Lockdown Brushing Tips
Lockdown Brushing Guide
This guide has been put together to help keep your Furry friends in tip top condition during lockdown.
A brush a day keeps the knots at bay!
Ok so this situation is far from ideal, not only are you juggling work, home schooling, keeping a house running, you also have your Furry Friends to look after and keep their coats well maintained to prevent any unwanted issues.
We hear it all the time “they hate being brushed”, “i cant brush them at home”, “they don't stand on the table like they do for you”
We have put together this handy little guide as a way of reaching out to owners that are stuck at home watching their dogs get curlier/longer by the day. These are our top tips for helping you to brush and maintain your Furry Friends coat at home.
We are missing being at work and understand that your Furry Friends are part of the family and you want to do the best by them.
This blog aims to make it clearer on how to effectively maintain your Furry Friends coat at home, we will share our experience and advice and offer helpful hints and tips. Brushing your Furry Friends at home should be as much of a routine for them as going for a walk. As owners, it's our responsibility to look after their coat to ensure they have the best quality of life possible.
So in this part of the blog we will cover, What equipment you need for effective home brushing, where you should do your home brushing and how to do it.
So why is coat maintenance so important?
Coat maintenance is key to ensure your dog is happy, comfortable and matt free. Did you know that your dog having a matted coat is actually a welfare issue and fails to meet the needs of your dog under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Have you ever seen a cockapoo/doodle shaved short? It happens and as a groomer it's unethical for us to spend more than 15 minutes dematting a dog's coat and as a result a shave down is the best option, while it doesn't look as pretty, it soon grows!
Most of the time owners don't even realise their dog is matted as they aren't doing the maintenance required- we can tell who does!
If you don't brush your dog at home then you can't expect us to brush and groom in a two hour appointment every 6- 8 weeks. The shave down is not an easy process and can be painful and puts increased risk on the dog being injured during the process as the coat is so tight to the skin. Once the coat is removed there can be a whole host of issues found as a result of the matting such as: skin issues, sores, infection, rashes to name a few.
We always encourage owners to bring their pups to the salon as soon as they have had their 2nd vaccination and had the all clear from the vets. Early sessions to the groomers allows your pup to get used to all the sounds, sights and smells of the salon. It allows them to be introduced slowly to all the equipment used for when they finally have their big girl/boy groom!
Let's talk equipment- having the right equipment is so important.
Brushes, there are so many brushes out there, it's a minefield, we have boxes of the things but its about choosing the right brush for the right coat, else you might as well not bother.
So what brushes are out there? Which breeds are they useful for?
Slicker brush- thick/long/ curly coats i.e. Doodles. Cockapoos, Poodles, Shih-zus, anything poo cross! This brush teamed with a comb is a must!
Pin brush- silky/fine coats i.e. Yorkshire Terriers, King Charles, Spaniels.
Soft bristle brush- smooth/ short coated dogs- i.e. Labradors, Short Coated Terriers, Pugs, Frenchie's
Curry brush- smooth/ short coated dogs- i.e. Labradors, Short Coated Terriers, Pugs, Frenchie's
De-shedding brush/undercoat rakes- Double coats breeds - i.e. German Shepherds, Huskies, Pomeranians, Golden Retrievers
Comb- used on all long haired/ curly coated breeds- this is a very important part of the grooming kit and should be used with your slicker and pin brushes. It's great for locating knots.
Sprays- although not a brush, detangling/conditioning sprays can be very helpful as part of the grooming routine, make sure they are specific for dogs. There are so many on the market to buy. Our go to in the salon is the K9 Competition de-matting spray.
Where should you groom your Furry Friend at home?
If you think about when we groom in the salon and the set up we have, obviously we are not expecting you to go out and buy a table, but think about dedicating an area of the house and with consistency your Furry Friend will soon become to realise this is their brushing area.
Top Tip- don't sit on the floor, how many times have you sat on the floor and your Furry Friend wants to play or starts biting the brush thinking its a game? Guilty!
You want them to be calm and still so you get the most out of their grooming time, so where could you groom your Furry Friend?
- Dining table
- Utility room worktop
- Breakfast bar or worktop
- For your larger breeds you may want to choose an area in the house or garden, use a towel or a yoga mat for them to sit on. Make sure you use this each time you groom in your area. so your furry friend will associate this area with the grooming process.
These are all a good height and will save your back! Make sure you don't leave your Furry Friend unattended in these areas……..safety first! Also make sure this area is free from anything harmful- kettles, knife blocks, hot cups of tea! etc
Once you have your area sorted make sure you have all your equipment ready with you, the last thing you want to do is keep lifting your furry friend on and off to fetch equipment. Preparation is key!
Now let's talk about the areas to brush?
You want to be focusing your time on the areas that experiences the most friction. So where your collar sits, harness sits or if your dog wears a lot of coats/ jumpers / bodysuits, all the areas these cover need to be brushed. We have seen a lot of dogs that come in with serious matting around the armpit and down the inside of the legs due to jumpers or body suits rubbing the fur together and these areas are then missed when brushing or not being brushed at all.
Legs and feet are a very important area, think about how muddy and wet these areas get and how many times you wash these a week after a muddy walk. Who's guilty of picking up a towel and giving their Furry Friends a good rub all over to dry them? This rubbing just like your collars and coats creates friction and forms knots, if not brushed these knots next time your dog gets wet become tighter and with continuous rubbing will develop into matts.
So what is the best thing to do? Pat down your dog after a walk either with a towel, or in the salon we use Aquamats to absorb the excess water or a pair of drying mitts, then comb through the legs and paws, dry with a hair dryer on a low setting and then comb back through.
Ears are another area we often see knots and mats form, especially in dogs with long dangly ears, your cockapoos, doodles & spaniels, these ears dangle in their food, water bowls and long grass and are often rubbed dry and again if not brushed through thoroughly can develop knots and matting.
Matted ears can become very sore and in severe cases can bleed due to the pressure of the mats restricting the blood flow, once the matt is removed the blood can run to that area and bleed out known as a haematoma. Always monitor your dog and seek Veterinary if concerned.
Bums and tails- the sensitive area! Most owners will avoid this area as their dogs are not keen, but consistency, treats and the right tools will help! Little and often, just spend a few minutes each day and your furry friend will soon get into the routine.
The Face- this is another sensitive area, think about someone waving a large implement in your face! Again like with the bum area take it slow, treats and consistency. Just like the paws the face is exposed to lots of water and food, possibly wet food, which if your dog has a beard you'll know it's forever getting bits stuck in there! Combining your dog's beard through will prevent knots developing it in and your groomer having to take it short.
The last area to mention is the jacket (the back area and ribs), this is the lower maintenance area to brush and the main area owners do brush! Just because we said its low maintenance doesn't mean you should stop brushing it!
Ok so this all seems a little daunting but regular brushing at least 3 times a week and consistency you'll soon be a pro! Also even if you don't think your furry friend needs brushing make sure you keep your routine.
The best way to brush a coat, especially a long thick curly one is to brush in lines, this technique is known as ‘line brushing’, the aim of brushing is to be able to get your comb and brush from the base of the body to the tip of the coat all over the body.
The technique, usually we start at the bottom of the dog and work up, starting at the front and working back so you have a process and know which parts you have groomed. With one hand or a comb, lift up sections of the coat and there will be a line where the hair is parted, with the other hand use your slicker brush to brush the hair below the line, once brushed with your slicker go back over this area with a comb and ensure your comb glides through from the root of the coat. Once that section is brushed move up and follow the same process.
If you're anything like us and learn better with a visual this video clip shows line brushing simply. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osruYq7xpMA
If you come across a knot, hold the knot at the root and prise through with your comb or your fingers, you could use some detangle spray as mentioned above to help. Avoid cutting knots out as this can be dangerous and you could easily cut the skin. If you're worried, consult your groomer.
If your dog is matted you won't be able to see the skin, if this is the case contact your groomer or vet if you are concerned. Brushing these matts will be painful and so a shave down is the only option at this point.
Use your voice, if your dog is responding well to being groomed make sure you praise them, maybe use a keyword and every time your dog does something well use this term. This could be ‘yesss’ or ‘good’ and maybe follow up this command word with a treat, they will soon catch on!
Treats are a great way to get them interested in the grooming process, this could be little training treats you give after you have brushed a certain area well i.e. they stood while you brushed through their tail. Or a Lickimat with something tasty on i.e. peanut butter, liver paste etc, this can keep your furry friend busy while you focus on the difficult areas.
A natural chew that lasts a bit longer might be good too, as will keep them occupied for longer e.g. hoof, yak chew, rabbit's ear, olive branch or antler to name a few longer lasting chews. (shop our range here)
If they are not responding well to this, then remember repetition and consistency is key, the more you do it the better they will get. If your dog constantly sits down when you go to brush their bottom area, gently stand them up, calmly saying ‘stand’ maybe give a reward and continue brushing. They will get the hang of it eventually.
Remember you don't want a fight, you want to make this an enjoyable process, if your dog has had enough allow them a break, alternatively if you are getting stressed or upset this will impact on your dog, stop the session either pick it up later or the next day.
So to conclude, preparation and consistency is key! If you have any worries or concerns about your home grooming sessions or are worried your dog may be matted, please get in contact with your groomer for advice.
For more information on our grooming services check out our website www.myfurryfriends,co,uk or give us a call on 07702672991 where we would be happy to help!
Keep a look out for our next blog all about bathing your Furry Friends!