and have defeated your purpose since he won't let you near him with it. Be careful. Use the large Greyhound metal comb to check for unremoved under coat. then use the Coat King like a comb to rake out the rest.
hope this was helpful.
Also if you decide to take your dog to a salon to get a good deshedding- doubtful if you don't know what to ask for- tell them you don't want the dog cage dried- only hand combed and brushed dried
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QUESTION: Wow, thank you so much. That was all super helpful. I will definitely buy the Mars and universal slicker brush, what type of curry comb do you recommend? I see a bunch online, some have long rubber teeth and others are short, what's best for her type of fur? Any particular brand? Can I use the curry when she's dry or only in the bath? Thanks again, I really appreciate all of the advice I had no idea I was doing it all wrong!
the curry is best used in the tub as a scrub brush- a medium toothed one should be just fine. It can be used dry but won't be as effective as the Coat King or slicker.
It is a time consuming process I know but once you get it under control your life will be a whole lot less hairy. Set everything up before you start - be organized, your dog will appreciate it.
I also recommend a proper table so you aren't breaking your back and the dog knows what the purpose is. If you don't want to get a table then get the arm you can attach to a table you might already have and use a yoga matt for her to stand on so the surface is not slippery and she will be more comfortable. Same thing goes in the tub- use a rubber bath matt so she doesn't slide around - it freaks them out having no control.