Grooming Your Double Coated Dog
***UPDATE*** At the end of 2018 we added a pet grooming blower to our grooming kit and it is a game changer! We use it on the dogs when they are dry to remove dirt, debris and HAIR, and after baths to dry them. The blower has reduced bathing frequency and helps so much with shedding. As a dryer it, leaves the dog's coats in much better condition than a towel dry. Our blower was reasonable ($70) on Amazon and I don't know how I got by all these years without one! ***UPDATE***
Our White Swiss Shepherds all have long coats, and while specialized grooming skills are not required to care for these dogs, they do need regular coat maintenance to stay clean, healthy, and happy.
White Swiss Shepherds have a double coat and they shed year-round. For most of the year a thorough brushing twice a week is sufficient, however shepherds "blow" coat in the fall and again in the spring, and during these times of year they will need extra maintenance.
When a dog "blows" its coat, it is losing all of the undercoat in preparation for a new season. In the fall, White Swiss Shepherds shed their summer coats and eventually grow in their long, gorgeous winter coats. The opposite occurs in the spring when the dogs lose their winter coat and grow in a lighter, cooler summer coat.
For regular weekly brushing, use a large soft slicker brush. Before bathing or when your dog is "blowing" coat, start with a grooming rake to remove all of the loose undercoat. After completely going over the dog with the rake, use a de-shedding tool once over to remove any missed hair and finish off the pre-bath brushing with the slicker brush. After bathing your dog, dry him/her completely and then use a finishing comb to get a neat, polished look like you would if you sent your dog to the groomer.
White Swiss Shepherds do not need to be bathed frequently. Their coats are dirt resistant and bathing these dogs too often can be irritating to their skin. They do not typically smell so if you are bathing because of odors, you may want to check with your veterinarian for any health problems or food allergies. Ideally White Swiss Shepherds should be bathed once every two months. If they get muddy in-between baths, letting them dry off then giving them a thorough brushing usually removes all dirt and leaves the dog looking clean.
We bathe our dogs using a mixture of 1 part Best Shot Ultra Wash Shampoo, 1/2 part Nature's Specialties Bluing Shampoo, and 1/4 part South Bark's Blueberry Conditioner. We combine the three products and do one application with the help of a ZoomGroom brush. This combination leaves our dogs squeaky clean, sparkling white, and soft.
In addition to regular coat maintenance, White Swiss Shepherds should have their nails trimmed regularly, their teeth cleaned (or at least inspected), and their ears cleaned. We also use PawTection balm on our dog's paw pads during the summer months if we know they will be spending a significant amount of time walking on pavement or other surfaces that retain heat and can cause burning, blisters, or irritation to the paw pads.
Besides the fall and spring, White Swiss Shepherd shedding can be minimized by regular brushing. DO NOT EVER SHAVE YOUR DOUBLE COATED DOG.
One of the products recommended in this article is a Kong ZoomGroom brush. For more info on Kong products click here.