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Ask Nickie the Groomer: Long Haired Dogs in Southern California

Grooming tips from Nickie for your long-haired dog.

Taking care of your long haired dog:

Although the shorter haired breeds seem to be prevalent in southern California, we have noticed quite a few long haired breeds as well. One common issue with the longer haired dogs is their coat in the warmer climate. Many of the long haired dogs we’ve seen  recently are carrying way too much dead undercoat which causes a multitude of problems with the most noticeable being, overheating, hot spots and odors.

The dead coat holds moisture, which causes oil buildup, skin problems and attracts outside allergens. Live coat also ‘breathes’ and acts as an insulator helping to keep the dog cooler, even in warmer temperatures. We recently had a client that said they could not take their dog to the beach due to the fact that he overheats too easily.

After removing literally several grocery size bags of dead hair from the dog, he looked 20 lbs lighter and is now ready for beach patrol! The poor guy was carrying so much dead coat he couldn’t even go outside in the summer and the owner wasn’t even aware that there was a solution to the issue.

For the long haired dogs that are able to get out in the summer and go to the beach and swim, dead coat retains the moisture weighing the dog down making swimming more difficult and when the dog gets out, it can take forever to dry.

If your dog swims in the ocean, lakes or even a pool, it’s a good idea to bathe him/her immediately afterwards with a very mild, hypo-allergenic DOG SHAMPOO and then make sure your dog dries thoroughly. Towel him or her off really well, let them run around until almost dry and then you can use a brush and a hair dryer on the WARM setting while brushing to remove the dead coat.  After the bath just as the dog gets dry is the best time to get rid of dead coat.  

Another thing to remember: Time spent brushing your dog can be therapeutic for both of you…It’s hard to not be happy when you are with your dog.

Removing coat is not that difficult. Regular brushing and grooming gets the coat out in small amounts at a time and keeps the live coat healthy.

This can be done at home or at a professional groomer. A little work weekly goes a long way keeping your dog happy, healthy and cool. Don’t stop the grooming and brushing just because its winter and you think the dog needs his coat. He DOES need his coat but not dead coat…San Diego sun gets warm to a long haired dog  even in the coldest months.

Here are some simple tips:

  1. Be careful not to over-brush one spot or press/pull too hard. Use good quality brushes that are intended for your breed of dog. DO NOT use brushes, etc that will scrape your dog’s skin. There are several tools that state that they remove undercoat and  if used improperly can damage your dog’s skin and coat.
  2. Break the brushing up into several 15-20 minute sessions throughout the week. Give your dog some treats and love while being brushed so that it becomes a positive experience and not something that you both dread. Before you know it your dog will have a smile on their face when they see the brush instead of the look of panic in his eyes.


If you have any dog related questions I’d be happy to offer my 2 cents worth, so please ask away. I have forty years’ experience grooming, showing and loving dogs.

Nickie the Groomer can be contacted at Uptown Woofs, 1110 Torrey Pines Rd., Suite C, La Jolla, CA 92037, 858-459-1111, uptownwoofs.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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