True confession, I’m a bit of a tool junkie. I’ve been grooming for 36 years and have quite an impressive collection of grooming equipment. Some I use every single day, others I only use once in a while but am glad I have them. Rakes fall into the category of “occasional” tools. I never touch them when I am grooming a large percentage of my grooming clientele, but on some dogs they are a “must have.”
There are a variety of rakes to choose from. Miracle Coat makes one with short teeth. It works great on dogs with shorter double coats. Most other brands of rakes have longer teeth, which do an amazing job on breeds such as Australian Shepherds, or any breed with a longer, double coat.
As spring and summer approach, and the dogs we groom are shedding out their winter coat, a rake can be your best friend. Here is an example, last week I bathed my own dog, Bravo, an English Shepherd. He has a coat much like a border collie. After a bath and blow dry, I brushed him well with a slicker brush, then combed him from nose to tail. I was surprised that not a lot of coat was coming out, because I am certainly seeing tufts of fluff all around the house, so I know his spring shed is underway. I grabbed one of my Aaronco rakes. I have a fondness for these, they are not only beautifully made, but they are lovely to look at and hold. I started on my dogs back and was amazed to see how much loose hair was coming out. I raked the thick hair on the back of his thighs, his bushy tail and furnishings. Handfuls of dead hair were sliding out with the rake. Hair that had stayed where it was when I was combing and brushing.
If you are grooming a pet double-coated breed that has packed undercoat, try this. Wash the dog thoroughly, rinse, and apply conditioner to the coat, working it in well. While the dog is still in the tub and covered in conditioner, use a rake to break up the packed hair. It is important to use a gentle touch, because the skin is more susceptible to irritation when it is water soaked. You will be amazed at how much dead hair will rake out when it is wet and coated in conditioner. The hair can easily be disposed of in heavy clumps, which is so much nicer than having it dry and blowing around your workspace, creating a janitorial problem. Rinse well and go on to finish the groom. You will find that the dog will be much easier to dry and finish after a round of raking in the tub.
You can find rakes in a variety of prices, from around $10 up to approximately $70. The more expensive tools tend to have extremely smooth teeth and ergonomic handles, making them more effective and a delight to use.
Do you have any rakes in your toolbox? If not, this spring might be a great time to try one. A good rake can help take the dread out of shedding season.