Pantops Pet Salon
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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Double-Coated Dogs

Thursday, November 16th, 2006 by Mike Cronk

“Double-coated” means what it says—these dogs have two layers of coat.  Their outer coat is usually longer, firm and somewhat darker than the soft and dense undercoat.  To give you more of an image of the double-coat, here is a list of breeds that have it:  the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Pomeranian, Shetland Sheepdog, Collie, Corgi, Pekingese and of course the Malamute, Samoyed, and Husky.  Thinning out the undercoat (removing the dead hair) of these breeds is a large part of the grooming process because it reduces shedding for your comfort and ventilates the coat for your dog’s comfort. 

Thinning out the undercoat (removing the dead hair) of these breeds is a large part of the grooming process because it reduces shedding for your comfort and ventilates the coat for your dog’s comfort.  New groomers who are still developing their feel for a thick or thin coat may not remove enough of the undercoat but when corrected may do the opposite and remove too much!  This fur has a function and thus should never be removed completely.  The undercoat protects a dog’s skin by repelling water and it retains heat to keep them warm in winter (especially important for outdoor dogs).

We have included a picture of some of the tools we use in order to help you visualize the extensive process of coat thinning.  These tools are specifically designed for de-matting as well as thinning and do require some training and caution in their use to prevent causing injury to the skin.  Some of the tools have a serrated edge which can easily cut not only the dog, but the groomer as well so use must be carefully monitored.

There is only so much that these tools can do, however and some dogs come to us with coats so thick and matted that the tools won’t go through the coat (or will tug painfully) and our only recourse is to go under the matting with clippers—still very difficult through a thick coat.  Most matting becomes very tightly wound against the skin.  If the skin is loose, then it’s almost impossible to clip through without causing skin abrasions.  If the matted dog is not used to grooming and fights against us, we may have to quit.  The solution is to brush and check with a comb on a more frequent basis.  If this isn’t convenient, we are happy to do the between-groom brushing for you to prevent matts from getting out of control.

-Mike

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