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Caring for your Dog's Coat

Article written by Nancy Settecasi - 3/12/06

Thereís nothing like a shiny, healthy-looking dog coat. Taking care of your dog's coat can reduce future skin and fur problems.

The coat grows in 3 phases at different times which, in turn, causes a dog never to go bald. Your dogís coat needs to be brushed once or twice a week.

For a healthy dog coat, add one teaspoon of soybean, corn or cottonseed oil to your dogís food every day. This can also reduce shedding.

Long-haired dogs or dogs with a thick fur may need more brushing than dogs with short hair because their hair tends to mat. Matting can cause your dog to have skin irritations or possibly retain odor in the coat. Matting can easily be stripped away with a stripping knife. If your dog has a thick, heavy dog coat, the stripping knife may not do the trick, in which case you can use a pair of scissors to snip the mat off. Make sure you use scissors with a blunt tip to avoid puncturing the skin. You can also try to work the matting out between your fingers with some human hair conditioner.

For a dog coat that's short, it is best to use a uni-groom, which is a hand-held device made of rubber with very short bristles and lies flat on the palm of your hand. You can find this device at PETSMART. You slip your finger through a loop and pass your hand over the fur as if you were petting him. This should be done outdoors because there is an incredible amount of hair that comes off the dog coat and you donít want it all over your house.

Shedding is a problem most people donít care to deal with. Unfortunately, many of us dog owners have no choice. Shedding comes with the changing of the seasons. Some dogs shed a lot, some shed a little and some donít shed at all. I wish I had done my homework before buying two cocker spaniels (whom I love to death). Having tumbleweeds of dog hair circling your kitchen is not a pretty sight. My solution to this problem is keeping a short skirt on them and having them groomed every 6-8 weeks.

Brushing your dogís coat outdoors also helps the hairy situation in the house. Never brush your dogís coat when itís wet, it causes matting and loss of hair. You can try putting a no-shed solution in your dogís food. Although this works most of the time, be prepared for very soft bowel movements.

Shedding can also be hell for people with allergies. Try not to have your dog lying on top of you while watching T.V. while he is going through a shedding phase. This could be torturous for you. Take your meds or shots and avoid too much physical contact with your dog until the shedding diminishes. Donít be too hard on your dog, itís not something he can control.

Taking care of your dog's coat is important for both you and your dog. It will keep him sporting a shiny, healthy dog coat and will reduce the chances of acquiring any fur or skin related disorders.

About the Author: Nancy Settecasi, Owner of Happy K-9 Dog Care
Proud owner of Cookie and Skippy, Cocker Spaniels, Dog Lover

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