Not all dog breeds are double-coated. But if yours are, know that it calls for a little extra care and if not groomed properly, it can lead to your pooch having multiple tangles.
Tangling is especially risky for double-coated breeds as some patches of fur can become riddled with dirt or debris and can act as a thick layer on the pet’s skin. If the skin is unable to breathe properly, dandruff and a variety of other pathologies can arise.
How to Care for Dogs with Double Coats
No dog needs grooming more than a double-coated one. If you can’t afford to take your pet to the grooming salon regularly, the least you can do is to research on how you can trim, clean, and cut your dog’s coat on your own.
Shaving your dog’s coat is not recommended. However, during the summer, when the weather is scorching, giving your dog a short trim could be a good idea. Do note, however, that the double coat is there to protect your pet against both the hot and cold weather, so be mindful of this when giving your bestie a snip.
Use the right tools
Giving your dog a haircut in the comfort of your home calls for the right gear, and sometimes you might not be able to invest in a post that can keep your pet restrained while you are tending to your task.
This does not mean that you cannot manage a bit of minimal grooming. And that’s where items like silent clippers or a detangling comb, along with a self-cleaning de-shedder brush, can come in handy.
Even using a pet grooming glove once every two or three days can give your dog a nice massage and help you bond with them.
These days, there are even detangling powders and sprays available, which you can use whenever you groom your dog’s coat.
Shampoo and conditioner
Double-coated breeds need to have their fur cleaned once in a while. You can also give your dog a bath after their coat has been trimmed. Gentle shampoos such as those that contain aloe vera or oatmeal are highly recommended, and many of these products now have conditioning agents that can make your dog’s coat smoother and shinier.
If your dog seems to love playing in puddles or dry, dusty areas on the street, you will have to clean their coat at least to a superficial level every day. But because you do not want to disrupt their skin's pH level, you have the option of using dry or foam shampoo. These products are easy to use, especially in dogs that hate water.
Brush your dog’s coat regularly
Brushing offers your pet several benefits. For one, you are removing any of the dirt that might have accumulated in their coat.. As you know, dogs do not groom their bodies as cats do, which means that at one point, they will get dirty.
Brushing also ensures that the natural oils that your dog’s skin secretes are spread evenly across the entirety of the coat’s surface. This means that there won't be any dry or oily spots on your pet’s body.
Not only will your dog’s coat look great if you practice regular brushing, but they will also appreciate the massage you give them. You will also be stimulating local blood circulation and, therefore, ensure that your pet’s skin is receiving the nutrients it needs.
Trimming prevents matting
When there’s a lot of fur on your dog’s body, especially in heavy shedding periods, matting can happen very easily. And once it does, you will have a tough time getting rid of the tangles using a brush or a detangling comb.
Keeping your dog’s coat nicely trimmed is the best way to prevent this from happening. Typically, salons tend to charge less when they have to trim well-maintained coats compared to when they have to work with heavily matted ones.
Which breeds are double-coated?
The list of double-coated dog breeds is truly large, but some of the best-known examples are listed below. Do keep in mind that mixes of these breeds can have the same double coat, too.
- German Shepherd
- German Spitz
- Shiba Inu
- Akita Inu
- Australian Shepherd
- Golden and Labrador Retriever
- Border Collie
Heatstroke and double-coated breeds
Are double-coated dogs more likely to suffer from heatstroke? Yes and no. It depends on every individual circumstance. All dogs, including double-coated ones, can develop heatstroke in a record amount of time if they are left in the car with the windows up under the sun at 40 degrees C.
In theory, the double coat should protect your pet from becoming overheated in the summer. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t protect them. Walk your dog only in the morning and in the evening, when the weather is slightly cooler.
Avoid walks in the middle of the day when it’s extremely hot outside. Give your dog frequent baths (without necessarily using any shampoo) if you feel that they are getting too hot in your yard. Keep your dog’s toys in the refrigerator in a sealed bag, and give your pet an ice cube once in a while.
While caring for a double-coated breed definitely calls for more effort, time, and money, it is not an impossible task. You just have to establish a routine where you groom your dog at least once every three days by either thoroughly brushing their coat or trimming it lightly.
Giving your dog baths more often than once every three to four weeks is not recommended as this practice can remove some of the protective oils present on your pet’s skin.
Quantifying body surface temperature differences in canine coat types using infrared thermography, Claire J. Kwon et al, 2019: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31128646/
Incidence and risk factors for heat-related illness (heatstroke) in UK dogs under primary veterinary care in 2016, Emily J. Hall, 2020: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7303136/