Vada's Club K9  Your pet's favourite place for Professional Pet Styling 204-221-0998

Coat Care Services

Understanding Different Coat Types

You can tell a lot about a pet by examining its coat. We will leave health issues up to your vet, but will discuss proper coat care and the tools you’ll need to keep your pet happy and feeling great.

Every breed has a specific coat type and requires different tools for maintaining that coat. We’ve categorized a few common breeds below. Keep in mind that different tools and techniques would be used on show dogs; below is what we use on pets:

Drop coated breeds

Include the Shih tzu, Lhasa Apso, Yorkshire Terrier, Havanese, Maltese etc. These coats are high maintenance if kept long and will mat up if not brushed properly on a regular basis. A slicker brush and fine tooth metal comb used at least a few times per week will help keep your pet mat free and feeling great.

Double coated breeds

Retrievers, Shepherds, Collies, Shelties, Huskies, etc. Many of these breeds shed continuously although some will blow their coats a few times per year. Removing the undercoat cuts down on shedding and helps keep the coat healthy, even during the winter months. 

Some people opt for shaving their double coated pet (which will temporarily cut down on shedding) believing that the pet will be cooler. This is not true. By shaving a double coat, the dog will no longer be able to regulate its body temperature properly. There is also a high risk of the hair not growing back properly, if it does at all. We prefer to use special tools for removing the undercoat. For shorter hair we use carding/stripping knives to remove the undercoat. For longer hair we use a rake and coat kings. If you wish to use these tools on your dog at home, we can show you how.

Hand stripped breeds

Most terrier breeds and many harsh coated breeds require the hair to be pulled or “stripped” to maintain that harsh texture. Shaving this type of coat will soften the hair, and once shaved it is very difficult and sometimes impossible to start hand stripping it again. 

We mainly use stripping knives, stripping stones, and our fingers for this type of coat. There are two methods used and the method depends on how often the coat is worked on. A ‘rolled coat’ is a coat that is worked on weekly to once per month (and anything in between) where only the longest hairs are pulled, allowing the dog to constantly have new hair growth for a healthy coat. 

If the coat is not rolled and is left too long in between groomings, all the hair will grow to the same length and then “die” so that the dog will then have to be stripped right down (almost bald). Some breeds can’t go for very long in between appointments if we are doing a rolled coat. We can let you know what type of schedule you should be on if you’d like your dog hand stripped.

Curly Type Coats

Such as the Bichon Frise and the Poodle have hair that continuously grows. This type of coat can be maintained with a slicker brush and fine tooth metal comb. Remember, the longer the hair is the more often your pet will require brushing and grooming appointments. 

Can I bath my pet at home between groomings?

Contrary to popular belief, bathing your dog frequently is perfectly acceptable, as long as you are using a high quality shampoo AND conditioner. Many show dogs are bathed weekly for up keep, and daily (or twice daily) during a show weekend and they still have a healthy skin and coat. Clean hair is less likely to break and become damaged, and when properly dried out, less likely to matt as quickly than if the hair is dirty.

When you bath your pet at home, it is important to fully brush+comb before AND after. Many people don’t realize that there is a correct way to brush your pet. Line brushing is the proper technique, as well as using the correct tools to perform it. At the bottom of this page there is an instructional video(coming soon!!) or you can stop by the shop for a demonstration in person.

The longer your pet’s hair is, the more often it will require brushing. Mats are painful and can be detrimental to the skin underneath, as matting prevents proper air circulation and is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. 

We encourage owners to brush at home, and there are a few ways to make this easier on both you and your pet. Introducing the grooming process early in life (we recommend starting at 3 months of age) will help your pet get used to all the different noises (clippers, blow dryers etc.), and handling techniques involved. 

At home, you can put your pet up on a raised surface (such as a freezer or table etc.) when brushing out. Be gentle yet firm when training your pet, and always remember to be consistent. 

We highly recommend enrolling in obedience classes; they are educational and fun for both you and your pet, and they help in forming a positive bond with each other.

What is a mat? 

A mat occurs when hair twists together into tangles and knots. These knots twist together and form mats. They usually feel like clumps when you pat your dog. Sometimes the mats may lay close to the skin and the outer hair feels brushed out, but underneath it is like a twisted carpet of hair.

The easiest way to tell if your pet is matted is to comb through the coat, all the way down to the skin. Use a fine to medium tooth comb. If the comb becomes stuck in any way in the coat, you have probably found a mat.

Why are mats bad? 

Mats hurt. When mats are allowed to develop in a coat, the fur begins to twist and pull at the skin hurting your pet. Think of it as have a tight elastic in your hair and everywhere you turn another strand of hair pinches your skin. This pulling can cause blood circulation problems in the skin and be painful and uncomfortable.

The skin under the matted hair can become damaged from the lack of air and blood circulation. Moisture (from bathing, rain, snow, etc) can become trapped and with the dogs warm body temperature, it becomes a perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth. This can lead to painful hot spots and vet bills.

What can be done about mats? 

Dematting is only an option on coats where the matting has not yet become severe, like 2 or 3 small, sporadic mats. The tugging, pulling and ripping of dematting is very painful for the pet, and it will damage the coat. Leaving it more susceptible to matting again.

The best and most humane course of action is to clip down the coat and start from scratch. Our clippers are not able to cut through the mats and have to get underneath the matting. How short we must clip depends on the severity of the matting, and the closeness of the matting to the skin.

What may happen when my dog is clipped? 

Although clipping is necessary, there may be side affects. Having been denied air circulation and stimulation from regular brushing/combing maintenance, the skin is quite sensitive and is easily marked, scraped or nicked by the clipper blades.

The dog may feel uncomfortable and strange after a clip down. This is not unlike the way you would feel if you had long hair and trimmed it quite short. The dog may also hide and act embarrassed, It is best to bestow many praises on your dog and try to build his confidence back up.

Oftentimes the clip down may reveal a hidden problem that was not seen through the matting, such as hot spots or eczema. The removal of the mats often allows a pet to now get at an itch that was previously hidden to them.

It is very important that you not allow your pet to excessively rub or scratch themselves or do any sort of self mutilation. If your pet is really uncomfortable, you should seek veterinary care.

How do we prevent mats?

To prevent mats in our pets we need to do a few minor things. First we need to talk to our professional pet stylist and set up a regular grooming schedule. 

Most coated breeds need to be professionally groomed every 4-6 weeks. The longest any dog should EVER go between grooming is 3 months.

For longer styles you need to keep your pet mat free. Regular brushing and combing must be done at home. Your Professional Pet Stylist can show you the correct equipment and techniques you will need based on your dog to maintain a healthy skin and coat.

Take your time and enjoy the bonding that grooming your pet can achieve. Your pet will thank you for it with the years of love and attention they bring to your family.



Vada's Club K9 (204) 221- 0998 628 St. Anne's Road Winnipeg, Manitoba R2M4W3