Stripping and Trimming in Dogs: How is it Done? Cost and Tips



You were recommended stripping your dog for health-related reasons, but… What is it about?

Stripping is a grooming method that helps to keep your dog healthy and beautiful, especially if he has medium-to-large hair. Haircare is actually very important (consider there are many dog breed varieties with different needs), not just for aesthetic reasons: it is a responsibility to improve your furry friend’s health. Do not underestimate this area, it is essential.

For example, breeds with a wiry coat, which protects them from extreme weather conditions like cold, wind, and rain (like hunting dogs), require more care. If not groomed, their appearance may not look neat, which could lead to serious health issues for our friends.

How Does Stripping Work?

Stripping” literally means removing hair. It is not a painful technique, since it involves removing dead hair that has “completed” its life cycle. Wiry coated dogs innately tend to hunt for prey; they slide through bushes or get inside dens belonging to other animals. This causes its hair to be removed naturally, which in turn helps new hair to grow in naturally and continuously.

Nowadays, due to the fact that most canines are companion dogs, and generally live inside the comfort of our homes, they do not have the opportunity to remove their dead hair naturally, so a more systematic method is necessary.

Therefore, stripping involves removing damaged hair by pulling it from the tip, so no new hair is removed. There is a widely used and recommended technique, consisting of eliminating half the dog’s hair amount. It is performed every two months, resulting in your four-legged friend always having a perfectly strong and wiry coat.

Removing all the hair, leaving only the underlying fur, is absolutely not recommended. Wiry hair must remain: it belongs to the body and should not alter its appearance.

This technique is hand-operated, but it can also be performed with a special stripping knife with no blades, that eliminates dying hair by means of a constant mechanic procedure. Groomers are required to have specialized experience and must assess if the hair is mature enough to be removed or not. Otherwise, stripping would cause skin irritation and pain.

Stripping: Video

This is a complex and tedious process; since it requires hand endurance and lots of time (plucking involves extracting a few strands of hair at a time). The final stage is “Fine Stripping”, a cut with special blades to guarantee your dog’s hair is uniformly cut entirely, with a different length between the snout, legs, tail, and back.

Stripping is essential for dogs living in apartments since they are able to replace the hair loss natural process. This technique is fantastic to regenerate hair and enhance the appearance of your furry friend’s muscles and head expression. Above all, it guarantees hair health and beauty and, at the same time, keeps its shiny look without becoming duller.

It is important to begin stripping when your loyal 4-legged friend is still a puppy, preferably during its first 4 months, and continue to do it every 3 or 4 months (though a shorter period is better). In between stripping sessions trimming, the “pass again technique”, becomes necessary since hair tends to thicken. This is done so your dog’s hair looks always beautiful and neat.

Trimming steps

Trimming is strictly related to stripping. Trimming is a process that keeps your dog looking great (it is usually performed by show and competition dog owners). It is done on a monthly basis, so the hair does not grow too much and your furry friend always looks neat and in shape.

To enhance the result of these techniques, we recommend that you brush your dog’s back a couple of times during the week, paying special attention to areas that usually need to be de-matted (“armpits”, forearms, and behind the ears).

Which Dogs Need Hand Stripping?

Hand Stripping (working the coat by hand) is recommended in dogs with semi-wiry coats and with short hair, such as:

  • Old English Sheepdog (Bobtail),
  • Golden Retriever,
  • Setter,
  • Border Collie,
  • American Cocker.

Stripping (with electric cutters) is recommended for:

  • Lakelands,
  • Airedales,
  • Welsh,
  • Fox Terriers,
  • Westies,
  • Scottish,
  • Schnauzer,
  • Spinoni,
  • Dachshunds.

Stripping at Home: Tips

Of course, this is a paid procedure, though it is a worthwhile expense. In the US, England, and Australia, Stripping costs around 60-80 dollars in short dogs and 80-150 in large ones.

But, can you do it yourself without paying a professional groomer? Yes, you just need patience, precision, proper scissors, and a universal scraper. A Stripping session takes approximately an hour for a professional groomer, depending on the dog size.

In your case, it will probably take more time, since it is a delicate procedure that could be painful to your dog, and he would not remain calm if he is feeling discomfort which could make him get tired rapidly.

For this reason, if you perform this procedure for health reasons, instead of aesthetical ones, do not worry if it is more time-consuming, or if it takes you more days. It is always better to do a good job (even if it is slow) than to risk hurting your dog.

You can buy ergonomic scissors and all accessories in specialized stores, where you will also be given additional tips on how to do it. For example, there are special cutters with different lengths of combs, medium size combs are better for the body, while shorter ones are recommended for the head and legs.

Stripping and Trimming

There are various tutorials in YouTube that can help you achieve proper Stripping, as you saw in the previous video, you need to pull the hair out in the direction of its growth so as not to remove the inner layer.

However, it is really easy to know if you are doing it right. If you pull new hair out, your dog will feel pain, but if you remove dead hair, he will not be uneasy and most certainly be grateful. Also, try to work on getting him accustomed to being touched, so he is not afraid of stripping tools near his body.

If you have more doubts, you may find a professional groomer near your house, who will provide the best service and will answer all your questions.

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