EDUCATION for Clients on how to manage their dog's coat
What is a Double Coat?
A type of coat that consists of two layers, double coated dogs have a dense undercoat of short hairs (woolly in texture) under a top coat of longer hairs called guard hairs. When a dog appears to be fluffier, it means he has a denser undercoat. This means you’ll be up in for the long haul when it comes to grooming unless a regular "deshed" is performed. The dense undercoat is designed to protect a dog from both hot and cold temperatures, and the top coat helps to repel moisture and dirt. If the undercoat is unregulated without a deshed it is susceptible to matting and thickening. If this occurs often the dog loses some of its ability to regulate its temperature. This is also why Double coated breeds should NEVER be shaved as the protective layer is removed and the dog can become easily too hot or cols and even become sunburned.
Dogs crossed with a poodle and a double coated breed
A poodle has a coat with long strands of hair which curl and provide a protective layer. There is no undercoat and so this curled fur goes all the way to the skin. Any double coated breed which has been crossed with this is susceptible to have the curls in the top coat and the thick wooly undercoat that would not occur in the poodle. Herein lies the often unknown problem of why Groodles, Cavoodles, and other Oodles so often have terrible matting issues from about 12 months of age. The owners brush the coats but due to the coat's structure of thick, curly topcoat, never really impact the thick undercoat. This undercoat builds up and matting begins. Often the matting is extensive by the time the owner becomes aware of the bumps under the surface of the top coat. The two types of matting occurring are either 1) a thick wedge of course undercoat next to the skin which is unable to be naturally shed and which attracts sand, soil and other debris. This matted coat when wet never really dries out and so the cycle of collecting more debris continues and the matt thickens and covers a wider and wider area. 2) The undercoat spirals around the poodle type hair and as it winds around it the strand gets tangled, knotted and begins to clump together in a lump but is not necessarily next to the skin.
When a litter is born from parents where one has a double coat and the other has a poddle type coat then members of that litter may all vary in the degree to which they get their adult coat reflercts that of either parent. New puppy owners just never know how easy or difficult their dog's coat will be to manage later in life. Often the first hint of a problem comes from noticing a few lumps in the coat deep down after about a year. They become alarmed, try to brush it out and don't k now what to do when it appears untouched by their attention. They often turn to a groomer for advice.
Many groomers deal with this matting by shaving off this problematic matted coat. However, unless care is taken to not shave through the matts, the experience can not only be very painful for the dog as the clipper blades literally drag through the mats pulling the fur and causes pain. Furthermore, many dogs are at risk of being cut because to get under a mat which is tight to the skin over a wide area involves a groomer having to be certain folds of skin are not between the blades as they cut. Either way the direct shaving of a matted dog often causes long term anxiety for any dog who has been subjected to the "quick" way of dealing with the issue.
How Can We Help??
We will never hurt your dog. We take the slower approach to managing coat issues which involves checking the coat all over and cutting out large knots one at a time and massaging specialist conditioner into smaller knots or mats. This breaks down the mat and allows the dog to have the lumps which were pulling at the skin broken down into much smaller pieces. Using our high velocity blow dryer we can also see lumps of fur and snip them as the blower lifts them off the skin. Once this is achieved the coat can be trimmed or clipped to whatever length the owner wishes. The coat does not have to be all shaved off and the dog made bald. Instead the dog is handled to avoid pain and is often a sense of relief to have the painful mats cut out. The dog is shampooed and a conditioner applied, before blow drying and styling the coat. We take anxious, often frightened dogs and give them back their trust in groomers. We rejoice in this process and give such love and affection in return for the trust your dog places with us. We want your dog to love us so that you see that they want to come back. We are in this for the long term and hope you want to return time after time.
Only once mats and knots are removed are we happy to clip dogs. This may have to occur over more than one appointment.