Your Afghan hound's coat is her signature feature. Her long, silky hair begs to be kept in tiptop condition. Like any long hair, it needs combing, brushing and cleaning to prevent tangles from marring her elegant appearance. With the right tools, grooming is not difficult.
Bathe your Afghan before a major grooming session. The American Kennel Club suggests weekly if the dog is a pet and twice weekly if she is a show dog. The easiest method is to stand her in the bath and thoroughly wet her coat with a hand-held shower head. Monitor the water temperature to ensure she's comfortable.
Apply a little shampoo, working it into the wet coat with a downward motion. Bathe the top of her head and her ears last, making sure no shampoo gets in her eyes. Rinse the coat completely. Apply conditioner, using the same downward motion. Rinse again.
Squeeze as much water as you can from the coat before letting your Afghan leave the bath. Between baths, spray the coat with a mixture of warm water and conditioner to make daily grooming easier.
Stand your Afghan hound on towels, and place a large towel over her back. Don't rub her coat, as that forms tangles. Instead, gently squeeze the coat all over with the towel. Matting is easier to remove when the coat is wet. Check for tangles, and gently free them with your fingers before using a comb or brush on them. Spraying tangles with a de-matting lotion helps. Now you're ready to start brushing and drying.
Brush your Afghan hound, using a downward motion from the roots to the tips. Avoid brushing your dog's skin. You can brush her through first, then use the hand dryer to dry the coat. Spray the dried coat lightly with conditioner diluted in warm water before giving her a final brush-through and making a final check for tangles. If the weather is warm, take your dog outside, as her coat will dry naturally while you brush her. Never leave your Afghan's coat wet after grooming. If she isn't dry when you've finished brushing her, get the hairdryer out.
Brush and comb your Afghan hound daily between baths to prevent tangles. Use the water and conditioner spray to lightly dampen her coat first. This is particularly recommended if she has been out running around the park, beach or woods.
- An Afghan puppy doesn't need regular grooming until the long coat starts to grow in at between 8 and 12 months of age. Get her started with a regular grooming routine as soon as possible, so she becomes used to it.
- Females in season shed more hairs. Maintain daily combing and brushing during this time to get rid of excess hairs and prevent mats from forming.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.