If your life has been blessed with the presence of big overgrown dog that has enough fur to cloth a small village, then you probably already know the frustration of shedding fur that appears in large clumps all over the house. This big tuft of fur is actually the result of an undercoat of hair that must be removed for your dog’s comfort and the health of his skin. The problem is: how do you get rid of it?
Begin by understanding that all dogs have an undercoat, but not all dogs have a massive undercoat that comes out in clumps and the size of small kittens. This wooly mass is really a fine downy layer of fur that is designed to protect the dog’s skin and to provide insulation. If you have a cold weather dog, you know what I’m talking about. Friends and neighbors with shorthaired varieties with thin undercoats are well meaning when they offer advice, but really, they have no idea what you are contending with.
Brushing with an ordinary dog brush will not remove the undercoat. It may make his outer coat look soft and shiny, but it won’t get to the heart of the problem. To remove the undercoat, you will need to be a bit more aggressive.
Purchase a good solid undercoat rake. Expect to pay upwards of $15 for this grooming tool. Resist the temptation to purchase a cheap imitation, the higher the quality of this brush the better the results will be. One with a double row of teeth works best. These are designed to reach into the thick undercoat and gently pull it loose while leaving the outer coat untouched.
Look for a rake that has a comfortable handle and a good grip. These rakes have angled handle grips to allow you to easily rake the old fur from your pet without harming his delicate skin. In fact, your dog will probably enjoy the process.
Use the rake like you would an ordinary brush. Be sure to apply even pressure to reach the undercoat. The teeth should grab the wooly undercoat without scratching the skin. Rake with a smooth even stroke. For tough to remove areas, simply repeat the process as many times as needed. Avoid trying to apply more pressure or attempting to remove all the hair at once. Although the first brushing will remove a great deal of hair, expect to repeat the process over several days to remove all the dead undercoat hairs.
Once you have cleared your pet’s fur and you no longer discover balls of fluff adrift on the living room carpet each morning, you no longer need to use the rake on a daily basis. Depending on your dog’s coat and shedding schedule, a quick brush once a week with the rake should keep the undercoat under control.
Groom your dog daily with a soft brush designed for keeping the outer coat shiny and healthy. Most breeds will shed the undercoat at regular intervals once or twice a year. Be sure you have the undercoat rake ready to attack the shedding undercoat before your life is overtaken by huge balls of fur that appear in the night.