Dogs with double coats shed year-round, but once or twice a year they blow their coats -- that is, they shed away a season's worth of undercoat in a short period. Typically, coat-blowing periods take place during the seasonal changes of fall and spring. With the right tools to work through your dog’s coarse outer layer of hair and fluffy undercoat, you can maintain the double coat whether she's blowing coat or not.
A pin brush has an oval body, a long grip and coated metal “straight pin” bristles that are spaced out uniformly across the head of the brush. A pin brush is good for raking through a dense double coat. Always brush your dog gently. Be careful that the pins don’t lose their coating -- this could injure your dog’s sensitive skin. Buy a new brush if the pins show wear and tear.
Slicker brushes have long handles and wide, rectangular bases that hold many thin pins set at an angle to help collect loose strands of hair from both coats. Using a slicker will help distribute your dog’s body oils through her hair, help untangle and smooth the hair, and give the hair additional shine. Use a light touch with a slicker brush in order to avoid injuring your dog’s skin.
If your dog is sensitive to pin bristles, a rubber brush is a soft alternative. Rubber brushes are available as hand grips, gloves, curry brushes or paddle brushes with handles. Rubber brushes ostensibly massage a pet while collecting loose hair from her top coat and undercoat. They are waterproof, they work well on wet and dry hair, and you can use them when your dog is having her bath. Rubber brushes are available in arrays of sizes, styles and bristle firmnesses.
Brushing and Bonding
Grooming your best friend regularly is a good bonding experience for both of you. Find a quiet, calm time to be alone with your dog and take a few minutes to pet her and get her used to the brush strokes. This may require trying more than one type of brush to work through her double coat. After a number of brief grooming sessions, she will adjust to longer sessions and to being brushed from head to tail.
Jennifer Carey holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from an East Coast university. She has written about topics including health, fitness, parenting and pet care since 2005.