This handsome dood is wearing our Handsome Motha Fluffa Bandana. Comes in different color options.
Grooming Tips Every Doodle Owner Should Know
Doodle popularity is on the rise and for good reason! Doodles are so sought out due to their teddy bear-like features. People are naturally drawn to them! There are so many varieties too; Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, Aussiedoodles, Sheepadoodles, Bernedoodles - anything that has been mixed with a poodle to get the "doodle".
Without the proper maintenance in between grooming, we experience, “the dreaded shave-down”. We've all been there! What a letdown it is to pick up your beautiful fluffy pup from the groomer only to see them shaved down completely and they no longer look like the teddy bear you fell in love with.
Some owners don’t realize that those fluffy features require constant maintenance to help keep that teddy bear-like quality. Unfortunately, some breeders don't spend the time to educate their new puppy owners on how to keep their puppy’s coat mat free. Doodles have all types of different coats; from flat, wavy, to downright curly. A doodle has a topcoat and an undercoat, making them double coated. Mats are formed when the top coat, undercoat, and any loose hair gets tangled.
So, how do you avoid that?
Typical maintenance would include bringing your doodles to the groomer every 4-6 weeks. In addition to the monthly grooming, there is maintenance in between those visits that you can complete at home. TIP: Start the grooming process young. Bringing your pup to the groomer, starting around 12 weeks, helps to acclimate them to the environment. To start, just bring them in for baths and brush outs, and this will help them to get comfortable with the sounds of the clippers and dryers. Doing this will ultimately prepare them for real grooming sessions later on and this will be less stressful to your pup (and the groomer) when they are ready for their first full groom.
Common Places Where Mats are Likely to Form:
Mats are common in areas where there is typically a lot of friction/movement or areas where moisture is easily trapped. Here are some troublesome areas to be aware of:
- Underneath the Collar and harness
- Joints and Arm pits
- Hips / Outer thighs
- Behind the ears
- Beard/Mustache area
Many brushes only touch the surface of your dog's hair and they might look nice and fluffy, but unfortunately, there could still be painful mats sitting close to the skin that are not visible to the eye.
Below are some tools that I use (and recommend) to help you maintain those teddy-bear looks! Be sure to watch the video tutorial provided (below the section on dematting), to learn how to properly use the tools in order to avoid unwanted mats.
1) SLICKER BRUSH
A good slicker brush is what you'll want to start off with. This brush is typically rectangular in shape and has fine wire bristles packed tightly together. This brush is best suited for animals with thicker coats. It helps to remove debris and break up mats in the fur caused by loose hairs.
There are different sizes available in this brush, so you'll want to make sure you purchase the right size for your doodle. I personally use the Miracle Coat Slicker Dog Brush, Large but here are some others I would recommend:
2) METAL TOOTH COMB
To finish off your brushing process, use a metal tooth comb. Metal tooth combs really get down to the skin, which will assist in trapping any loose hairs in the thick undercoat.
Some quick tips:
- I found the narrow side of the comb works best to get into the coat and ensure there are no hidden mats.
- A rounded tip handle is much more comfortable to hold than a squared tip.
After using this tool, you should be able to brush through your dog's hair "like butter", where it goes through very smoothly. I use the Andis Pet 7-1/2-Inch Steel Comb, but here are also some others I would recommend:
2) DEMATTING ESSENTIALS
Sometimes life gets the best of us and we simply don't have the time to keep up with the daily brushing and mats will begin to form. A good tip to help break up matting is to use some good-ole cornstarch! Just rub it into the mat and use the slicker brush to help break it up, then finish off with the metal tooth comb. If the mat is too tough and the cornstarch is not successful, there are other products out there that can help to get the job done. As a former groomer with experience, I use a de-matting tool. Although this tool is effective, if not used properly, it can be dangerous. If you are interested in using this type of tool, I would highly recommend to watch some “how to” videos first to avoid any accidents.
If you don’t want to chance it, there are other remedies such as detangling sprays and solutions available. Check out these products!
This is a great video showing how to use your brushing tools. In this video, there are two main brushes the groomer used; a slicker brush and a metal tooth comb.
PSA: This video is not mine, I am just sharing because it has very helpful and accurate information.
Baths are sometimes needed in between grooming appointments, especially if you have an energetic and playful pup!
You will always want to fully brush your doodle out before any bath. If you are unable to brush out mats before bathing, I recommend to hold off on the bath. Water will only make the mats worse. Water acts like a sponge and will make the mat tighter and bring it closer to the skin. So if you can’t get the mat out, I would recommend to bring them to the groomer as soon as possible.
After they have been brushed and bathed, they will need to be blown dry with a high-velocity pet dryer. A pet dryer is recommended because it flings the water off their coat, with little to no heat. This is a better option to towel drying because it can pat down the coat and cause tangling. Once your doodle is dry, be sure to brush them again to make sure there are no knots.
Ever wonder on an easy way to remove those nasty eye boogers? Use a Flea Comb.
Below I have suggested some Pet Dryers to use, I currently use the Go Pet Club Pet Grooming Dryer. TIP: Sticking a cotton ball in your dog’s ears will muffle the sound of the loud dryer. This is especially useful for dogs who are scared of loud noises. Using a Slicker Brush while blow drying will help the coat dry quicker and straighter too.
There are a few different types of shampoos I like to use for different scenario skin types and preferences, here are my favorites.
Sensitive or itchy skin:
Hot Spots: Zymox Itch 12ox Relief Shampoo and 12oz Conditioning Rinse Bundle, Both with Vitamin D3 . ZYMOX Shampoo and Rinse contain the ZYMOX 3-point Enzyme System that helps destroy bacteria and fungi that cause skin infections. Helps maintain a healthy skin and coat.
Whitening: Wahl White Pear Brightening Shampoo for Pets
To finish the look of your polished pup, think of an accessory! There is nothing cuter than seeing a well-groomed Doodle with a Bandana or fun Collar Accessory; such as a Bow Tie or Neck Tie. See below some of the handcrafted accessories we use to dress up our pups! We have tons of Bandanas and Collar Accessories to choose from on our site. We're always adding new ones with every season/holiday.
Wag Swag Co
Handcrafted customizable dog bandanas, collar accessories, human apparel, and more!