How to Keep Your Longhaired Breed Tangle-Free

You know the drill.

You take your dog to the groomer, or spend hours brushing him out yourself, and just when you are beginning to enjoy his long, silky hair blowing majestically in the metaphorical wind, it gets tangled again. What’s a pet owner to do?

There’s no getting around the fact that longhaired dogs require more maintenance than their short-haired counterparts. If you enjoy the look and feel of your dog’s long hair and don’t want to go for a clip, however, there are some practical steps you can take to maintain your pet’s glossy locks, and keep him tangle-free for longer.

Get in the Habit of Brushing Daily

It makes sense that brushing your dog keeps the snarls away. To really keep on top of the mats, a longhaired pooch should be brushed daily. Not only will this prevent tangling, it will also help keep your pet’s coat in good condition by spreading his natural oils. An added benefit? Brushing your longhaired dog daily removes loose hair—keeping it from coming out all over your floors and furniture. Try brushing your dog’s coat at night while watching your favorite show. If you make it part of your routine, it will become a habit that you are less likely to forget.

Use a Good Leave-in Conditioner

According to professional dog groomer Kasey Parks, using a quality leave-in conditioner works wonders towards keeping your dog’s coat silky and tangle-free. Leave-in conditioner’s work much the way they do for humans—they moisturize your dog’s coat and protect it, leaving it slick and shiny. A shiny, well-moisturized coat is much less likely to snarl and will be easier to brush through when it does.

Longhaired Breed

istockphoto/kbwills

Pay Attention to Diet

The condition of your dog’s coat directly reflects his health. According to the Nest, “a shiny, soft coat indicates your dog is healthy.” The same logic that applied to leave-in conditioners applies here—a coat that is silky rather than coarse is less likely to tangle. To keep your dog’s coat in tip-top shape, make sure he is getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. You can do this by supplementing with oils, or by remembering to check the nutrition label on your dog food bag. “For every 30 pounds of body weight, give Fido 1,000 mg fish oil containing 300 mg of EPA/DHA combined,” according to the Nest.

A Good Brush

Using the right brush will help to make your detangling sessions more effective. Knowing your dog and what kind of coat he has will determine what kind of brush he needs. In general, slicker brushes are great for double coated breeds and metal pin-cushion brushes are best for detangling. If you aren’t sure what kind of brush to use on your dog, ask his breeder or groomer.

Bathe Him Regularly (but not too much)

Repeat after me: friction is your longhaired dog’s worst enemy. As we’ve already discussed, a coarse coat is more likely to tangle and snarl. Dirt on your dog’s coat can make it rougher, and therefore, more tangled. The catch is that bathing your dog too frequently can also tangle his coat. This is because excess bathing removes the natural oils from his coat, making it drier and less snag proof. A good rule of thumb is to bathe your pet once per month. If you need to bathe him more frequently, use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner or try a soap-free bath.

If you are at a loss, ask your groomer for tips. A good groomer should be happy to help you maintain your pet’s coat between visits. If you don’t normally take your dog to a groomer, scheduling a one-time session gives you the chance to pick his or her brain. With a little effort, your dog’s long, silky coat can be blowing in the wind once again.

Meet the Author: Holly Zynda

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