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Samoyeds and Grooming

Ok, so I have been procrastinating on this post for the last month 😅 but with the amount of annual spring shedding and grooming tips inquiries I figured it is time to put my wisdom on paper (or screen in this case).

The Samoyed is a double coated breed. They have two layers of hair – an outer coat, consisting of harsher/coarser hair which has great weather resistance – and an under coat which is shorter, finer and designed to keep the dog warm while working outdoors. It is mostly this undercoat that drops out or sheds.

First, you’ll need some equipment. The most basic and easiest to use are a brush and a rake or comb, a good pair of scissors with blunt ends (curved and straight). And of course a good set of nail clippers or a handy pet Dremel (nail grinder or filler) for the pawdicures. Lastly a good dryer and a few microfiber beach towels.

The dog can be either standing or lying down on one side, whichever is easiest and more comfortable for you. 

When grooming a puppy, it’s usually easier to lay the pup on its side.

Start with the comb, then finish with the brush. To use the comb effectively, start at the bottom of the section you wish to groom, use your left hand (assuming you’re right handed) to push the hair against the natural growth, and comb down in the direction of the hair growth. Then push your hand upwards about 2 inches and comb down the next section that appears. Keep combing each section until no more hair comes out, then move up to the next section.

The loose undercoat is what causes knots because it gets trapped and mats.

Once you’ve finished going over the whole dog with the comb, do each area with a brush – the hair sticks to the brush much better than the comb and you’ll get all the strays that way.

The most effective way to use the brush is in the same manner as the comb, but it will still work if you just brush over the top coat (in the same manner that you’d brush your own hair).

‼️ While the dog is shedding or “blowing” coat always groom before you bath, or the loose hair will turn into knots during the bathing process. Then groom again after the dog is completely dry.

Remember your Samoyed's fur is waterproof and it will take a bit of effort to get it thoroughly wet.  The best shampoo to use would be the one that has a neutral pH like baby shampoo or Dawn Original. However, investing a bit onto a good white coat shampoo is recommended. Start with vigorously rubbing and massaging the coat with shapoo to wash well and all the way to the skin. Likely you would need to repeat the shampooing process twice making sure to rinse all soap thoroughly from the top coat and most importantly the undercoat. As an option, you can add conditioner (pet not human) and detangler treatment, leave it for a few minutes and rinse again thoroughly. Once you samoyed his squicky clean sponge him/her with towels to remove as much water from the fur as possible. Most likely at this stage your beloved Samoyed would give you a hand in drying by snorting and shaking the excess water off its coat. Then dry your dog carefully with the hair dryer on the cool setting to avoid burning its skin, (ideally with a high-velocity dryer/blower but this requires a bit of financial investment).  Make sure that you have the dryied you samoyed completely paying particular attention to the armpits, groin, behind ears and tail crown (lower back where the tail sits). If you would leave the undercoat semi-dry it will create a greenhouse effect causing discomfort to your dog as well as a risk of skin fungal infections and hot spots.

If the coat has become matted, and the mats are too painful to comb out, cutting the mat out is OK for the sake of the dog’s hygiene and comfort. If you have to cut out a mat, do it very carefully, a little bit at a time, to avoid cutting the dog’s skin. Be especially careful if the mat is near the skin. Instead of trying to cut the whole mat out, cut into the mat, then try gently combing the area. Then do a little more. Or, take the dog to a professional groomer.

‼️ Clipping or shaving the Samoyed coat is definitely NOT recommended. Their coat insulates them from the heat and the cold and protects their pink skin from the sun. Clipping the coat can interfere with the dog’s ability to regulate its body temperature and could have deadly consequences.

👉We had a fair amount of Samoyeds coming into the rescue program so filthy and matted that shaving them was the only option. And still, we always try to preserve as much of their coat as possible over just giving them a full “sheep shearing”. But in ordinary circumstances, to put it bluntly – if you don’t have the time, money or energy to keep a Samoyed coat clean and groomed, then the Samoyed is NOT the dog for you!

You may want to do some trimming to help keep hours samoyed clean, particularly in the spring and fall seasons.

‼️When using scissors on your samoyed, you can’t be too careful. Always know exactly where the entire length of the scissors is and exactly what you will be cutting. Don’t just assume you know, even if you can’t see the scissors past the dog’s hair, and hope for the best. The result could be a nasty cut. Especially, be sure you can see the tips of the scissors. Keep the scissors parallel to the dog’s skin, not pointing toward the skin. Never cut close to the skin. And remember, your dog may jerk right when you are cutting, so be prepared. “Better safe than sorry.”

Parts that you can consider trimming:

👉The hocks (the back of the rear legs, above the feet) to keep them from matting and collecting dirt. First comb out the hocks and get out any mats. Then lay the scissors straight along the length of the hock, (parallel to the hock), about an inch to an inch and a half from the leg, and carefully trim off the long hair in a straight line. Try to trim the hair as evenly as possible. It helps to re-comb the hair and look at the hocks from a couple of different angles while you are trimming. The result will be a nice, even, “rounded” look.

👉For the top of the foot trim the long hair on the feet to keep it from collecting dirt, grass, leaves, sticks etc. The best way to get the top of the feet trimmed evenly is to stand the dog on a table, grooming table, or any other hard surface where the dog is raised enough that you can comfortably see its feet. Comb out the hair on the feet. Look at the foot and very carefully trim back the long, scraggly hair. It may help to hold the scissors parallel to the table. You don’t need to trim close to the foot; just trim enough to neaten the hair. Then move on to another foot. Or, if your dog is tired of standing, give him a break before you do another foot. 

👉For the bottom of the foot you may also want to trim the long hair between the pads. Whether or not you plan to trim the hair, it’s a good idea to comb out the hair and remove mats. You might be surprised by what your dog has picked up, such as weed seeds or gravel.

‼️Some people feel long hair on the bottom of the foot gives the dog better traction, while some feel it decreases traction. I think it probably increases traction on surfaces such as snow, but decreases it on slick surfaces such as linoleum.

Be extra careful not to cut the pads. Injuries to the pads can be hard to heal. Use short scissors with rounded tips for safety. First trim off any very long hair. Then lay the scissors even with the pad (or a little above it) and trim the hair even with the pad. Don’t try to trim down in between the pads. another option would be using a clipper or mechanical/electrical trimmer. It can be much safer for a novice person.

👉Another area you may want to trim is under the anus, to help your samoyed stay clean. Again, be very careful not to cut the skin. Hold the scissors parallel to the skin, be sure you know exactly what hair you are trimming, and trim a little bit at a time. If you’re not sure how to do this, or not comfortable, ask your groomer to show you.

Apart from care of the coat, there are other things you need to do for the grooming to be complete. Nails will need to be clipped from time to time, especially if your dog is not doing much walking on concrete surfaces. Samoyeds have dew claws that need cutting. The dew claw is like the dogs thumb. If the dew claw is left to grow freely, it will eventually grow around and back into itself, which is very painful for the dog, and will require surgical remedies which can be expensive. When clipping nails be sure not to clip into the pink area inside the nail. If unsure get your vet or groomer to clip the nails for you. You may be more comfortable just using a Dremel or harsh nail filer, but you’ll need to do this more regularly than clipping as filing is a slower process.

A word of advice from a breeder 🤓

If your Samoyed plays in the mud (let's admit it they are mud maniacs and happy Samoyed is a muddy samoyed), don’t panic, let your dog dry (in a pen for example) and after a few hours your floor will be dirty covered in “magic dust” but your Samoyed will be clean and white as before. So you can just brush out the remaining dry mud/dirt or use a pet vacuum on your dog and finish cleaning up the floors needed for a full bath.

Brushing Map credit of Samoyed Quebec

  1. Brush towards the front of section 1

  2. Brush towards the front of section 2

  3. Brush towards the front of section 3

  4. Brush the front part of the collarette upwards

  5. Brush the front part of the front legs down

  6. Brush the front part of the hind legs down

  7. Brush the feathers up

  8. Brush the back up

  9. Brushing the tail forward

  10. Brushing ears up

  11. Brush head hair up

  12. Brush the muzzle down

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