Long-haired dogs are stunning to look at, but for most people, it can also be intimidating. But let me tell you – it doesn’t have to be that way. Just as with with the hair on your head, finding a regimen that works for you and your dog can make things both easier and more comfortable. It’s finding out what you need to do that can be tricky.
Thankfully, we have you covered, and will give you the lowdown on everything you need to know to keep your dog’s coat shiny, free of knots and most of all, more comfortable for your canine companion.
Before we get started on the basics though, it’s important to know the type of coat your dog has. There are essentially six different types of dog coats, some requiring less grooming than others. Since our focus is on mainly dogs with thick, long coats, we will look at the two types that apply to long haired dogs.
1) Smooth Coat – Dogs with a smooth coat don’t need to be groomed as often. There’s no hair to untangle, and you usually can get away with just washing and brushing. You may also want to use a dog shampoo and conditioner that make you dog’s hair shine. A dog shampoo such as our Sparkle and Shine Brightening Shampoo should do the trick.
2) Double Coat – A double-coat is exactly what it sounds like. Not only does the dog have one layer of hair, but there’s also an undercoat, making the fur thicker than their single-coated brethren. Not all double-coated dogs have long hair – some actually have short hair. Short-haired, double-coated dogs are a bit easier to groom than the long-haired variety, but you still need to make sure to brush out the undercoat in addition to the top coat. For the undercoat, you’ll want to brush outward from the skin. For the top coat, brush in the direction of the fur instead of against it.
For long-haired dogs, you will want to section out the hair, focusing your attention on each section rather than the entire dog at once. Brush the undercoat away from the dog, as this removes any loose hair – and helps with shedding.
When brushing double-coated dogs, it’s not unusual to come across mats and tangles. Sure, you can try brushing them out, but chances are, your dog won’t be too crazy about it. Especially if there’s yanking and pulling involved. But don’t worry, there’s a special detangler that can help remove those nasty knots. Ruff to Smooth Detangler is a leave-in conditioner and detangler that can be used as an all-over conditioner after a bath or as a spot treatment on stubborn tangles. Yes, you can even use it on a dry dog, so no bath is needed to use it.
We talked about dog shampoo above, but there’s another product that’s also important to keep on hand. Most of us use conditioner on our own heads, and dogs are not much different. Having a conditioned coat can make it easier to brush and help minimize knots. Fur Butter Deep Conditioner is ideal for long-haired dogs or for those with damaged coats. In addition to helping you manage your dog’s fur, it also has colloidal oatmeal, a natural ingredient which helps minimize itching. There’s also Shea butter which helps moisturize your dog’s skin as well as their fur.
Whatever products you end up buying, however, be sure to look at the ingredients. You want to avoid sulfates, which tend to dry out skin and hair, just like in humans, and parabens. Natural ingredients like Shea butter, honey, natural based surfactants, and even yogurt are much better for your dog than many of the chemicals you’ll find in other brands. Especially when you have a dog who has a coat that is long and prone to knots and drying out, you want to make sure you take care of it much like you care for the hair on your head.
If your dog merely has long hair, but isn’t double coated, many of the same tips and tricks will still work. In fact, it’s the same philosophy, you just don’t have to worry about the undercoat. You’ll still want to find a shampoo, conditioner and a detangler to help manage the coat. Once you find the right products and start grooming them, it will only become easier and easier with repeated washings. And as an extra bonus – by grooming your dog, you will also cut down on shedding, so both you and your dog will be happier, healthier and more comfortable.