Got Hair? We All Do . . .

If you’ve got dogs, you’ve got hair (well, unless you have a Mexican hairless, which we’re pretty sure you don’t.) So we asked Anne Marie, a SHUG foster failure with a Borzoi and long-time groomer, to give us some tips on keeping the fur kids clean and sparkly.

From Anne Marie:

There isn't really too much to do to groom a Sighthound unless it's an Afghan, in which case you have a lot of daily brushing to do or you cut it short, Ugh! So, I’m talking general day-to-day pet grooming, not show grooming.

Most short-coated Sighthounds are fine with a nice brushing once or twice a week. Those with more exotic coats -- thick, long, curly, wiry, or any combination thereof need a little extra care, i.e. more frequent brushing.

As far as brushing goes, I like to use a natural boar bristle brush on the short hair kids. The bristles are stiff enough to grab those little fuzzies, but at the same time must feel heavenly. Just ask Brad. When Brad-the-Galgo came to us as a foster we could not get our hands on him for the first three days. Then we had a “brushfest” in the dog yard with Brad watching from a distance, with curiosity. I lured him in, put him on the table and started brushing immediately, no noose to hold him, and that was the beginning of Brad trusting me.

We kept the "brush" upstairs in the living room so Brad could be brushed whenever he wanted -- which was a lot. And when the grooming table came out Brad was the first one up. (So it’s safe to say grooming may be a really good way to bond with Galgos, who sometimes come to us a bit scared of everything.)

I brush my Borzoi, Luka with a pin brush or a slicker brush when he is shedding. I was always told by Borzoi folks to brush my borzoi wet and I do. I happened upon a product years ago -- Hanson's sea kelp detangling spray. After I’ve removed any tangles, I spritz Luka with water and a little of the detangling spray and finish brushing him. It leaves his coat feeling good and smelling fresh, not at all perfume-y.

People ask me all the time how often they should bathe their dog. My answer is always "When they are dirty." Some dogs are slobs and need a bath every day. Or they have some skin issue that requires frequent baths. Generally, though, brushing keeps your dog's coat and skin clean enough that you should think of bathing in terms of weeks between baths.

When you do bathe your dog please don't use human shampoo unless your vet recommends it. Our shampoos are not pH balanced correctly for dogs, not even baby shampoo, so use a good quality pet shampoo. Occasionally I’ve used Joy or Dawn dish washing detergent to degrease an exceptionally oily coat or to get some foreign material off.  I do dilute it first. It also kills fleas fairly well if you need to do that and don't have any flea and tick shampoo on hand.

anniebrushWhen bathing your dog take care not to get water in their ears or soap in the eyes. If you do get water in an ear canal dry it out with a towel or a cotton ball wrapped around your finger.

As far as soap in the eyes – there are two schools of thought. With one, use an eye ointment before bathing, which is supposed to prevent the soap from getting in your dog's eyes. With the second, don't use ointment because if soap gets in the eyes the ointment makes it harder to get the soap out. Doesn’t help much, I know. I don’t use the ointment, personally. In any case if you do get soap in your dog's eye flush it GENTLY until the soap is gone.

That’s all for now. I hope this helps.

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