Tips on Caring For Your Dog's Coat

Brushing a dog's hair each day, or every two or three days, based on the length and texture of his coat, is among the most important phases of grooming. It's the best way to help prevent snags from forming and to maintain the skin clean and healthy and free from irritation.
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Ideally, a specified pattern of hair care is best established when a dog is young, particularly if he will sooner or later have long hair. Learning the right brushing methods while the hair is still short is a fine way for an owner to gain confidence. And it's very easy and pleasant to train a young pup to accept brushing by making a game of the first few sessions. You could put the puppy in your lap or stand him on a solid surface and place your hand under his stomach (to give both support and confidence) as you quickly brush through the coat.

As your dog matures, gradually step-up the length of the sessions. By this time his puppy coat has been substituted by a stronger, tougher kind of hair which, based on breed, may be short, medium, or long. Nearly all coats are two-ply. The long-haired and the medium-haired kinds, particularly, have an outer coat varying in coarseness, and a soft undercoat that's thick and dense.

The short, smooth-haired dogs have a double coat as well. However, it is less detectable because the undercoat is neither downy nor flat-lying. Thus, it's almost impossible to tell the top coat from the undercoat. When the undercoat sheds in warm weather, the major change observed is the thinner covering of the whole.

The coat is considered the dog's complexion. A deep, full, glossy coat usually entails that all is well within; whereas a dry, lifeless coat with hair perpetually shedding implies that something is wrong. Generally, the coat sheds twice each year, spring and fall, although some shedding occurs all the time. Heavy shedding between seasons might be caused by a lack of strength, following an illness, for example, whereas dryness may ensue from too many baths using harsh shampoos, or an overheated apartment. A temporary faded look could merely mean that the old coat is on the wane, since the hair tends to lose its vigor and color just prior to its casting.

The Everything Dog Grooming Book: All you need to help your pet look and feel great! (Everything Series)

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