Dog Grooming – Dog Coat Care Tips

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Good day and welcome everyone!

This is Sharda with a wonderful newsletter about dog grooming. Today we  will have a look at some dog coat care tips.

Here we go!

Dogs have coats. That much goes without saying but just how much do you know about your dog’s coat?

Most owners know very little and this is why the grooming process is often actually not carried out as effectively and efficiently as it could be.

Wrong dog grooming tools or dog grooming supplies can also lead to less satisfying result for grooming.

Bathing and skin care are common elements of the grooming process for all dogs but elements like drying and brushing largely depend on the type of coat that your dog has, which is why it is important.

There are also elements that all dogs have in common in terms of their coats, such as removing stains, eliminating the smell and making it look healthy. As such, it is important to look at all of the factors necessary for you to have a good enough knowledge for you to take care of your dog’s coat effectively.

All of the information you need is right here so read on to find out everything you need to know.

This section is effectively a basic introduction to dog coats, including what they are made of, what to look out for in specific breeds and the difference between single and double coats.

Firstly, a dog’s coat is essentially made of the same elements that our hair is made of, or the same as every other mammal for that matter! It is made of proteins, largely keratin and dead skin cells. It grows from follicles that are located just underneath the surface of the skin, much like our hair.

However, unlike our hair, each one of a dog’s follicles actually has several different hairs growing out of it. This is because the coat serves to regulate body temperature. Dogs’ follicles also have oil glands attached to them, which have developed to produce enough oil to suit the breed’s purpose as well as keeping the coat healthy.

For example, dogs that are primarily bred to swim actually have more oil glands so as to waterproof their coats.

There are actually two general kinds of coat that are found in dogs – the single coat and the double coat.

The single coat is commonly found in short haired breeds like Greyhounds, Whippets, Weimaraners and other similar breeds. The single coated dog has two types of hair growing, the guard hair and the whiskers.

Double coated dogs have three types of hair – whiskers, guard hair and undercoat. Numerous breeds have double coats, such as the Collie, German Shepherd and most terriers.

Before we go into the differences between the two, it is necessary to define exactly what the guard hair and undercoat are and how they differ. The undercoat is the layer of the coat that lies closest to the skin if it is present. It is fluffy, downy and grows in short clusters so as to provide a little insulation against the elements.

Conversely, the guard hair is thicker and much longer. It is the level of the coat that is visible to the naked eye and is designed to prevent superficial injuries to the skin primarily, thus only offering insulation as a secondary function.

Now that we have the two straight, it is necessary to highlight the main differences between double and single coats:

A double coat has two layers (undercoat and guard hair), whereas the single coated dog only has one (the guard hair). The former can therefore look harsher and wirier whereas the latter generally has an even sheen to it.

Single coated dogs tend to shed less and smell less because the hair turnover, so to speak, is drastically reduced. Double coated dogs have two lots of fur to shed, which is why they largely tend to smell more as well. The shedding section of this chapter shines a little more light on this topic.

Double coats are designed to protect the dogs that have them from the elements, meaning that they are more equipped to deal with the cold. On the other hand, single coated dogs are more susceptible to the cold and thus are more likely to feel any fluctuations in temperature as a result of the lack of insulation.

As a general rule, people that are allergic to dogs have a much stronger reaction to double coated dogs than to single coated dogs. It is generally the insulating undercoat that causes allergies as opposed to the guard hair.

Single coated dogs require less dog grooming and less cosmetic attention than single coated dogs because double coats tend to get matted easier and retain dirt far more readily than guard hair. As such, more baths, brushing and drying is required for them.

Double coated dogs also tend to stay cooler in the summer because the insulating layer also protects against heat. Single coated dogs are just as prone to heatstroke in summer as they are to hypothermia in winter so it is important to maintain a steady house temperature for them and groom accordingly.

Single coats rarely experience any mats and tangles in their coats and so are generally easier to groom.

The general rule on remembering the difference between the two is that the single coat is decorative and the double coat is functional. The former is easily broken and damaged if care is not taken whereas the latter is very different.

Of course, all dogs have the third type of hair – the whiskers. Whiskers are deeply rooted and are to be found on the muzzle as well as the eyelid. They have a unique function when compared to the undercoat and guard hair.

Instead of being decorative, insulation or protective, the whiskers are effectively there for sensory reasons. They are thick enough to register any slight movement near them or touch. As such, they alert the dog to the proximity of threats and send the instruction to react accordingly.

I hope you learned a lot from today’s dog grooming newsletter.

I will be back for more!
Sharda Baker