5 Essential Grooming Tools for Double Coated Dogs 2021

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An Alaskan Malamute after being brushed, there are clumps of fur in the background

Keeping your dog well-groomed may seem like a simple task in theory, but what happens when they have a double coat? Double coated breeds require more specific tools than a standard brush to keep them looking healthy.

Whilst there are hundreds of products out there, finding the right tools for your dog can be a daunting task. In this article we’ll talk you through our essential grooming tools for double coated dogs that make grooming a walk in the park.

Table of Essential Grooming Tools for Double Coated Dogs

What is a Double Coat?

Before we get into the essential grooming tools for double coated dogs it’s important to understand what a double coat actually is.

A double coat is simply made up of two layers instead of one – a dense undercoat of short hairs that have a woolly texture and a top coat made up of longer guard hairs. The denser the undercoat, the fluffier the dog and the more grooming that will be required to keep them feeling fresh.

Dogs that have a double coat have them for a reason, and the individual layers each have a purpose.

The undercoat is essentially a layer of insulation that protects the dog from both hot and cold temperatures. It works by trapping a layer of air between the fur and the skin that helps your dog to regulate their temperature.

The topcoat, on the other hand, repels moisture and dirt away from their skin to keep them as clean as possible – pretty clever right?

Double coats don’t just look different, they behave differently too and undergo a process known as ‘coat blowing’. Coat blowing is different from regular shedding and happens when your dog transitions from their winter coat to their summer coat.

During coat blowing, a dog needs to get rid of some of their dense undercoat to prepare them for warmer months and it will start falling out in large clumps. This is usually a messy process requiring a strong hoover and plenty of garbage bags, and having the right tools to help them through it is essential.

You can read more about coat blowing and our advice here!

Hopefully it’s obvious by now that a dog’s double coat is very important. As such, under no circumstances should you shave a dog that has a double coat. This can lead to all sorts of problems with heat regulation and will make your dog susceptible to heat stroke and sun damage from UV rays.

If your dog requires surgery, the vet will minimise the area that needs to be shaved to ensure no long-term damage is done to your pup.

If you’re looking for ways to cool your dog down during the heat, you can read our top tips here.

Our Essential Grooming Tools for Double Coated Dogs

Using a regular brush won’t do your dog’s double coat any good and specialist tools are required to keep them looking healthy. Trust us when we say you’ll regret having nothing when it comes to coat blowing season and your pup is left with undercoat chunks popping out from every direction!

We’ve tried and tested all our recommendations on double coated dog breeds so we’re confident they’ll work for you too! For those of you not in the US, we’ve included some alternatives that our friends from around the world have recommended to us.

The Slicker Brush

Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for Dogs

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Click here for non-US purchase link.

We recommend starting your grooming routine with a slicker brush to comb through your dog’s undercoat. This removes loose hairs and prevents any difficult mats and tangles from forming. We personally love Safari’s slicker brush which has a ‘self-cleaning’ button that helps to quickly get rid of all the loose hairs you’ve combed out.

The brush feels sturdy to use and is comfortable to hold which is an absolute must as grooming can be a lengthy process. We find it the easiest to start by combing around the thicker hairs near the rump before moving up the body towards the head. Don’t forget to comb around the stomach and legs, these areas are more prone to tangles that can be very difficult to remove!

The Dematter Comb

Dog De-matting Comb by Safari

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Sometimes no matter how hard you try, your dog still ends up getting a matted fur section. We’ve all been there; we’ve done everything by the book and yet somehow there’s a tangle that needs to be dealt with. That’s where a dematter comes in.

Dematter combs have lightly serrated blades that gently work stubborn mats and tangles out of your dog’s fur. We love the de-matting comb by Safari as unlike other dematters, the comb is smaller and more precise allowing you to have better control over your combing. The dematting process is never going to be comfortable for your dog but we’ve personally had the least complaints using this tool.

Looking at the reviews it is clear this comb is suitable for a wide range of dogs with many people having success using it, and as a small bonus the comb can easily be reversed for both left and right-handed owners.

The Undercoat Rake

ConairPRO Dog Undercoat Rake

An undercoat rake.CHECK PRICE ONLINE

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Long-time owners of double coated breeds are guaranteed to have this piece of equipment in their arsenal, and for good reason! The undercoat rake is considered to be the staple of a double coat grooming kit as it removes any hairs from the undercoat that are about to be shed without damaging the topcoat.

Our personal favourite is the deshedding and dematting undercoat rake by ConairPRO which has a ‘memory grip’ handle that makes long grooming sessions significantly more comfortable. A single grooming sessions with this undercoat rake will reduce shedding significantly and easily remove any burrs that have formed whilst outside.

In our opinion, many other rakes available are too harsh to be used on the majority of dogs. In the past we’ve tried other popular brands that have left our dogs with damaged topcoats that don’t grow back properly. Since moving to non-serrated rakes that have wider spaced teeth we’ve noticed a big improvement in not only the quality of our dog’s coats but also their attitudes towards being groomed. Learn from us and don’t put your pups through the same discomfort!

The Grooming Comb

FURminator Finishing Comb For Dogs, LARGE

A comb.

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Click here for non-US purchase link.

Probably the simplest grooming tool but one of the most effective is a grooming comb. A grooming comb is not too dissimilar to something we would use on our own hair but they can make a big difference to your dog’s grooming routine.

We like to use them after we’re done with the undercoat rake to get rid of the last few remaining loose hairs and to check for any final mats or tangles that have gone under the radar.

We currently use the Finishing Dog Comb by FURminator as it has fully rotating pins which prevent tugging and minimise skin irritation. After a long grooming session, your Malamute will be grateful for the relief! The handle is very sturdy and easy to grip, and makes it easier to groom our Malamutes in harder to reach areas.

The comb has rounded teeth which promotes improved circulation by massaging your dog’s coat, and the comb is made from anti-microbial plastic to prevent bacteria from building up. We certainly won’t complain about the added bonuses!

The Bristle Brush

2-in-1 Hartz Groomer’s Best Combo Dog Brush

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Click here for non-US alternative purchase link.

The last step in our grooming routine is always to use a bristle or rounded pin brush to comb everywhere. After the long process of grooming there’s a good chance your dog is feeling tired and antsy to get away and using a bristle brush is a relaxing final step.

We use one to make sure our dog’s coat is lying flat and in the direction of natural growth which encourages the production of natural oils. This simple step can make a big improvement to the overall condition of your dog’s precious double coat.

We recommend getting the 2-in-1 bristle and pin brush by Hartz as it has the best of both worlds. The widely spaced pin side will gently massage your dog’s undercoat and the more densely packed bristle side removes any loose hair and dirt from the topcoat.

The brush has an easy-grip handle and is perfect for daily brushing after a walk or play session to keep your dog’s coat ‘topped up’ until the next full grooming session.

Does My Dog Have a Double Coat?

It’s usually clear if a dog has a double coat and you should be able to tell just by running your fingers through their fur. Dogs that have a double coat will appear much fluffier and it will be harder to part their fur to see skin compared to a single coat dog.

Doubled coated breeds can be both big and small and range from Pomeranians to Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Popular double coated breeds include:

  • Akita
  • Australian Sheepdog
  • Chow Chow
  • Finnish Spitz
  • German Spitz
  • Keeshond
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Pomeranian
  • Samoyed
  • Shiba Inu
  • Shih Tzu
  • Siberian Husky
  • Yorkshire Terrier

You can find a list of breeds that have a double coat here.

Final Thoughts

Grooming a double coated dog may seem like a daunting task but having the right tools is half the battle. Having these tools will make you prepared for anything a double coat can throw at you and will make worrying about grooming a thing of the past.

If you have any questions about grooming your dog or about double coated breeds, don’t hesitate to contact us here.

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