How to Brush a Small Dog With a Double Coat

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Medium
10 - 30 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

Do you know that your small dog's double coat not only keeps him warm in winter, but keeps him cool in summer too?  Small dogs such as Havanese, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, and some little terriers including the Yorkshire Terrier have double coats. Double coats require brushing and maintenance to ensure that mats do not form in the thick undercoat. 

Because most people think a thick undercoat, such as is present with a double coat only keeps body heat in, many pet owners think that clipping their double-coated dog in summer is necessary to keep him cool. Actually, his thick undercoat can also work to insulate him from outside heat, keeping him cool. With proper grooming, your small double-coated dog can keep his coat, look great, and stay warm or cool, no matter what the outside temperature. It will take some brushing to maintain his coat, and certain tools and techniques make grooming a small dog with a double coat much more effective. Read on for more information.

Dog's Perspective

Dogs with double coats, “blow their coat”, twice a year--in the fall to prepare for winter and in spring to prepare for summer. At this time, your double-coated dog will seem to be shedding lots of fluffy fur from his undercoat. Your dog may ingest this fur during self-grooming, which can cause serious intestinal obstructions. Also, losing their undercoat and having lots of loose hair makes your small double coated dog look unsightly, can result in mats if excess undercoat hair is not brushed out, and may even be itchy for your little dog, especially if dry skin is present. Daily brushing to keep undercoats tangle-free and remove dead hair during shedding (and the rest of the year too) will keep your double-coated small dog looking and feeling his best by distributing body oils to prevent dry skin and removing dander dirt and hair that can cause knots and mats at the skin, which are very uncomfortable and can result in trapped moisture and skin sores.  

The Regular Brushing Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Deshedder
Dematter
Comb
Step
1
Elevate
Elevate your small dog on a table, counter, or on your lap so you can easily reach all sides of your dog and get under the belly and limbs.
Step
2
De-mat
Separate out mats with your fingers, use de-matting spray, and work out mats as much as possible with fingers. Then de-mat your small double-coated dog with a de-matter, a rake with a blade that cuts matted chunks of hair. The tool only cuts when there is resistance, not when there is no mat present, so it protects the rest of your dog’s hair.
Step
3
Use slicker
Once mats are addressed, brush the undercoat with a slicker brush. Brush in the direction that hair grows. Separate hair down to the skin and work in sections. Start at the neck and work backwards in short strokes. Remove excess hair from the brush as it accumulates. Manipulate legs by lifting to get under them and reach the belly.
Step
4
Comb
Use an undercoat comb or rake to brush out the undercoat thoroughly from skin to end.
Step
5
Smooth
Once undercoat is brushed through, use a pin brush or boar bristle brush to smooth your small dog's top coat, legs and face. This smooths top coat, removes top coat hair and distributes oils.
Recommend grooming method?

The Rolling the Coat Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Pin Brush
Comb
Step
1
Lay dog on side
Once a week, have your dog lie on his side to roll his coat.
Step
2
Spray and part hair
Mist your dog with water from a spray bottle, and use a pin brush with no knobs on the end. Separate your dog's hair and hold it towards the front of your dog with your hand.
Step
3
Backbrush
Brush the undercoat backwards against the direction of growth.This encourages new hair growth and distributes body oils. Start at the front of dog and work towards back.
Step
4
Brush in direction of growth
Once your dog's side has been back brushed, brush hair back in the direction of growth. Turn your dog on his other side and repeat.
Step
5
Check with comb for tangles
Use a comb to thoroughly comb out your dog, checking for any tangles that may have been created during back brushing.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • When working with a small dog with a thick undercoat, avoid pulling tangles and mats.  Hold hair between skin and brush or comb to prevent tension when possible.
  • If mats and knots require cutting out, work carefully and do not point scissors at your small dog.  A de-matting tool is useful for removing mats safely.
  • Use water or detangler spray before brushing so that grooming does not damage or break hairs.
  • Ensure that double coats are groomed right down to the skin to ensure mats do not form, which can trap moisture and cause skin sores.
  • Take breaks when brushing a young or nervous small dog with a double coat, as lengthy bushings can be too stressful for them.

Conclusion

All double-coated dogs need a little extra brushing to maintain that thick undercoat, including the little guys. Because undercoats can easily mat, you will need to brush right down to the skin, working methodically in sections, to ensure that knots in the undercoat, excess debris, and hair is removed and mats are prevented. Using the right tools for undercoats and the correct size tools for your small dog will make the job easier for you and for your dog. Daily brushing a double-coated dog is usually necessary, and weekly back brushing to stimulate hair growth and fluff up your double-coated small dog will really make him stand out!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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