How to Finger-Strip Groom a Dog

by Judith Willson

Your fingers make a useful grooming tool.

Some breeds have two coats, a wiry outer one over a soft undercoat. When your dog sheds the top coat, much of the fur stays put, leading to an exceedingly scruffy-looking dog. In the spring, this loose, dead hair adds unneeded warmth. Your fingers are one of the most effective tools for removing dead hair. Hand-stripping might be time-consuming, but your pet will appreciate the attention, and he’ll look tidier. For some breeds, it’s essential.

Step 1

Have your dog stand in front of you. Ask him to lie down when you need easy access to his belly. Because finger-stripping takes a while, sit on a stool or have your dog stand on a convenient piece of furniture, such as the sofa.

Step 2

Comb through your dog’s coat to remove any developing tangles.

Step 3

Work your fingers through his coat and pinch a small bunch of hairs. Use your free hand to hold down his skin.

Step 4

Pull the hair in the direction it grows. The dead hair will come out, the growing won’t. You can normally pull pretty hard without hurting your dog -- the dead hair isn’t attached to any nerve endings. Work over your dog in any order you like, preferably starting where he most likes being petted. Don’t forget his tail and legs.

Step 5

Continue until you have covered his entire coat, being careful in sensitive areas. Because stripping is hard on your fingers and his patience, consider breaking the job up and doing it over several days.

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