What Is Hand Stripping In Dog Grooming?

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.

Which dog breeds need hand stripping?

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.

Why should you hand strip instead of clipping?

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.

The pros of hand stripping

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.

The cons of hand stripping

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.

Useful hints and tips

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:

  • Don’t rush the job for the sake of fitting it into a certain amount of time. If the dog looks uncomfortable or agitated, stop for a minute or two before carrying on more gently
  • For particularly wiry dog fur, a soft-bristled brush can often be highly effective in removing large quantities of hair without causing the dog any pain
  • Consider using petroleum jelly to soothe any areas of skin that you feel might get irritated
  • Use gloves in order to keep your hands clean
  • Apply some insecticide at the end of the process to ensure that fleas and ticks don’t attack the dog

Get dog grooming insurance with Protectivity

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.

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