January 19, 2023
Every breed of dog is different, and it’s fair to say that some of our furry friends are furrier than others. Because of that, certain breeds need regular and careful attention from professional dog groomers, which is why dog grooming has risen in popularity as a career option of late.
One vital part of any top dog groomer’s repertoire is hand stripping. This is the act of using hands to take out any loose fur and coat coloration on the dog. It often accumulates around the face, chest and legs in particular, and is an important job to keep dogs cool, clean, healthy and stylish.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at why hand stripping is so important, the benefits and drawbacks of doing so, and the particular breeds that need it most often.
Generally speaking, it’s dogs that have wiry coats that need hand stripping the most, so that their fur (and therefore skin) doesn’t get clogged up with dirt. It can also be especially helpful in summer as it ensures that the dog doesn’t end up with an overly thick coat which leads them to overheat on particularly warm days.
The following breeds are some (but by no means all) of the breeds for which hand stripping is recommended: Airedales, Border Terrier, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Irish Wolfhounds, Poodles, Schnauzers, Scottish Terriers, and West Highland Terriers.
The reason hand stripping can be so beneficial compared to clipping is that it removes the entire hair including the root, rather than just trimming it back. Wire hair on dogs generally only lives from around six months, after which it dies off, so removing these dead hairs entirely frees up space for new, healthy coat to grow in its place.
As they die off, they become weak and loose enough that it’s easy and painless for dog groomers to remove them with their bare hands. Alternatively, some groomers prefer to use a serrated stripping knife to make the job a little easier, but this comes down to personal preference.
There are a number of reasons why hand stripping is favoured, by groomers, dogs and owners alike. For starters, it’s generally a less stressful process compared to clipping, as it doesn’t cause any anxiety for the dog in terms of feeling or noise. A more relaxed dog makes for a far easier and more enjoyable experience all round, and reduces the risk of groomers being bitten. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for some dogs to fall asleep while they’re being hand-stripped.
Most of the time, hand stripping generates better results in overall grooming as it brings healthy coat to the fore all across the body of the dog. And as mentioned earlier, taking away old, dirty fur can reduce health risks to the dog, as a build-up of dirt can easily lead to flea bites, allergies or skin irritations.
There are, however, also some risks relating to hand stripping. While it can be quicker than clipping, in some cases it can actually take longer, especially for dogs that need particular attention in certain areas. For dog groomers, this can impact profitability if selling appointments at a fixed rate.
Dogs also have to be handled with care during the process, especially those who have sensitive skin. If hair is removed too roughly, then skin can be irritated and the process can become painful for the dog. If the tissue underneath the skin is damaged, this can even lead to infections and bleeding for the dog.
Finally, dogs that are hand stripped generally need it to take place on a regular basis – potentially as often as once every few weeks. This can be expensive for some owners if using a dog groomer rather than doing it themselves, so offering a discounted rate for multiple appointments can help groomers generate repeat business.
If you’re still getting up to speed with hand stripping within your dog grooming business, then there are several tips that can make the job easier, quicker, safer, and kinder for the dog:
However, you groom a dog, there’s always the risk that something can go wrong, and that’s why having the best possible dog grooming insurance in place is vital.
Taking out Protectivity’s policy for dog grooming insurance can demonstrate to owners that you care just as much about the wellbeing of their pet as they do. Incorporating cover for public liability, specialist equipment, and Care, Custody and Control, it ensures you won’t be out of pocket if the unforeseen occurs.
Find out more on all of our competitively-priced dog grooming insurance options here.