Care of the Coat By the time the puppy coat has been replaced by a stronger, tougher kind of hair which, according to breed, may be long, short or medium...
Most coats are two-ply.
The longhaired and the medium-haired kinds, especially, have an outer coat varying in coarseness, and an under coat, thick and dense.
The short, smooth-haired dogs have a double coat also.
However, it is less noticeable because the under coat is neither downy nor flat-lying.
Thus, it is almost impossible to tell the top coat from the under coat.
When the under coat sheds out in warm weather, the chief change observed is the thinner covering of the whole.
The coat is the dog's complexion.
A rich, full, glossy coat usually means that all is well within; whereas a dry, lifeless coat with hair constantly shedding means that something is wrong.
Normally, the coat sheds out twice each year, spring and fall, although some shedding goes on all the time.
Heavy shedding between seasons may be caused by a lack of strength, as, following illness, while dryness may result from too much washing or an overheated apartment.
A temporary faded look may merely mean that the old coat is on the wane, since the hair loses its vigor and color just before it is cast.
Brushing Regular brushing helps to keep the hair in good condition by stimulating the skin and by preventing tangles and mats.
Also, it keeps the dog comfortable by removing loosened, dead hair before it can tickle the dog into scratching (or drops on your rugs or upholstery!).
When you see your dog rolling vigorously in the grass, or pulling himself back and forth under the sofa edge, you may be fairly sure he is shedding his coat, and is trying to get rid of it himself.
Mats and Tangles Get a long or a short-bristled brush, or even a smooth niitt, whichever is suitable for your dog s type of coat.
There are many kinds to choose from at your pet supply store.
Select a comb, too, a blunt-toothed one that will not scratch the skin.
When combing out the tangles, just ease them out gently, holding the tuft close to the skin with the thumb and forefingers.
Don t hurt the dog by pulling.
Mats of tar or chewing gum can be removed by rubbing with a piece of ice.
Acetone, applied with a piece of cotton, will also remove such nuisances.
With the fingers, work mineral oil into tangles of burr and beggar lice which can be taken off without harming the coat.
However, use the comb only when necessary.
Your best tool is the brush.
Brush the hair every day.
Brush as if you meant it, going over every single part of the head and body, legs and tail.
Brush always in the way you wish the hair to lie.
In other words, if yours is a short, smooth-haired dog, brush in the direction of hair growth to keep it trained down tight to the skin.
If your pet's is a stand-off type of coat, then brush against the grain to bring the hair up and away from the body.
Take it slowly, do not neglect one inch.
Brush out the ear fringes, the mane on the neck, the frill or apron on the chest, the skirts on the hindparts.
Either sit on the floor beside him, or place him on a table so you both will be comfortable So long as the dog enjoys it, keep at it as long as you wish, but if he grows tired or restless, stop for a while.
Removing the coat as it is shed by faithful brushing every day will go a long way toward keeping the upholstery free of hairs.
However, a few hairs on the furniture are not the worst of evils gentle rubbing with dampened sandpaper or with Scotch tape will pick them up, while a dry sponge will serve to scrape them off the clothing.
Excessive Shedding It may seem as though some dogs are continually shedding.
Those quartered out of doors shed more definitely in the spring and fall; whereas those kept in the house may cast their coats more or less constantly.
It may be that the natural light cycle has something to do with it.
At any rate, to stop continual shedding, try mixing into the food a spoonful or two of fresh fat such as bacon drippings, melted lard, or finely chopped suet.
Make sure the fat is fresh, never rancid.
You might also try sponging the coat with a mixture of three or four tablespoonful of bay rum or vinegar in a Small basin of water, then dry thoroughly.
Brush the dog daily as.
usual and massage the skin with the fingers.
Do not bathe unless absolutely necessary since baths tend to dry the skin, causing itchiness.
Worms, too, may cause brittleness and shedding of the hair.
So have the dog checked for worms.