How to Groom a Dog's Undercoat

Easy
15 - 20 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Many breeds of dogs such as Alaskan Malamutes, Old English Sheepdogs, and Huskies have a double coat to help them cope with the colder weather that is part of their native environment. While this may be perfectly normal for your pup, having this type of coat can make regular grooming a challenge. 

Keeping his coat properly groomed will not only keep your pup looking his best, but it is an important part of your dog's health. Oh, and it will definitely increase the lifespan of your vacuum cleaner. You could pay a professional groomer, but this can get very expensive. 

Dog's Perspective

Most dogs who have a heavy undercoat tend to shed, on average, twice each year. Once in the spring as they get rid of their heavy winter coat and once in the fall as they get rid of the lighter summer coat in order for their heavy winter coat to grow in. Even though your pup may do this, you still need to groom his undercoat on a regular basis, to help remove debris, dirt, fleas, and ticks. This also gives you time to looks for any injuries and to help your dog to stay healthy and happy. 

The De-Matting Rake Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Flea Comb
Deshedder
Dematter
Towel
Step
1
Working from the bottom up
For this, you will need a de-matting brush. This brush has a covered blade with a retractable protective cover. Take this tool and work it slowly through your pup's undercoat, starting right at the base of the roots. The tool is designed to brush smoothly through your dog's hair until it comes across a mat. At this point, the cover will retract and allow the blade to cut the mat gently out of your pup's coat.
Step
2
Going after the loose hair
For this step, you will need a de-shedding comb or brush. Using this brush, go over your pup's coat working in the same direction his hair grows (typically from front to back). Keep your brush strokes to no longer than 6 inches long and work from your dog's head to his tail. While you are brushing, be sure to remove the buildup of hair in the brush frequently or it won't be able to do its job. Keep brushing until the brush comes out clean.
Step
3
Shower time
With his undercoat all nicely brushed out, it's time for a bath or shower. Using a shower on a hose makes this job much easier. Set the water temperature to lukewarm. Too hot can injure your pup and too cold can be uncomfortable. Make sure you wet every inch of his body and avoid getting water directly into his eyes or ears.
Step
4
Shampoo and set
Using a shampoo made especially for dogs, go over his entire coat scrubbing gently to remove dirt and debris. Pay close attention to your pup's "private" areas and his paws. Once he has been thoroughly scrubbed, completely rinse all traces of shampoo out of his coat.
Step
5
Good to the last stroke
Take a good quality boar bristle brush and go over your pup's coat from front to back. This will help to remove any tangles resulting from his bath. Once his coat has completely dried, one final brushing will have your pup looking his best.
Recommend grooming method?

The Every Brush Has a Purpose Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Flea Comb
Deshedder
Dematter
Comb
Clipper
Towel
Step
1
It all starts with a good bath
One of the best ways to start the grooming process is to give your pup a nice warm shower or bath. Using vet-approved shampoo and either a shower head on a hose or a pitcher in the tub, soak your pup's coat and then use the shampoo to thoroughly wash his coat. This helps to remove dirt, debris, fleas, ticks, and many of the mats and tangles he might have. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the shampoo out of his coat and let it dry.
Step
2
Everything in its place
Choose one spot in your home where you will always be able to groom your dog. Using the same place every time can help keep your dog calmer and avoid confusion. Carefully place the tools you need close at hand, so you don't have to step away from your pup. It's also a good idea to have plenty of treats on hand. Call your dog over to you and have him stand in place.
Step
3
The pin brush
The first brush you need is a pin or undercoat brush. This is specifically designed to be used on your pup's undercoat. Starting at skin level, gently work the brush through your pup's undercoat, bring it to a point that is approximately 2 inches from the tips of his hair. Using either a pair of shears or electric clippers, trim out any tangles or mats.
Step
4
The shedding brush
Time to grab the shedding brush and go over your pup's entire coat working from his head to his tail. Be sure to give his underbelly particular attention as this area tends to have the longest hair. The brush is designed to remove all loose hair just like when he sheds normally. Keeping the brush cleaned out frequently will give you better results and make the work go faster.
Step
5
Trim him up
Put away the shedding brush and grab a boar's hair brush. Go over your pup's entire coat to separate out the hairs and smooth out his coat. If you see any hair that needs to be trimmed, use a pair of shears or electric clippers to trim and level his coat. Once last brushing and you are all done.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Never use any products such as shampoos, conditioner, and detanglers intended for humans, as they can seriously injure your dog.
  • Even if you do use dog shampoo, you need to make sure you thoroughly rinse it out of his coat as long-term exposure can cause rashes and other skin problems.
  • Never shave your dog down to his skin unless your vet tells you it is necessary. Doing so can result in sunburn, dry skin, allergies, and numerous other skin conditions.
  • While your pup is going through his twice-annual shed, you may want to brush him on a daily basis to help and to keep the amount of shed hair accumulating in your home to a minimum.
  • Take your time and make the entire process fun for both of you, it will make grooming much easier.
  • Talk to your vet about how often you should bathe your dog. Some, like Alaskan Malamutes, should only be bathed once or twice a year because bathing removes vital oils needed for a healthy and water-resistant coat. 

Conclusion

Grooming your dog's undercoat and the rest of his coat can be challenging, but the results are more than worth the effort. Your dog will always look his best, and it gives you the opportunity to check him over for fleas, ticks, and injuries.  Make grooming time a good time for both of you to bond, be sure to have a healthy supply of his favorite treats on hand to add to the fun and to use as rewards. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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