Look after your dogPosts

What’s in my Grooming Bag? by Melanie Thomas

I have been grooming Bolognese of all ages for well over 15-years, I have bred 7 litters and raised 5 Bolognese through from puppy coat, though adolescent to adult coat. My dogs have had quite ‘open’ coats which I think can make life easier, their coats are not too fizzy and flock nicely. I know, the coat can be difficult and it varies, but I have always found that if I groom regularly from a young age it’s doable. It’s a good idea with a puppy to use a conditioner after shampooing and this helps prevent static and knotting. The adult show coats should be coarse when compared to a puppy’s coat, so using a conditioner before a show is a negative as it will make the coat appear softer. I would recommend that puppy people use a conditioner or conditioning shampoo as it should help with grooming and knotting.

I basically use 3 combs, a detangling spray (various brands) and 2 pairs of scissors. My dogs’ coats have mostly been kept long and in show condition.  Firstly I spray my dogs with a detangling spray, paying particular attention to difficult areas and I reapply the detangling spray if need be. Personally, I never bath a dog with knots or matts in the coat, I groom first and bath second. Having said that, I do know people who remove knots in the bath with the use of conditioner – so this could be an option to consider.

The breeder of my first Bolognese Jill Richards told be I needed 2 Black Anti-static combs, a medium one first and moving on to a wider one as my puppy grew. I took this advice and these combs are still my number one grooming tools. They come in different sizes and I have made mistakes before ordering online and buying the wrong ones. I now know that I need wide and extra wide/coarse toothed combs. I know some people have one comb which is one width one end and wider the other, but I prefer the combs with handles so use 2 different ones and swap from one to the other when grooming my dog. I buy these combs at show or online at professional sites such as Petcetera.

Spratts 69 Long Anti-Static Comb – Extra Coarse £11.50. I use the extra wide toothed comb first on my dogs top knot, down the back, flanks and down the top of the legs.

Spratts 70 Metal handle wide anti-static comb £11.25. I use the narrower toothed comb on the tail, ears, muzzle, lower legs and underneath area.

Face Comb £3.75. I use this comb for around the eyes.

The most important thing to remember when using the combs, it to groom right through the coat to the skin. The object of the exercise is to make sure the comb runs easily through the coat, meaning that knots are totally removed. If the comb will not go through, I split the coat and groom less and keep doing that if necessary until the comb runs freely through the coat. I do have a grooming table, but to be honest I groom my dogs on the sofa next to me for their heads and front, on my lap for their backs and sides and I turn them over on their backs to do the underneath. They are totally used to it and do not object. I groom my adult dogs about every 5-days ideally, sometimes longer. If the weather is wet, I find their coat on their back knots quicker. Puppies obviously need daily grooming in the beginning for short length of time to get them used to it and then you need to judge how long you can leave it as puppy coats can literally matt up overnight! The softer puppy coat has more static in it, this is why the anti-static comb is a good choice.

Blunt – Ended Nickel Plated Scissors – 3.5″ (10.8cm) £6.95

The 3 combs are my main grooming tools, but when I need to do any trimming there are 2 pairs of scissors I use. The small blunt ended scissors I use to trim in between the pads and a small area around the bottom.

Stainless Matt Curved 7″ (17.8cm) SCISSORS £23.50

The larger curved scissors are the most expensive item I have bought. Both scissors need to be kept sharp. I use the curved scissors to trim round the feet. Trimming the feet and round the bottom should be the only trimming required for a show dog.

These 5 grooming tools form the basis of my grooming routine. I hope sharing this knowledge will be helpful.

further reading

QUESTION: Do they need much grooming?

Unravelling The Mysteries of Grooming



Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

I live in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex with 2 Bolognese and I show one of my dogs.