Groom, Groom, Everybody Groom

I went around the house last week getting a list together for our Spring cleaning. I'm a die-hard list maker, so this was one of the highlights of my day!

Until I noticed a reoccurring theme on every page - dog hair!

There was black fur on every floor, in nooks and crannies, behind doors, on furniture (which is interesting because there aren't supposed to be puppies on the furniture) and under just about everything.

So before I start a deep cleaning of the house, it's time to do a deep cleaning of the dogs! In just a few minutes a day (which I should have been doing all along) you can keep fur under control and make your dog feel loads better!

* Find a really great dog brush. There are different kinds of different types and lengths of fur. Choose one that matches your dog and will do the required job. For example, we used a wire brush on Bailey for a while, but we finally figured out that the bristles hurt when they dug into her skin. I found a different one that still gets all the way to the skin's surface, but doesn't have sharp points. Now she loves getting groomed and will turn from side to side just to make it last a little longer.

* Use it! As often as you can! Remember that you're revitalizing their fur while you brush, stirring up the natural oils and removing mats and dirt. If they don't love grooming right off the bat, give your dog treats as some incentive to stay put. Plus they'll learn quickly that it's bonding time with you and a massage all in one.

* Invest in an under-coat comb. Those Shed-Enders advertised on television really work. Bailey has a true lab coat (get it?) and has tons of extra fur underneath her top coat. These special combs are designed to slide through the silky top coat and release all that matted fur in the layer closest to the skin. And they work! Bailey loses about 10 pounds every time we use it, just from the extra hair she didn't need.

* Finish up with a lint roller. This may sound silly, but it works like magic. I use two or three sheets of lints roller all over the girls and it picks up those hairs that I loosened with the comb. I much prefer spending a dollar at the store for a roller every now and then, rather than have shed fur all over our home.

* Prepare to see the fruits of your labor. They may not always sit still. They may shake and stir up dust and dander. They may rebel against the brush or comb you've chosen. But all the struggle is worth it when you see the results of just a few minutes of grooming time. Their fur will sparkle. All those natural oils will be distributed throughout their fur and they'll be all soft and luxurious. And you've removed dirt and tangles so she'll feel like a new dog!

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