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Updated: May 21

Hello friends of Southern Divine! Christina here with your first; SDK Barking Post (pawprint). In honor of our October grooming special: Month of the De-shed I would like to chat with you about not only de-shedding your short-coated pup, but also the severity of matting in your long-coated breeds.

We will break this down into several sections to make this easier:

1. Coat maintenance of all breeds (including the naked pups) begins on the inside. Feeding a balanced food that has a good quality source of proteins (lamb, fish, egg), healthy oils (fish and sunflower for example) and seeds/meal (flax, rice, oatmeal for starters) assist the body in repairing some damaged skin and the coat. Of course, not all dogs are created the same and some have food allergies to some or all of these ingredients. Please consult your vet prior to changing any/or all food.

Now that we have touched on the importance of a healthy diet, lets discuss Short coated de-sheds:

2. Anyone who has ever had the shortest of coats on the smallest of breeds can tell you, you never stop seeing tumbleweeds of hair stroll across your living room floor or hiding in the corner under your sofa. Although this will never stop, regular baths and brushing can help if done properly. I suggest bathing no more than monthly and if your dog has drier skin/coat then I'd suggest 6-8 weeks.

Long-Coated De-sheds:

3. Double coated breeds such as golden retrievers, huskies, labs and the Pomeranian should only be bathed every 6-10 weeks to prevent stripping the coat. Double coated breeds have the shiny outer layer that protects the downy fuzzy layer from getting wet. This fuzzy layer is what sheds twice a year. They "blow coat" each spring and then again in the fall. The de-shed service that we offer is a 12-step process with an optional return visit a week later for a brush/ blow out. Sometimes clients may see that their pup is shedding even more after the de-shed service. If you notice this, please do not hesitate to call us for a brush/ blow out. This service must be done within a week from the initial de-shed service.

Breeds such as the hairless Chinese crested or Xoloitzcuintle require weekly to biweekly baths with special care to their skin.

Long coated Breeds:

4. What is the difference between a tangle and a matt? A tangle is coat that can easily be combed out without pressure normally on the ends on the coat. When a tangle if left alone,it will begin to knot (found on the ends on the coat typically). This knot requires a little bit of pressure to comb out. If this knot becomes wet from any source (a dog licking, dogs playing, the dew on the ground or staying outside while the mist is falling) will result in a tighter, larger knot which we call, A Matt. At this point in time on Journey of The Matt, the matt is still at the end on the coat. This matt will require being held between 2 fingers and brushed out with a metal slicker brush and followed up by a comb. The average time of removal is between 5-10 minutes. If left unattended to and left to get wet by nature or playtime the matt will get tighter and incorporate surrounding hair. Over time the matting will spread to a large section of the body until it covers the entire dog. This is when we consider the dog "pelted" When we shave a pelted dog down it is removed in one solid blanket. This type of matting can take as little as 20minutes to shave to as much as multiple hours to remove.

Fuzzy and long coated breeds are what we as groomers see the most in our salons. Some of the most common that we see here at SDK are doodles, poodles, shih tzu and the great pyrenes. These breeds are also the most common ones we see matted. Matting is something that we as groomers take very seriously and have the most passion for. In the most extreme of cases, we are overcome with tears because we see it far to often in our field of work. This is also, why we do it. Most of us take an unspoken oath to provide care for any and all dogs and we choose safety over vanity. If you have visited our salon in the past two months, you may have seen a new face in the checkout area. The new doodle on the block is Teddy. Teddy was an emergency rescue that was brought to us for a medical shave down. This boy is still to this day the worst case of matting I have ever seen. One of our groomers and one of our shop owners took close to two hours to safely shave him down. Teddy was adopted by our wonderful shop owners Bobby and Heather before the day was done.

Medical expectations attributed to matting:

Even a small matt behind the ear can leave what we call "bruising" on the skin. This is a red spot that in minor cases will clear up within an evening. Matting pinches the skin and causes blood loss to the area that is being pinched. In serious or severe cases, the bruising is no longer red but in fact different shades of purple and even black. Matting can cause nerve damage and even amputation. In Teddy's case the matting left zebra stripe bruising all over his body with scaring on the tips of his ears and tail.

How to prevent matting:

We are here to help. If you have questions or need guidance on how to prevent matting, please ask us. We would all love to work with you on proper brushing technique that you can then preform at home. We offer prepaid grooming plans that will ensure the proper management for your pup's coat. Grooming should be seen as a normal part of your dog's life and not something to be feared. With a good diet combined with proper brushing technique your pup's coat will remain healthy, shiny and matt free.

SDK Groomer, Christina

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