5 Care Tips for Long-Haired Dog Breeds
Nov 14, 2023
Every dog, regardless of their breed or size, holds a special charm that endears them to their owners. For many of those who own long-haired dog breeds in particular, it’s their majesty and character that make these pups rewarding companions to their “hoomans.”
The flowing coat of an Afghan hound, Maltese, Bearded Collie, or Lhasa Apso may naturally cascade in waves or float with a gentle breeze, often drawing admiring glances from onlookers. But this beauty also comes with a meticulous set of care requirements, and that makes these breeds more demanding in their maintenance compared to others.
Long coats serve as effective protection against environmental elements, like the biting cold of winter and the scorching heat of the summer sun. But the length and density of these coats also makes them prone to matting, tangling, and accumulating dirt. For those committed to ensuring the best for their long-haired canine companions, a deeper understanding of their specific care needs is essential.
Here are some specific care tips that will keep long-haired dogs always looking and feeling their best:
1) Invest in Regular Grooming
Though it may seem time-consuming and costly at first, regular grooming is just what your long-haired fur baby needs. The luxurious coat that makes long-haired breeds so eye-catching requires diligent care for you to maintain its health and appearance.
Regular brushing should be done ideally every day or at least several times a week. This will help prevent tangles, mats, and dirt buildup in your dog’s fur. Brushes specifically designed for long-haired breeds, like slicker brushes or wide-tooth combs, can be quite effective at maintaining the smooth and healthy appearance of the fur. The same goes with some custom dog bandanas, which can keep your long-haired dog looking neat and dapper without much effort.
While at-home grooming and basic tools are both essential, you may also want to tap professional grooming services for your dog as necessary. Professional groomers will have the tools and expertise to address deeper matting problems and provide sanitary trims as well as give full haircuts to your pup. For a dog with long hair, a well-groomed coat is the best showcase of their natural beauty and character.
2) Make Sure Their Diet Features Balanced Nutrition
The radiant shine and health of a dog’s coat often begins from within. To keep your dog’s coat healthy, as well as to ensure that they’re active and strong, switch to a more nutritious diet rich in essential fatty acids, proteins, and vitamins. Treats that are high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can also impart your dog’s coat with a natural shine and reduce dryness or flakiness.
Supplement a balanced diet with fish oil or biotin to help your dog gain even more nutritional benefits. This will be especially good for dogs with particularly dry or brittle coats. However, keep in mind that you should always consult a veterinarian before introducing any supplements to your dog’s diet so that you can guarantee that these are suitable for your pet.
3) Commit to Regular Checkups
One of the biggest challenges with long-haired dog breeds is that their lush coats can sometimes mask underlying health issues. Beneath those beautiful strands, unnoticed injuries, skin irritations, or even parasites might be lurking. Some owners will have no way of finding out unless they commit to routine checkups with a veterinarian.
If you own a dog with a distinctive long coat, you should adopt this preventative measure. Your vet may be able to spot potential issues early on and ensure that minor concerns about your dog’s fur don’t escalate into major problems.
Another advantage of consistent vet visits is that they offer you the opportunity to get professional advice that’s specifically tailored to your dog’s needs. There may be a skin condition common to the breed, or your dog may have developed allergies as a consequence of dirt buildup on their fur. Whichever the case, your vet will be able to provide you with insights and recommendations for maintaining optimal health along with a gorgeous coat.
4) Don’t Forget about Eye Care
Some long-haired dogs also sport bangs that cover or brush against their eyes. These strands may look adorable on your dog, but they can also lead to irritations or infections if not properly managed. Regular trimming around the eye area ensures clear vision and reduces the risk of complications.
In addition, some breeds are predisposed to tear staining, where reddish-brown streaks appear beneath their eyes. If this happens to your dog, you’ll want to clean these areas with dog-specific wipes and stay extra vigilant for signs of infections or other eye issues.
5) Help Your Dog Adapt to Weather Changes
A dog’s long coat is the result of their evolution, protecting them against extremes in the environment. In hot climates, their fur is meant to provide insulation against intense heat. But overheating can still be a concern for your pooch, so any outdoor activities you enjoy with them should be limited during peak temperatures.
Conversely, in colder climates, while their long fur warms them against the cold, snow and ice can pose challenges to your pet’s safety. Watch out for snow clumps in their fur, especially between the toes, as these can turn into ice balls and cause discomfort or even lead to frostbite in extreme cases. After walks or playtime in the snow, a quick rinse or wiping down will allow you to remove these clumps and keep your dog cozy and comfortable, no matter the weather.
The Fluffiest Companions Require the Most Care
It’s true that long-haired dogs might require a bit more attention compared to their short-haired counterparts, but being able to preserve their health and good cheer, on top of their beautiful coats, will be worth it. Refer to the care tips above to ensure a life of comfort to your dog—one that will have them happy to sport their long locks!
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.