• Hackles

De-Shedding treatment? Why your dog needs it!

It's blow out time again, our furry friends are shedding, leaving clumps of hair everywhere they go. But how many of you are actually considering booking your dog in at the groomers for a de-shed treatment? It's probably the most valuable service I offer, that both you and your dog really benefit from.  I have clients tell me they have gone from hoovering the dog hair in the house everyday to once per week 😄

Dogs shed all year round, but most double coated breeds have an obvious shedding or 'blow out' period twice a year around Spring and Autumn. Short haired terrier types, can shed all year round, leaving their spiky little hairs stuck in any soft furnishing they come into contact with - my English Bulldog is one such breed that is constantly shedding.  But with a vigorous bath, blow dry with the blaster and a good going over with a de-shedding tool, I can drastically reduce the amount of hair she leaves behind.

Clients who have a de-shed treatment for the first time often can't believe the amount of hair that can be removed from a dog that doesn't even appear to be shedding that much. I can easily fill a 10 gallon tub with undercoat from a Labrador and black sacks have been filled with the undercoat from German Shepherds (GSD). Even my sister's tiny short haired Chihuahua gives up a good handful. 

Removing dead undercoat is a basic maintenance job just like trimming their claws. As well as helping keep dog's cooler in warm weather, removing dead undercoat helps prevent knotting and matting. So often I have to carry out what I call the ‘culotte clip’ - shaving off the matted areas on the backs of thighs on GSD's, Collie's, Retrievers, Spaniels because the area hasn't been de-shedded or thinned and all the dead hair has become matted, stinky and damp. In truth, regular bathing, blow drying and a de-shed at the right time of the year keeps the coat in good condition and stops the need for unsightly clips. Additionally, close clipping/shaving, though solving the immediate problem, actually makes the area more susceptible to matting as the coat grows back like fuzzy velcro.

It's a misconception that de-shedding is just a good brush out. For some short coated breeds, that is all that's needed and it can easily be managed at home. Others require intervention to help them give up the hair. The process of de-shedding often begins with the 'blaster', the high velocity dryer used to blast water off the coat after a bath. When used on a dry coat it separates and loosens dead coat, helping dislodge dirt and all manner of coat clinker. Once in the bath a variety of mitts or rubber combs are used in conjunction with conditioners to massage and stimulate the skin and coat to shed. After the coat is blasted again and dried, specialised bladed tools are used to remove remaining dead undercoat but leaving the top coat undamaged. Coat King's, Furminator's, rakes, shedding blades and coat grabbing slickers come in a range of designs and what works for some won’t work for other's - unless you are familiar with the tool you need, you're best off taking your dog to a groomer who'll have all manner of tools at their disposal. (Not to mention that de-shedding a large, thick coated dog is hard, messy work!)

I can’t stress enough the benefits of de-shedding and regular bathing and blow drying, older dogs in particular. Old dogs with heavy coats and long hair that are prone to matting such as long haired Collie's, GSD's, Labradors, Retrievers, all Mountain breeds, Pomeranians etc - it is absolutely essential for their wellbeing. Old dogs hold on to their undercoat which can lead to real problems if left untended. The dead undercoat builds up making them itchy, smelly and scurfy and matts quickly form preventing air from circulating near the skin, giving bacteria and fungi a perfect breeding ground. Old dog's skin just like humans, becomes papery, thin and can be very sensitive so they are far less tolerant of brushing and de-matting, meaning that in severe cases they have to be shaved - not ideal for an old dog. Regular bathing & blow drying (approx every 6-8 weeks) is not just about cleaning the coat, it's a painless way to reduce the need for time consuming brushing and de-shedding which old dog's can find uncomfortable and tiring.

Why not book your four legged friend in for a de-shed and see the difference :)

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