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Hi All,

I have two dogs and I try to keep them well groomed myself. I have several questions I am hoping you can answer:

Dog #1 - Bowser - M - Purebred Yellow Labrador (American) - Food/Skin Allergies

-- Bowser sheds a lot. I know he has food alergies, I have switched him to Taste of the Wild dog food about 2.5 months ago, I'm not sure that it is completely curing his allergies but I figure I"ll stick with it for another month or two, it has definitely reduced them since I was buying him purina/iams/etc.

I live in a condo, but I walk him 3 miles 1-2x day and play fetch with him 1-2x day. He sheds alot and seems to stink after a couple weeks without a bath. I've been bathing him weekly for about a month now hoping to help with the tidiness of my apartment and cut down on vacuuming, but I'm worried maybe this is too much. I comb him every other day with a Furminator. I give him oil & egg with his food to keep his skin & hair oily..

Today while bathing him I noticed his skin appears pink/red more than a caucasian tint... I'm wondering if either the Furminator or frequency of bathing or possibly a new shampoo or his basic skin/food allergies might be the most likely cause of this??

Dog #2 - Sheba - Unsexed/F - Shiba Inu / Rottweiler / Chow / Mix

Sheba has a thick thick undercoat. When I got her from the SPCA it looked like she hadn't been bathed in years and had heavy tangles. I think it took over a year and about 10 baths before all hair mattes/tangles were removed. If I do not brush her daily she sheds a lot, I can remove significant amount of hair every day with the furminator. Luckily, I think her undercoat 'traps' it so even though she is much more of a furrball than Bowser, much much more ends up in the comb and the tub after the bath than on the floor. I have not noticed a change in her skin color or that frequent (weekly) baths bother her. Every week I remove gobs and gobs of hair during her weekly bath even while brushing throughout the week..


Please give me advice on what I can do better or might be doing wrong.. special shampoos for bowser? less frequent or am I okay?

Also, Sheba has black nails, I would like to trim them but am scared. I recently have been doing Bowser's nails w/o hitting any nerves but am scared to try with her, how can I make sure I don't cut too deep on a black nail?

Are there any better grooming tools than the Furminator, I am worried that it might be irritating their skin? Do the combs actually get sharper with age? I have suspected they possibly do and maybe my several year old Furminator needs replacement?
 

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The food may be an improvement but he may need more help. I was pleasantly surprised when Sassy's special home made kidney food had an unexpected side effect - her life long stink and bad breath disappeared! Something in kibble bothered her and her anal sacs filled up and got on her fur and in her mouth apparently. Eggs and fish oil are good, kibble is unlikely to supply enough omega 3 commonly found in fatty fish. See if you can find canned mackerel, sardines or salmon for delicious high omega 3 toppers as well.

With those thick coats be certain you are rinsing shampoo out completely, it will take a while! I have accidently left shampoo in her coat in the past and Sassy was miserable with dry flaking itchy skin.

I brush/comb until the dog is completely dry as right when the coat is nearly dry gobs of hair will come out. Sassy's thick lab type coat would shed noticeably less for a week after such treatment. This doesn't work for Max, he loses hair constantly no matter what I do.

I wouldn't be using the furminator every other day. You could be irritating his skin or the pink could be due to his allergies. You could wet the dog down and rub/comb/brush until dry to get out gobs of hair between baths. Try using a metal flea comb, you will need to start low on the legs and move up as the fur is combed out, starting on uncombed fur is impossible with thick coats. Look up 'line combing' or brushing on how to do this properly. Sorry, I haven't a link for this technique as Max's long double coat is thin enough I can just brush/comb straight through.

Max has black nails but I have always dremeled them. Start by taking off the pointy end to square up the nail without cutting into the bottom curve of the nail at all. That takes off about 1/4" of the hard part and goes no where near the quick. If she lets you you could nibble the sharp edges of the top and sides to smooth and remove more of that really hard stuff with the clippers too. A nail file can smooth the edges and a good way to fuss with her feet with no chance of hurting her.
Some nice photos.
http://www.lakesidevets.com/site/view/173225_TrimNails.pml
 
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