Bathing - when is it too often?

Topics, guidelines and tips for coat and skin care and grooming Chow Chows.

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Anj
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Bathing - when is it too often?

Postby Anj » Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:18 pm

Hi, I have trouble brushing my chow properly - getting right down to the skin, unless he has just been bathed and dried. As then his hair is clean and silky and its quite easy for me to get a brush though. Otherwise the brush does not go through, theres tugging and wrestling everytime we attemp to have 'brushing time'. Its just uncomfortable and a challenge for both when his coat is not really clean.

I am concious of making sure he is brushed properly as we live in a sub topical climate and he is prone to hot spots.

My breeder only bathed her chows once every 3 months. I am finding if I need to keep him well groomed I really need to be bathing him every 2 - 3 weeks. Is this too much? I read somewhere if you wash your chow to often they become smelly as you are stripping away their natural oils...

How often do you wash your chows?? Any thoughts?

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Postby Auddymay » Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:15 am

It sounds like you might be using the wrong kind of brush. I use a pin brush (head is oval shaped) for top grooming, and a rake (2 rows of nubby farther set teeth- like a double row rake) and a steel tooth comb with rotating teeth to get deep. Cut back on the baths to once a month to start, and try and do as your breeder every 3 months when you have better control of the grooming. There will be some tugging during grooming, but it should be gentle. Cut any mats out, they are hard to work out. Good brushing habits are trial and error, you will learn and get better with practice.

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Postby JH » Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:12 am

No question, they are much easier to brush out when their hair is clean. How often are you brushing him? If you brush him a little bit every day, or at least every other day, it shouldn't be that hard. It only gets bad when you wait a long time between grooming sessions.

I bathe ours weekly, since they spend the majority of their time indoors and want them to be clean. We use a very mild shampoo, and it is critical that they are rinsed completely and dried thoroughly, (which takes about 2-3 hours using professional drying equipment). Leaving a chow wet (even a little bit) is a guaranteed environment for moist dermatitis and hot spots, as is matting of the hair. Mats & tangles cause them to itch and scratch, so it increases the opportunity for abrasions that encourage the growth of bacteria.

I use a combination of about 12 different instruments to groom, but it took me a long time to figure out what worked the best. Look at petedge.com for a good selection of professional grooming tools. One tool that is really essential is a dematting rake (not just a pin rake). Dematting rakes have long sharp blades that actually cut through the hair mats, but you have to use them carefully and patiently, since they are pulling against the root of the hair. You should also get a good stripping knife to cut out the mats. And I've found that I need to use different pin slicker-type brushes for different coats. I need a soft flexible flat slicker for one of them, and a stiff, curved one for the other. It just depends on their skin and coat.
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Postby Anj » Fri Nov 23, 2007 5:54 pm

thanks for the replies. I have a pin brush, long toothed comb and a rake (2 rows)...It just because he is outside 90% of the time, it seems he get dirty all the time so it makes it hard to groom. Maybe he is not that dirty, perhaps that is just what thier coats like. I brush him once a week. I'll give brushing him more often a go. I do feel like whenever I brush him I have to pull and pull to get through the fur. There are no matts though.

Any of you use leave in conditioner to help groom? Or would that not be a good idea for his skin?

thanks for the tip on drying him properly...I didn't know this would aggrivate hot spots.

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Postby Auddymay » Fri Nov 23, 2007 6:12 pm

How old is your Chow? Puppy coat is much different than the adult coat, more wool-like.

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JH
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Postby JH » Fri Nov 23, 2007 9:58 pm

Anj wrote:thanks for the replies. I have a pin brush, long toothed comb and a rake (2 rows)...It just because he is outside 90% of the time, it seems he get dirty all the time so it makes it hard to groom. Maybe he is not that dirty, perhaps that is just what thier coats like. I brush him once a week. I'll give brushing him more often a go. I do feel like whenever I brush him I have to pull and pull to get through the fur. There are no matts though.
Any of you use leave in conditioner to help groom? Or would that not be a good idea for his skin? thanks for the tip on drying him properly...I didn't know this would aggrivate hot spots.


If you are brushing him once a week, he is just getting a lot of tangles. They may not be mats yet, but I can understand why it is so hard for you to get the brush through his coat. The woolly undercoat grows up and when it gets to the longer hair it curls back down towards the skin. Mine get even more tangled if they spend a lot of time outside or if they roll around on the floor a lot. You should definitely get a couple of different de-matting blade type rakes. Start off your session with those, since they will cut through all the hair and give you access to the undercoat. Then when you use your slicker brush or pin brush, they will go through a lot easier.

I have used cream rinses when bathing, but found that it didn't really make that much of a difference in how they blew out when I was finishing them. I wouldn't use any leave-in products, since their skin can be really sensitive to allergens and might develop an unnecessary reaction to them over time.
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Postby Layla » Sat Nov 24, 2007 6:21 pm

I bathe M&A fornightly. They get very dirty in the mud, sand from the beach etc etc & they smell! Millie goes from creamy to grimy as well :evil: I use shampoo & conditioner but rinse them out very well. I AIM to brush them 3 times a week but usually fail! However, the long pin brush gets right to the skin with no problems.

I'm a bad chow mama.... I don't dry them......
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Thank you Elodie!

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Postby JH » Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:26 pm

Layla wrote: I'm a bad chow mama.... I don't dry them......


I'm shocked that you don't get any problems with their skin without drying, especially in the moist climate up there. You have really lucked out! The only time I don't dry mine right from the tub is when it is 100+ degrees down here and they run around the yard in the sun. I still finish them with my blowers for a few minutes, but only to give them the greatest fluffiness possible.
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Postby Layla » Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:55 pm

:oops: .....I do wash them in the mid morning on a clear day then really rub them with a towel before brushing them out. It was easy it the summer but I may need to rethink as it's cold now. They seem to have no issues with going in the lake so I take that risk..... The minute they have an issue we'll be getting out the hairdryer I'm sure :D

Alf is so poofy he looks like he's been in the Jackson 5 8)
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Thank you Elodie!


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