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Author: HandsOn

How to groom the double coated dog – the easy way!

Double coated dogs are fluffy, shed their coats twice yearly, and leave a wake of hair in their path. Staying ahead of grooming your double coated dog can leave your house and car a bit cleaner, as well as provide your dog with some wonderful bonding time with you.

The undercoat of a double coated dog is soft, fluffy, and is the insulating layer. This serves to keep your dog warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The outer layer is more coarse, and serves to weatherproof your dog, keeping water and the elements away from the inner layer.

There’s also the “blow out” to contend with as well. The change in length of daylight hours tells your dog to start replacing his winter coat for a lighter summer coat, and his summer coat for a heavier winter coat. When your dog blows his coat, he’s literally letting go of the old one so a new one can come in. And there’s tons of hair!

A dog with a double coat can have short hair, like a Labrador, or even medium or long hair. German shepherd dogs and Newfoundland dogs have longer double coats. Collies have much longer double coats.

Double coated dogs are traditionally groomed with metal combs and rakes, but many dogs find this to be uncomfortable. Grooming gloves work to make grooming fun and comfortable for your pup.

Double coated dogs are traditionally groomed with metal combs and rakes, but many dogs find this to be uncomfortable. Grooming gloves work to make grooming fun and comfortable for your pup.

The nubs of the grooming gloves are gentle and provide a massage, as they work to bring up the undercoat that is ready to shed. Using a circular motion helps this process, and dogs love how this feels! When your gloves fill with hair, give your hands a shake and the hair will release.

To use grooming gloves for your dog’s top coat, simply stroke your dog. Working nose to tail in the same direction of your dog’s coat will tidy up the top coat.

Regular use of the grooming gloves will also allow your dog’s natural skin oils to cover his hair coat, creating a nice shine and glow. You don’t have to wait for your dog to “blow his coat”, as they are shedding on some level all year long. Keeping up with regular massage and grooming and your dog (and vacuum) will appreciate it!

How to Simplify Your Horse’s Grooming Routine and Grooming Kit

Time!  It’s what we want more of.  To groom, to ride, to relax. One way to create more time for your horse is to streamline your grooming routine and your grooming tools. 

For horses, their sensitive nature indicates often means that we need a bunch of tools.  Different brushes and curry combs for the body, the legs, the face, the neck, and even under the tail.  This is ridiculous!  

Curry combs come in hundreds of sizes, shapes, materials, and flexibility.  Which means that you often have to switch between a bitter and harder curry comb for the body, or a softer and more flexible version for your horse’s legs and face. 

So switch to a grooming glove!  Your own hands determine the pressure, location, and sensations that your horse gets to enjoy. 

Now you can ditch those curry combs and streamline your horse’s grooming kit. 

You can do the same thing in the wash rack – get rid of all of the sponges and mitts, your grooming gloves work equally well wet as dry. 

The best way to use your grooming gloves while bathing your horse, or dog, is to just pour your dollop of shampoo onto your glove, and then start to massage your horse, or dog.  If you find that you need a bit more water to get the lather going, your gloves won’t hamper you.  Our grooming gloves are designed to allow you to turn the faucet, operate a hose nozzle, and open and close shampoo bottles.  Easy peasy. 

When you make the switch to grooming gloves, you will save time. You will also save space in your grooming box! 

Here are some more tips to making sure your horse grooming routine is streamlined and easy. 

  • Do things in the same order, every single time.  When it becomes habit, you save time. 
  • Keep your grooming tools clean.  You’ll be able to have a cleaner horse with clean tools. 
  • Groom your horse daily.  When you use grooming gloves, the daily grooming allows your horse’s natural shine to come through, and your horse will be easier to clean.
  • Keep your horse’s stall clean!  This means less rolling around in muck. 
  • Use your grooming gloves!  Two hands is much better, and easier, than one.  

Dog bathing hacks – Dog bathing tips to make everything easy!

The best dog baths start with the best prep. Having all of your bathing tools handy, as well as grooming your dog before you begin makes for the easiest and less stressful bath for your dog.

Get set up before a bath.

Find a bath rug, towel, or non-slip tub liner for your dog to stand on while being bathed. Giving him security under foot makes for a happier dog when getting a bath. If you are bathing your dog outside, make sure he’s standing on a surface with a little grip.

If your dog sheds a lot in the bath, you can use a drain mushroom or drain filter to catch all of the hair as you bathe.

Use an appropriate shampoo. If your dog has skin issues like allergies or is very sensitive, your Vet can steer you to the best shampoo for your pup. Otherwise, stick to shampoos and conditioners made for dogs, so you know they are balanced correctly for dogs.

Groom your dog before you begin! This is a great idea for a few reasons. Your dog will relax, get a massage, and a lot of loose hair will come out. This makes bathing easier for you and less stressful for your dog. Grooming gloves are best, as you can easily shake out any collected hairs. Grooming gloves can also get wet and help with bathing.

If your dog usually wiggles and gets bubbles and water in his eyes and ears, you can ask your Vet for help on this. A Vet suggested ointment for eyes can protect against wayward shampoo bubbles. You may also want to use cotton in your dog’s outer ear to guard against water. Your Vet can also give you ear cleaner if you suspect suds and water are getting into his ears.

Have plenty of towels on hand! If you need to squash a shake to avoid getting shampoo flung all over the place, drape a towel over your dog after shampooing and before rinsing. Or just embraced the bubbles!

You may also want to put a little warm water in the tub before your dog hops in to lessen any stress over the faucet.

Get going on your dog’s bath!

Start with getting your dog wet. Avoid his face and ears to keep him comfortable. Using warm water is the best idea, not too cold and not too hot.

Your most efficient way to suds up your dog is with your grooming gloves. You can place a dollop of shampoo right in the palm of your hand, and start to massage your dog. The grooming gloves will evenly distribute the shampoo, and continue to work out loose hair.

When you are ready to shampoo, start around your dog’s neck. Leaving a sudsy necklace for your dog means that any fleas that try and escape the bath by running up will jump right into suds. Not so lucky for the fleas!

Carry on with the rest of your dog!

After rinsing, you can dry your dog a few different ways. Towels are great, and so is letting your dog shake it out to get most of the water away. Blow dryers should only be used on the cool setting, and only if your dog isn’t afraid. Professional dog dryers are also an option, these serve to use the air in the room as a blow dryer.

How often are you bathing your dog?

Show Ring Ready: Grooming Tips for Your Next Horse Show

Horse show season is officially in full swing, and it’s time to look your best and feel your best so that you can perform your best!

Grooming is something that should not just begin in earnest because you have a show coming up, though. As a matter of fact, good grooming habits will, over time, reap much longer lasting benefits. And the maintenance of a healthy coat is something that takes time — you cannot realistically expect your horse to come out of his stall gleaming and shiny with zero effort prior.

So what are some of the best ways to tune up your grooming as your next show approaches? Use these best practices for show grooming and watch your horse blossom as you put that extra layer of elbow grease on!

Get Down to the Skin

Simply brushing surface dirt from your horse’s coat won’t do much. To really get that healthy shine, no amount of shine spray will replace a good, meticulous grooming. To accomplish this, you must get all the way down to the skin to help circulate healthy skin oils and remove excess dirt and dead skin cells. This process encourages healthy hair growth and lays a foundation for that shiny look we all want to see.

HandsOn Grooming Gloves are a great solution for really getting down to the skin, where healthy oils need to be distributed to encourage healthy coat growth. The five-finger design gives you even more control and articulation, as opposed to a rigid curry comb that can’t contour with the horse’s body.

Don’t Ignore the Hard-to-Reach Spots

A horse has a large body, there’s no denying that. This can make it easy to overlook spots that are difficult to reach, but this doesn’t mean you should just ignore those trouble spots.

Spots that can be tougher to groom include behind the ears, the head, between the legs, right above the hoof and fetlock area, and under the tail. Some horses don’t love having more “ticklish” areas touched, so you need to be aware of what your horse prefers and what he doesn’t. However, there are still ways to give these areas the attention they deserve!

Use your HandsOn Gloves to really get into the nooks and crannies during grooming time. Since you have the use of all five fingers while wearing the Gloves, you’ll find that you can get into those smaller or difficult to reach areas with ease.

And these areas should not be neglected! Behind the ears, sweat and residue can build up from wearing a bridle or halter. Dirt and mud can accumulate between the legs and around the fetlocks, which can lead to skin irritations. And sweat builds up due to friction between the hind legs, so this area should always be thoroughly cleaned after a good workout.

Bath Time Matters, Too

Of course, you may not give your horse a full-on bath each time you ride — if anything, this could cause a problem by removing too many natural oils from the skin with too-frequent bathing. However, baths should still be a regular part of your grooming routine. But how you bathe makes a big difference.

Take the time to properly wash each part of your horse’s body. This includes their face! Many riders skip a proper face wash if their horse prefers not to get sprayed in the face, but there are alternatives. Using your HandsOn Gloves comes in handy during bath time, enabling you to give your horse’s face a good, gentle scrub. A wet sponge or towel can be used for rinsing if the horse does not appreciate water to the face.

Bath time is a great opportunity to get a good, deep clean using your HandsOn Gloves. In a circular motion, evenly distribute the shampoo or conditioner to really work down to the skin and remove that built-up dirt and dander. When rinsing, be sure to rinse thoroughly, until the water runs clear. Using the “shower” setting on the nozzle, spraying against the growth of the hair can help lift the hair and allow for a full rinse down to the skin, which is important. You can also use your HandsOn Gloves to lift the hair and allow the rinsing water to remove all the dirt it can.

Good grooming takes time, and it’s not something you can just skimp on if you expect your horse to be shiny and, more importantly, have a healthy skin and coat. Set aside a proper amount of time for grooming and bathing, and over time you will see the results and have a shiny, happy horse in the show ring!

Spring Has Sprung: Dog Grooming Tips for Spring, Part One

Spring has officially arrived, and along with it comes shedding season. Dogs, particularly those who spend time outdoors, also are prone to skin-borne allergies and itchy hot spots during high allergy season. These irritations can add up quickly for any dog owner, so it’s best to stay on top of your daily grooming grind to keep your pup comfortable.

HandsOn Gloves are a great tool for daily grooming and even for professional groomers. How can you utilize HandsOn Gloves in your everyday routine? No matter if your dog is itchy, sheds a lot, or simply just hates grooming sessions, HandsOn Gloves can be a huge help. Here’s how:

Spring Dog Grooming for the Heavy Shedder

Most breeds of dog shed, even if the internet says otherwise. What many dog owners don’t realize, however, is that different breeds of dogs have different coat types. Therefore, it can be hard to find a “one size fits all” solution for removing excess hair. However, HandsOn Gloves are a great option for all coat types.

HandsOn Gloves provide a close feel, and the added flexibility and articulation of fingers gives you the chance to really get down to the skin. By using HandsOn Gloves in your de-shedding routine, you’ll find that excess hair is removed easily while stimulating healthy hair growth and shine by massaging the skin.

Another important thing to remember is that every dog’s coat has a shedding cycle. Professional dog groomer Hope Carlin elaborated on this subject.

“Every dog goes through a hair cycle, which can vary in length of time from one dog to another, that includes a growth phase, a resting phase, and the exogen stage which is when the hair starts to shed,” she says.

Itchy Skin? How to Make Your Dog More Comfortable

Skin gets itchy, especially if it’s improperly cared for. Things like dander, extra winter hair, and dryness can lead to itchiness and hot spots that make dogs uncomfortable. By using HandsOn Gloves in your daily routine, you’ll naturally encourage healthy skin and hair growth while the gloves stimulate the spread of natural oils on the skin. Use of the gloves stimulates the spread of natural oils (known as seban) from the skin all the way through the coat.

And allergies can be the culprit for a variety of symptoms. Hope also points out how some allergens may not be detectable at first, but they are plentiful.

“Allergies are definitely a concern,” she said. “I come across a lot of dogs who lick or chew their paws raw from skin allergies, often to grass or other weeds that are starting to pop up in their yards or dog parks. One huge thing that people often forget or don’t know about, which is more common in late summer or fall, but can become an issue again as snow melts and the remainder pops through, is grass seeds. Grass seeds are absolutely awful and can wreak havoc on your dog. These are most often found between the paw pads, in the webbing of the toes, or in ears. They are a small seed that can latch onto the skin with a tiny barb and then with movement from the dog work their way into the skin and cause infections and abscesses. The most common one I find is called a foxtail.”

Regular checks of the skin and in between the toes can make a big difference for your dog’s level of comfort, especially during itchy spring allergy season.

In addition, make sure that you’re bathing your dog regularly for the best results. Working through mud, dirt, dust, or other unmentionables your dog may find outside can be difficult. HandsOn Gloves also work well for bath time!

Looking for more spring dog grooming tips? Stay tuned for part two of this series, coming next week!

The Benefits of Grooming Your Horse After Exercise

A horse that uses a horse curry brush.Groom after your horse exercises!

Most of us diligently groom our horses before we tack up and ride. After a ride is a particularly nice time to do this, for several reasons!

You horse might like a post exercise massage. Who wouldn’t?

You will be able to notice any cuts or nicks on your horse’s legs that he may have picked up while being ridden.

You might also find some sores or rubs from your horse’s tack.

You have another chance to stir up some loose hair to keep his coat tidy!

You will me bringing up more natural oils from his skin, helping to bring out that shine!

The footing or arena dust needs to come off.

You can check your horse for sore muscles after his exercise.

Many horses get a little itchy from the tack, this is a nice way to take care of that for your horse.

His body will need to come back to a normal temperature – in the summer he might need to cool off with a shower, in the winter he might need to wear a cooler for a bit.

It’s one more chance to bond with your horse.

It’s just plain good horsemanship!

Shiny Horse Myths

4 Myths about Shiny Horses!

There’s an old saying in the horse show world – BLOOM. This is the look of a shiny, well fed, and happy horse with a sparkle in his eye. Part looks, part personality. But there are a lot of myths about shiny horses… which we will start to debunk right now!

MYTH 1 – A shiny horse is a healthy horse. It’s true that some shiny horses are healthy horses – but not all. An overweight horse might be shiny, but he’s not healthy. His metabolism might be compromised, his joints overloaded, and he’s definitely more likely to overheat. Some unhealthy shiny horses are also that way because they are coated with products! This isn’t bad, it’s just not quite the same as a well groomed shine.

MYTH 2 – You can buff out a horse’s sweat marks to end up with shine. This would be lovely – if it was true! Sweat is basically water and electrolytes like Calcium and Magnesium and other salts, and it comes from the sweat glands. Natural oils are produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin and serve to protect the skin and hair. Sweat dries to a dull finish. You might be able to flake the sweat away, but it won’t turn to shine.

MYTH 3 – Using dish detergents and laundry detergents on your horse is safe. Any harsh detergent will actually strip your horse’s skin of his natural oils and protection – leaving a clean, but very dull finish. This creates a dry skin, which can crack, become itchy, and offer no protection. Only the mildest of horse shampoos should touch your horse – you want to maintain the shine!

MYTH 4 – All horse’s can be equally shiny. Wouldn’t that be nice! Stallions automatically produce more natural oil in their skin, making them generally shinier. Some breeds are also naturally shiny, while other hardier breeds with coarse coats are not so shiny. There’s a lot of genetics involved!

Rain Rot and Horses

Rain rot is a commonly used phrase to describe a flaky, scabby skin infection in horses. We sometimes call it a fungus, but it’s really a bacterial infection from the Dermatophilus Congolensis bacteria. We call it rain rot because it typically occurs on horses in areas that would be rained on – the face, the neck, the back.

rain rot skin hair mtg

The infection begins through an existing cut or break in the skin. Then you will start to see tiny scabs that are usually hot painful and usually not itchy. If removed, they also take the hair with it. Areas with rain rot can become painful, especially if the infections goes into the deeper layers of the skin or tack is placed on affected skin.

The area might also become a little itchy, in which case your horse will likely find a way to get some relief, and in the meantime spreading the infection through the act of scratching. Many horses get rain rot in the winter, and just as many get rain rot in the summer. The offending bacteria loves a humid environment – which in the summer is the weather, or frequent bathing. In winter, horses that sweat in their fuzzy coats create the perfect situation for rain rot, as does the horse in a blanket.

You can do wonders to prevent rain rot, including grooming and inspecting your horse’s skin daily. Any areas should be inspected by your Veterinarian for a treatment plan, which may range from a topical antibiotic to oral or injected antibiotics. You should also avoid using your horse’s grooming tools on other horses, skip sharing saddle pads and tack, and make sure you horse’s blankets, grooming tools and everything that touches his skin is clean.

Catch it early and it’s no big deal – wait too long and your horse can get secondary infections that are much harder (and more expensive!) to treat. Severe cases can also weaken your horse’s immune system, leaving him vulnerable to a wide range of viruses and infections.

A daily grooming session is your best chance at keeping rain rot at bay!

How to dry the damp or wet horse in winter!

Horses are amazingly adept at dealing with winter weather! Their coats are designed to keep them warm and dry, and for the most part being outside in a downpour can be just fine. The outer layer of hair allows the water to run off your horse. There’s also the instance in winter when your horse starts to sweat – in which case he’s getting wet from the skin. This can happen on an unusually warm winter day, or you have ridden your horse and the sweat starts coming!

coolers

It now becomes your job to dry your horse to avoid him getting chilled as your horse cools out. This prevents his body from swinging into hypothermia mode as he dries. The easiest ways to do this involve some elbow grease, some fleece or wool coolers, and perhaps even a walk around the property.

When you come back from your ride and have untacked your horse, toss a cooler over the sweaty parts to start wicking moisture from his skin and coat into the cooler. The cooler also serves to keep any wind from chilling your horse and helps his body temperature return to normal. 

Then you can go around him and ruffle up his coat with your grooming gloves. Think the opposite of smooth and sleek, you want the coat to get some air under the cooler and dry out.

You can also take him for a hand walk around the property. Be sure the cooler has leg straps so it doesn’t fly up. His walking will create some body heat to dry the hair, but not so much that he starts to sweat again. Check frequently on the drying status.
It does take time to dry the wet horse in winter, but use your grooming tools and a cooler to make it safer and more comfortable for your horse.
Curry on!

The start of winter tells your horse to start shedding!

This doesn’t make much sense…at first. In the US, we define the start of winter as the 21st of December. Around that time, and sometimes on the 21st itself, we have the winter solstice. This is the day where we have maximum darkness and minimum daylight. The day after the solstice is when the days start to get longer….with more light. 

In the summer, the longest day of the year happens around June 21st. The summer solstice is the day in which there is minimum darkness and maximum light.

glove shedding hair Both days trigger your horse to start shedding!

It’s a complicated process, and it’s also a gradual one, which is why horses take time to shed out, we just don’t arrive to the barn one day and see a pile of hair and a sleek coated horse. Initially, your horse’s eyes start this process. His eyes tell his pineal gland to make some hormones, which then work on the pituitary gland to make more hormones. This second batch of hormones works on the thyroid gland – which is ultimately responsible for telling your horse’s body to release the coat he has and grow a new one. 

That’s a lot of steps… Some horse owners might start to see the winter coat shedding out in mid January, and the summer coat shedding out in mid August. Of course every horse will be on his own schedule, and the shedding process will be complete on their own time. 

You may also know that some metabolic disorders in horses, such as PPID (Cushing’s Disease) interfere with the shedding and hair growth process. This specific metabolic condition affects the pituitary gland, and as a result many horses with PPID are extra hairy all year long.

Once you see the shedding process starting, there’s no changing it, unless the amount of light changes. This can happen if you move your horse from the deep south to Canada, or vice versa, or if you move to a barn that keeps the stall lights on. Eventually your horse’s body will figure it out!

In the meantime, keep currying with your grooming gloves, and happy bonding with your horse!

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