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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Ponthieux

Grooming your dood

The basics, hair vs. fur: Doodles are part poodle and part other dog, in our case golden retriever. Poodles have hair and golden retrievers have fur. Hair is different than fur. The percentage of poodle to golden retriever genetics depends on two things; the generation and the genetics of the golden doodle, this will make coat types vary. A dog with hair will “shed” like a human, we lose hair when the shaft dies, and it exfoliates. We also loose hair when we wash and brush. A dog with fur will have major shedding events twice a year if left outside, or they will shed all year if indoors. Doodles are typically bred for there low shedding low allergy qualities; however, they will require special attention when it comes to grooming.

Professional grooming: Hair can grow to the floor if not cut, fur will not. Since doodle hair is like ours it also requires regular washing, brushing, and trimming. Just imagine, you do not brush or wash your hair for six months, then you go to the hair salon. You would have a head full of mats, which are essentially dread locks. Your stylist would say, “sorry we have to shave this”. Dread locks typically cannot be combed out and it can be very painful for the dog. If grooming is painful it can be traumatic and your dog will learn to hate the grooming experience. An electric toothbrush has been used on your puppies’ paws to help desensitize them to vibrations. Early visits to the groomer are recommended so your dog can have early positive experiences.

Puppies have a puppy coat and typically their coats will change. As adult dog coats come in, they can become fluffier, courser, curlier and even more poodle like. Regular professional grooming is recommended every 6-8 weeks once puppy vaccines are done. Some owners will send a dog more frequently if they do not want, or do not have the time to do regular brushings at home.

How to groom at home: It is encouraged that grooming be done at home as well. Every doodle owner should have a slicker brush, metal comb and a flea comb. The slicker brush should be used from the bottom of the dog to the top, starting at the feet working up the legs, onto the belly and then the torso. A slicker will only brush the surface hair, the metal comb will be needed to get all the way down to the skin. Brushing should remove tangles from the end of the hair shaft to the skin, similar to brushing long human hair. Plastic and human brushes do not work. The flea comb is great for under the eye areas that tend to get matted and stained with tears. Avoid wiping these areas as this will cause worse matting under the eyes and push bacteria closer to the skin. The comb should lift the hair and fluff it off the body. Always make sure to be gentle and take your time, like us, dogs can be tender skinned.

Bath time! Baths in between grooming is recommended. Make sure to brush BEFORE you bathe, as tangles can tighten while drying. Use a high-quality DOG shampoo and rinse thoroughly and dry. I do recommend your groomer pull ear hair to reduce the amount of moisture in the ear. This can be controversial but if correctly done the benefits far outweigh the negatives. I would also recommend consulting with your groomer about butt and belly hygiene in between grooms to avoid dingle berries and unhygienic back ends. Doodles can get cold quicker than a dog with fur because they do not have a double coat. It is ideal they do not sleep outside in the cold and that they do not stay wet for extended periods of time.

Beware of weeds: Beware of noxious (harmful) weeds, as a rule of thumb a noxious weed is a weed that will stick to your socks. They are a vet bill waiting to happen. Foxtail, also called sheet grass are common weeds that are barbed and will burrow into skin or any orifice. I have literally known dogs that passed away due to a foxtail penetrating their skin which led to infection. Doodle hair can be like velcro, and dogs with fur are more resistant to noxious weeds. I recommend carrying a slicker brush with you during walks and outings to immediately brush stickers and weeds out. Summer cuts are important as they keep the incidence of injury from weeds to a minimum. Longer winter coats are best during cold months when weeds are minimal and when dogs need the additional warmth. Winter coats do require more maintenance.

Congratulations of your new puppy, and happy grooming is in your future!

Summary of grooming needs:

• Doodles have hair and require grooming.

• Early visits to the groomer are recommended to minimize negative experiences.

• Regular grooming should be done approximately every six to eight weeks depending on the amount of grooming done at home and owner preferences.

• Brush hair prior to bathing

• Brush hair regularly with slicker brush, keep one with you while hiking and camping.

• Metal comb is also needed to comb hair all the way to the skin.

• Flea comb is best for removing eye boogers and crusty hair under the eye, do not wipe these areas.

• Avoid human and plastic brushes, they do not work.

• Ask your groomer for advice on trimming nails, and for keeping butt and belly areas clean.

• Summer cuts are important for reducing injury caused by weeds.

• Winter cuts keep dogs warm but require more grooming.

• Doodles’ do not have double coats and can not maintain warmth like most dogs.

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