The dog’s hair grows in cycles. Each follicle has a period of rapid growth (the anagen phase), followed by a slower growth and then a resting phase (the catagen phase).
During the resting phase, the mature hair remains in the follicles, and finally, it detaches at the base. When the dog takes off his coat (the telogen phase), a young hair pushes the old hair and the cycle begins again. The average dog takes about four months to grow a sack, but there are individual and breed variations. Your fit pet, for example, grows his sack in about 18 months.
Many people assume that temperature changes govern when a dog takes off his coat. In fact, the seasonal duration of daylight has the greatest influence. Longer periods of daylight in spring trigger an elimination process that lasts four to six weeks. In the fall, as the hours of the day shorten, many dogs can throw their coat back. The sensitivity to ambient light is more pronounced in dogs that live outdoors. The dogs that live mainly in the interior are exposed to artificial light and to a fairly fixed photoperiod. These dogs can shed and grow new coats throughout the year.
Some breeds, such as Poodles, Bedlington Terriers and Kerry Blue Terriers, have what is called an undone curly cape. These breeds do not shed loose hair at home. Instead, their loose hair tends to accumulate on mats that remain in the body. Dogs with laced jackets have similar coats, but their hair becomes ropes.
Some dogs have a double layer composed of thick and long external protective hairs and a soft, thin and shaggy inner layer. When a dog with a double coat begins to throw itself, the appearance of the coat can be quite alarming. The bottom layer is poured in a mosaic or patch, which gives the dog a moth-eaten appearance that may suggest a skin disease.
When shedding begins, remove as much of the irritating dead hair as possible by brushing daily. In races with double thick layers, a bath will loosen dead hair and make it easier to remove. Always brush a dog before bathing to avoid the formation of mats.
Fixing yourself at regular intervals will keep your dog’s coat and skin in good condition and avoid many problems. Even hairless breeds require some preparation for healthy skin. Establish a personal grooming schedule and keep it for the entire life of the dog. Initially, keep the sessions short and make the preparation a pleasant experience. If the puppy dislikes the basic grooming routine, a simple procedure will be more difficult.
It is important that the bristles of the brush and the teeth of the comb are of the correct length for the coat of the dog. For example, if the layer is thick and the bristles and teeth are too short, the top layer may look smooth for a while, but the bottom layer will be matt. Eventually, the top layer becomes involved and the dog may have to be shaved. On the other hand, if the dog has a thin inner layer, fix it with tools that have long bristles can scratch and damage the skin.
Removing the mats
The mats are clumps of skin that can form anywhere on the body, but are usually behind the ears, in the creases of the armpits, around the anus, in the back of the thighs, in the groin area and between the fingers. The mats are evidence of neglected care or grooming with the wrong tools. Our fit pets with softer hair are more likely to develop mats.
To remove the mats, first saturate the hair with a hair conditioner for several minutes. This rehydrates the hair and closes the barbs.
Some mats can be removed with the tip of a comb. However, most require the use of scissors, an electric hair clipper or a mat separator. Cutting mats with scissors should be done with extreme care, since a dog’s skin is not attached to the underlying muscle and the skin will rise when the mat is pulled. Do not slide the scissors under the carpet and try to remove them flush with the skin. It is almost certain that you will remove a piece of skin. When possible, slide a comb under the carpet as a barrier between the scissors and the skin. Then hold the scissors perpendicular to the comb and carefully cut into the hairball into narrow strips. A similar care should be taken with electric nail clippers. After the mat has been removed, comb the residual grunts.
This technique also works to eliminate burdock and entangled plant material. Non-stick kitchen sprays can help remove plant material without cutting any layers.
To remove the chewing gum, place an ice cube on it first, and then try sliding it out. If that does not work, you should cut it carefully.
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