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Old 01-26-2011, 10:20 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Default Grooming a matted shih tzu

My organization recently adopted a shih tzu to start training as a hearing dog.

Of course the dog is pretty matted. His fur is about 2 inches long. We were able to cut out the biggest mats, but he's wiggly and frankly, we're trainers not groomers. I've personally never used clippers, and the other trainers aren't good at it.

When he came to us he had kennel cough which progressed to an upper respiratory infection. He has not had his rabies vaccine, and the vet didn't want to give it to him until he was done with his antibiotics (which will be in a few days). So we can't take him to a professional groomer until he's had his rabies shot.

Of course his coat is REALLY dirty - flea dirt and all kinds of other debris - and he's really itchy; we think the flea dirt and such is irritating his skin and we feel like he needs a bath. But I'm afraid to give him a bath with his fur so long and already somewhat matted. Also we don't have a dryer, and the kennels aren't the warmest places to be - between 65 and 70 degrees.

So my question is, do you think we should go ahead and bathe him and deal with the mats later; or should we wait until mid- to late next week until we can get a professional groomer to clip him and then bathe him?

We've never had a dog we have to get groomed, this is kind of new for most of us. Any advice would be appreciated!!
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:29 PM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
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Hmm... Personally, I'd clip the worst of the mats out, comb him out, and bathe him. Comb him out again after his bath, then dry him thoroughly, and then brush him out really well.

Then once he's able to go to a professional, let them clean up your handy work
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieDog View Post
Then once he's able to go to a professional, let them clean up your handy work
Oh, there will be LOTS of that, for sure!!

Thanks for the tips. Do you think conditioner would help? If so, got any suggestions on types/brands?
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:47 PM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
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Condition will definitely help both in the bath working some knots out, and when he's being dried at keeping it from tangling up too much. We use Earth Bath at work, and I've used Mane and Tail at home as well.

Maybe try bringing a hair dryer with you when you (or whomever) bathes him, and using that to help dry his fur to keep him from getting a chill. Try to squeeze the water out, instead of toweling him roughly or in circles, because that can cause the fur to tangle up really easily. Brush him as you're drying him, and if you don't have a hair dryer, prepare to use a lot of towels to get the coat mostly dry.

It's really really hard to dry fur completely with a towel though, and I've never been able to get it less than damp. We have a force air dryer at work, and I LOVE it, maybe you can talk them into getting one, lol, because it literally blows the water out of a Lab coat, and makes drying a dog to the skin much much easier.
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:48 PM
Saeleofu Saeleofu is offline
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I'd make a terrible groomer, but I can de-mat a dog with clippers. They just look like **** when I'm done

I'd also try to get as many mats out as possible before bathing. Mats take FOREVER to dry and can tighten up with a bath, making it that much harder to get out and more uncomfortable.

I do think conditioner would help...I mean can it really hurt at this point? We use an oatmeal-based conditioner at work that can be rinsed out or left in. Maybe lubing a mat up with enough conditioner will help get it out.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:50 PM
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What blades do you have?

I would not bathe him, will make mats worse, plus they will not dry fully and the water stuck in them can harm the skin even more.


Id call some groomers. See if any will take him in, play the bleeding heart that he is a rescue. they may do it.
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:26 PM
UniquityBelgians UniquityBelgians is offline
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Most groomers don't ask that the dog be up to date on vacciantions. I don't ask my clients to show me vaccination records -- and I don't vaccinate my dogs either. The only groomer in town (out of dozens) that wants UTD rabies is Petsmart. You shouldn't have a problem with a smaller or home-based business. I'd try to get him in there (as long as the kennel cough is no longer contagious of course!).
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:44 PM
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We called a couple of groomers - the ones we had personal experience with - and none would take him without a rabies vac.

They went ahead and bathed him today, though I don't know how it went, I wasn't at the facility. Another dog accidently peed on him yesterday (the shih tzu walked into the other dog's stream.... probably couldn't see it with all the fur around his eyes), and he was scheduled to go to a foster home tonight, so he really had to have a bath.

Tankstar, I have no idea what blades we have, I've barely even looked at them. I've literally never even held clippers, so I don't have the first clue what to do with them. I just don't think this is the dog to learn on right now.
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:27 AM
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Poor guy. Its a shame. i wish i was close, id shave him down.

Its a shame no one will just clip him, even with out rabies. They could just muzzle him to prevent any bites. At my old work we would take in HS cats and dogs and shave them down for free, since they were SO matted and disgusting.
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Old 01-29-2011, 02:53 PM
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If his mats are awful and close to the skin, he might need to be sedated in order to fully shave him down, give his skin a good cleansing and give his fur a chance to grow in better. Normally I think sedating a dog for grooming is a terrible idea, but this would prevent the first grooming being an awful experience for the dog . De-matting hurts, and to a dog that hasn't been clipped much before (as, I would gather, is the case with this dog) it can be scary too.

I would cut out the mats that you can, spot-clean the areas that aren't matted and let a professional take care of him (or let a vet give him a full-body buzz cut and a fresh start on his coat). Don't use clippers if you're uncomfortable with them. It's hard to cut a dog's skin with clippers, but if you're jumpy you're way more likely to cause some harm.
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