It’s the season of burdocks here in Maine! In my little grooming shop I am brushing and clipping out clumps of tiny burrs daily. The big ones haven’t made much of an appearance yet, but they will. And then there are stickers, which are small, rectanglular, flat, black things with two sticky antennae on one end.
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There are lots of different kinds of plants that have burrs. Did you know burrs are seed pods? That is why they are prevalent in the fall- it’s harvest time, and time for the seeds to fly before the winter. It’s a very smart method of distribution from some very clever plants. It is also annoying for us folks who want to have dogs with gorgeous, flowing coats. Burrs may be part of the circle of life, but they sit in your dog’s fur and kill your dreams. They can also cause injury by causing bad matts that pull on skin, or, depending on the type of burr, cause tiny punctures from their sticky ends that can get infected. So it is in your dog’s best interest to remove burrs as quickly as possible. Usually by cutting or shaving the clumps and leaving ugly bald spots all over your beautiful dog…
But wait! Before you reach for those scissors in a fit of temper, read on! It is actually pretty easy to remove the burrs without obliterating your dog’s hair! Read on for some tips to burr removal…
Deshedding tool (optional)
slicker brush(There are different sizes, so pick one that is appropriate for your pet. Medium is good for most dogs…)
Fine tooth comb and/or
Shedding comb(If I have to choose between a fine tooth and a shedding comb, I usually go with the latter because it does such a great job of picking through the mess and straightening out the coat!)
Small Burr Removal
Use a metal tipped slicker brush and either a fine tooth comb or a deshedding comb to go through your dog’s coat. You may have to pick some of them out with your fingers, but they usually come out quite easily. You may want to have the garbage can handy, because these will attach back to the fur quite easily!
Large Burdock Removal
It’s easy to panic when you see clumps of burrs the size of a baseball hanging from your dog’s tail. It looks a lot worse than it is though, I swear, once you know the trick to getting them out. Remember I said that burrs are seed pods? And seed pods want to be broken open to deliver their seeds. So, rather than cutting out big chunks of fur, start breaking the pods apart.
If the clump is large, you may have to break or cut it into manageable pieces using a dematting tool. Here is my weapon of choice. Just be careful of the teeth- they are razor sharp. Work the tool into the matt and use small motions to cut out to the end of the clump. Remember, you are not trying to saw the whole thing off! You are just trying to break it into pieces. Hold the hair close to the skin to keep it from yanking and hurting your dog.
Work on a small chunk at a time, breaking them with your fingers, pulling them apart, and then using the brush and comb to get the pieces out and straighten out the coat. It takes a little bit of elbow grease, but not too much, and your dog’s coat will be as good as new!
Remember! Don’t let burrs sit for days before you try to remove them! The longer they are stuck, the more your dog’s coat gets matted around it, which can cause painful pulling on his skin and possibly punctures if the stickers poke into him.
Finish the grooming with a nice conditioning spray like Buddy Splash Lavender-mint leave in conditioner and a final brush and your dog will be feeling, looking, and smelling great!
Do you have any tips on getting out those nasty burrs? I’d love to hear them! Comment below, and happy grooming!
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