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What should you know about trimming your dog?

Every type of pet coat requires proper care and treatment to keep it in top condition and make it perform its protective function.

Trimming is one of such treatments. Trimming is mainly needed in wire-haired dogs, such as terriers, schnauzers, and pointers. Scrubs and dogs with a rough coat can also be trimmed. The treatment consists in removing dead hair to make room for the new coat, maintain the roughness of the coat, change the overall look of the dog and restore deep, breed-specific colour. Typical wire-haired dogs are burrowing and hunting dogs. Their coat is adapted to protect their skin from cuts during hunting. In wild conditions, the coat of a working dog was exposed to twigs, thorns or sharp grasses, and was painlessly removed afterwards.

Nowadays, wire-haired dogs more and more often serve as couch dogs and human companions. Trimming is used to help them get rid of dead hair.

Let us take a look at the structure and build of the coat of a wire-haired dog. The coat consists of a soft undercoat to keep your dog warm in winter and a coarse outer coat. It protects against weather conditions (rain, sunlight) and injury.

Like in other mammals, the coat grows out of hair follicles. Wire-haired dogs have several hairs of undercoat and only one coarse guard hair per follicle. As the hair ages, it has to be pulled out to make room for the next hair. The old hair becomes soft and faded, and loses its properties over time.

How to trim a dog properly?

You can use your own fingers, rubber finger tips, or special trimming knives. You can also make use of a grooming chalk and grooming stones, especially useful around sensitive areas, such as ears. Take a small amount of hair between your thumb and index finger and gently pull starting from the neck and moving towards the sides and tail. Also gently tighten the skin with the other hand to prevent pulling. Remember to trim with, and not against, the grain. Pay special attention to the area of the dog’s rump and neck where the hair can grow in different directions. Keep your wrist still. If you use a trimmer, be precise and use it as a support for the pulled-out hairs to prevent them from breaking or cutting.

After trimming, the hair follicles remain open and your dog’s skin may be exposed to irritation or infection. Therefore, it is advisable to wait a day or two before you bath your dog after trimming. For bathing, it is best to use Champ-Richer Rough Coat Shampoo, which will strengthen the hair structure without softening it.

Proper trimming is not painful for a dog but can be time-consuming. It is a good idea to get your puppy used to the treatment so that it knows that trimming means pleasure and having a nice time. You can also consider dividing trimming into shorter stages if you see that the dog is tired or anxious.

How about cutting? When you cut the hair, its part remains in the follicle and there is no room for the next one. Over time, the coat loses its structure and becomes softer (due to the predominant undercoat) and faded in colour.

How often should you trim you dog?

It depends on the breed, density of the coat, age, condition of your dog and whether you have a show dog or a couch dog. In general, when the coat does not adhere tightly to the skin and sticks out, and the dog looks worse than before, it is the right time for another trim. Do not to wait too long for the hair to grow back as this increases the length of the treatment.

Trimming is a time-consuming activity that requires skills as well as knowledge of the technique, the type of the coat and the desired effect. That is why, right at the start, before you get to know the ins and outs of trimming, it is a good idea to place your dog in the hands of a qualified groomer.