Dog Breed Info

Removing Excessive Coat

The care of the eyes of man's best friend depends upon the coat type, the trim style, the structure of the eye and the lifestyle of the pet. Due to man's selective breeding, breeds with drop coats such as the Yorkshire Terrier and the Maltese have very long hair on the entire head, and require special attention in order to properly maintain the skin and coat. Other breeds with undetermined hair growth, such as those with tight and loose curly coat types also must have special attention around the eye area. Breeds with these coat types would have a very difficult time surviving in the wild, because within a short period of time, the long coat would matt, covering the eyes completely, leaving the dog vulnerable to all predators. In fact, pet families with dogs that have these coat types, undetermined hair growth, can have the same situation where the hair matts over the eyes if not maintained on a regular schedule. Man has also created breeds with very large eyes that have the pushed in or flat faces which also creates wrinkles on the dog's face. These wrinkles are directly below the corner of the eyes so all tearing gathers in this area. Breeds with these characteristics not only would have a tough time surviving out in the wild, they can have a very difficult time in the back yard due to the large, often times protruding eyes, making shrubs and flowers and other debris that just floats in the air a threat. Breeds with these characteristics, as well as the breeds with long coat around the eye area such as the Shih Tzu, require more maintenance on a more frequent schedule.

The care of the eyes of man's best friend depends upon the coat type, the trim style, the structure of the eye and the lifestyle of the pet.

Why
The eye area must be kept clean and free from debris or hair in order to avoid damage to the cornea. Once the cornea is damaged, it will heal with a scar, often times essentially blinding the dog. Keeping the eye clean helps to ensure good eye health and eyesight.


When
The eye area should be checked and maintained every time the dog comes in for a grooming session. Some dogs may require more frequent visits to make sure the eye area is kept clean.


Where
The dog is placed on the grooming and styling table to have excessive coat removed around the eyes and any eye tearing that is attached to the hair. The pet is placed in the bathing station to have the eye area cleaned thoroughly and during the finishing phase, the eye area is finalized and any skin irritation is treated at this time.


How
Clippers, thinners and scissors are used to remove the excessive and matted coat around the eye area being careful to watch for skin irritation due to the tearing and matting.


Tools
Clippers
Scissors
Thinners

Be Prepared for the Pet's Reaction
Be prepared for the dog's reaction when working around the eye area especially on pets that have or have had eye disorders such as excessive tearing and pets with special needs. These dogs will either be very patient while you work this area or may respond in a negative manner because of their past medical history.


Trimming the Stop Area with Clippers
Clippering is the technique used to trim the coat very short on the stop area for all coat types. You can use a #10 or #15 blade, depending upon the coat type and density of the coat. If the dog has a tendency to move during this procedure and you have to be quick, go to a #40 blade which will allow you to remove the coat faster, but just be careful so that you do not take too much coat off leaving bare skin. However, for many pet families, the choice to take the coat this short may be a preference in order to maintain the eye area. If the dog responds in a negative manner toward the vibration and/or sound of the clippers, use your thinners rather than your scissors to remove the coat.


Pet's Position: Sitting or Standing
Professional's Position:
Front/Side

Procedure
  • Stand in front of the dog and gently secure the head.
  • Using your thumb, gently massage the stop area.
  • Place the blade on the stop area using the corner of each eye as the anatomy marker to accurately place your clippers.
  • Move or clipper toward you creating a line from one corner of the eye to the other or create an inverted "V" using the corner of the eyes as a guide.
  • After completing the task, use your thumb to again massage the stop area, praising the dog for allowing you to complete this task.
Trimming the Stop Area with Thinners
Thinning is an excellent technique that works with all coat types to take excessive coat off the stop area but still maintaining a natural appearance. Due to their design, thinning shears are the safest tool to use around the eye area, especially on dogs that have a tendency to move their heads a lot during this procedure. Small detail thinners work great for this application.


Procedure
  • Stand in front of the dog and gently secure the head.
  • Using your thumb, gently massage the stop area.
  • Place the thinners on the stop area perpendicular to the muzzle and massage the stop area with the thinners.
  • Thin the coat creating a blended line from one corner of the eye to the other or create an inverted "V".
  • After completing the task, use your thumb to again massage the stop area, praising the dog for allowing you to complete this task.

Trimming the Stop Area with Scissors
Scissoring is a technique that is used to remove coat from the stop area, especially for dogs with tight curly coat types such as the Bichon, because this coat type will not show scissor marks. Small detail scissors work great for this area and they not only allow you to have great control, but also this tool is excellent for detail especially in this area.


Procedure
  • Stand in front of the dog and gently secure the head.
  • Using your thumb, gently massage the stop area.
  • Place the scissors on the stop area, perpendicular to the muzzle and massage the stop area with the scissors and then scissor the coat. Do not point the scissors towards the stop.
  • Scissor the coat creating a straight line from one corner of the eye to the other or create an inverted "V".
  • After completing the task, use your thumb to again massage the stop area, praising the dog for allowing you to complete this task.

Trimming the Hair From the Corners of the Eyes Introduction
An option to help maintain a neat appearance around the eye area and to help prevent excessive tearing from hair brushing against the eye is to trim or remove the hair that is only in the corner of the eyes rather than remove all the hair from the stop area. The hair can be removed by clippering, thinning, scissoring or by hand plucking. The type of technique used depends upon the coat type, trim style, coat condition and temperament and behavior of the pet.


Pet's Position: Sitting or Standing
Professional's Position:
Front/Side

Trimming the Hair from the Corners of the Eyes with Clippers
Clippering is a technique used to remove only the hair in the corner of the eyes. Basically the same procedure is used when clippering the stop area only you just clipper the hair from the corner of the eyes. This procedure takes a steady hand and a pair of detail clippers with small blades or a technical specialist that is able to utilize the larger, standard blades as if they were small. A #10, #15, or a #40 can be used depending upon the coat type, coat density and how short you need to take the coat.


Procedure:
  • Stand in front of the dog and gently secure the head.
  • Using your thumb, gently massage the stop area.
  • Replace your thumb and index finger with the blade.
  • Place the blade at the corner of the eye and clipper toward the nose with a scooping type motion. It may take a couple of swipes with the clippers to achieve the desired appearance.
  • After completing the task, use your thumb to again massage the stop area, praising the dog for allowing you to complete this task.

Trimming the Hair from the Corners of the Eyes with Thinners
Thinning is a technique used on any coat type to remove the hair from only the corner of the eye area, leaving a very natural appearance. Thinners are the best choice if the dog is a pet with special needs such as a puppy or a first time groomed pet.


Procedure:
  • Stand in front of the dog and gently secure the head.
  • Using your thumb, gently massage the stop area.
  • Replace your thumb and index finger with the thinners.
  • Place the tips of the thinners at the corner of the eye, perpendicular to the muzzle, and take several cuts. Check the area for the desired length and if necessary thin the area more. Do not point the thinners towards the eyes.
  • After completing the task, use your thumb to again massage the stop area, praising the dog for allowing you to complete this task.

Trimming the Hair from the Corners of the Eyes with Scissors
Scissoring is a technique used to remove the hair from just the corner of the eye are on coat types such as the tight curly and loose curly and the tight and loose wire coat types. Great care must be taken when scissoring around the eyes. Small detail scissors should be used so that you have more control and are able to pull the tool away quickly if the dog responds.


Procedure:
  • Stand in front of the dog and gently secure the head.
  • Using your thumb, gently massage the stop area.
  • Replace your thumb and index finger with the scissors.
  • Place the tips of the scissors at the corner of the eye, perpendicular to the muzzle, and make several cuts with your scissors. Check the area to see if you have achieved the desired length and appearance and if not, scissor the area again. Do not point the scissors towards the eyes.
  • After completing the task, use your thumb to again massage the stop area, praising the dog for allowing you to complete this task.

Trimming the Hair from the Corners of the Eyes by Hand Plucking
The professional may choose to hand pluck the stray hairs around the corner of the eye area which is a more natural method than removing the hair by trimming with clippers, thinning shears or scissors. The thumb and index finger are terrific tools for this task and are used to gently pluck unwanted hair that may grow into the eye. Hand plucking the few stray hairs that stick out in the corner of the eyes, but leaving the hair long, is a common procedure used on many drop coated breeds such as the Shih Tzu to prepare them for the conformation ring, where the coat is left very long and never trimmed because once it is trimmed, the area must always be trimmed. Plucking only the hair from the corner of the eyes rather than the entire stop area on the head of the West Highland and Cairn Terrier is also a common procedure.


Procedure:
  • Stand in front of the dog and gently secure the head.
  • Using your thumb, gently massage the stop area.
  • With your thumb, gently massage the stop area as you decide how much and what hairs you want to pluck.
  • With your thumb and index finger, gently pluck the stray hairs from the corner of the eye area, massaging the stop area between the plucking, using soft reassuring tones and praise as the dog allows you to perform this task.
  • After completing the task, use your thumb to again massage the stop area, praising the dog for allowing you to complete this task.

Clippering the Hair from the Wrinkles Under the Eyes
Pets that have deep wrinkles that start from the corner of the eyes and extend under the eyes often times have problems with the hair in the wrinkles holding moisture that creates staining and foul odors. Many pet families choose to have the hair around the wrinkles clipped short to keep the wrinkles as dry as possible or to even have the entire muzzle clipped short. Normally this type of treatment is seen on drop coated breeds or mixed breeds with brachycephalic type characteristics.

Pet's Position: Sitting or Standing
Professional's Position:
Front/Side

Procedure:
  • Stand in front of the dog and gently secure the head.
  • Using your thumb, gently massage the stop area.
  • Using your thumb and index finger gently stretch the skin in the wrinkle area to create as flat of a surface as possible to clipper.
  • Use your clippers with a #10, #15 or a #40 blade to remove the hair in the wrinkles or to clipper the entire muzzle. The length of the blade depends upon the desired length keeping in mind that the #40 blade takes all the coat off creating a shaved appearance whereas, the #10 and #15 will leave more coat.
  • After completing the task, use your thumb to again massage the stop area, praising the dog for allowing you to complete this task.

Removing the Crusted Mass Under the Eye Introduction
The eyes can collect debris from the environment, causing a natural reaction of the eyes to tear, in order to clean and maintain themselves. If left over a period of time, the tearing dries, forming a crusted mass that sticks to the hair and skin and is very difficult to remove. Often times, after the removal of this crusted mass, the skin is irritated and infected. When and how to remove the crusted mass depends upon how much hair is left around the eye area, the size of the mass, how long the crusted mass has been there and if the pet will allow you to work around the eye area. Often times, pets with excessive tearing, especially breathing challenged dogs, become very head shy due to skin irritations and discomfort in this area.

Pet's Position: Sitting or Standing
Professional's Position:
Front/Side

Removing the Crusted Mass Using Clippers
Using the clippers to gently scoop under the crusted mass with a clipper blade is the safest way to remove matted coat and this crusted mass. Using thinners and scissors can be dangerous in that you can pinch the skin with the thinners because you cannot see what you are cutting or you can actually cut the skin instead of the matt when using scissors. A #10, #15 or a #40 blade is used depending upon the severity of the matting. If the coat is matted and has been for some time, the skin is normally irritated and can bleed after clippering. The area must be washed and treated in the bathing phase and again in the finishing phase to assure that the skin is taken care of before the pet goes home. In some severe cases, the dog may have to seek medical attention due to severe skin irritation.


Procedure:
  • Stand in front of the dog and gently secure the head.
  • Using your thumb, gently massage the stop area.
  • With you clippers place the blade under the matted area and scoop toward the nose.
  • If the blade will not fit under the area, wait until the bathing phase to attempt to remove this matting.
  • After attempting or completing the task, use your thumb to again massage the stop area, praising the dog for allowing you to complete this task.

Safe & Gentle Handling
Any work which the groomer must complete around the eyes must be done with the utmost caution, to avoid injuring the dog's eyes. The groomer should always be ready for a response from the dog to the groomer's actions, and must always take care when utilizing scissors or any other sharp instrument which might injure the dog. The dog's head should be secured for work on the eyes, and if the breed has a beard or other facial hair which allows the groomer to further secure the dog's head, that should be utilized.


Pets with Special Needs
Dogs that have continuous eye drainage become very head shy because of the skin irritation, therefore, the cleaning of the eye area can be accomplished during any phase. Dogs with severe eye drainage should come in often to have the eye area cleaned and the hair trimmed between regular groomings.


Salon First Aid
If the eye is injured in any way during these procedures, take the dog to the veterinarian immediately and notify the pet family.


Professional Image
When applying technical skills around the head area your overall professional image will be evaluated by the pet family on how you secure the head of the pet during this task.


Safety Policy
Never secure a brachycephalic breed by holding the head and/or neck in any way that pulls the skin on the topskull back, creating a situation which may cause the eyeballs to prolapse (pop out of the shallow eye socket).


Time Management
The most efficient method to remove hair from around the corner of the eyes and the stop area is utilizing clippers and a #10, #15 or a #40 blade.


Client Relations: Notification to the Pet Family
Notify the pet family if the skin is irritated after removing any matted coat or crusted eye drainage.


Client Relations: Recommendation to the Pet Family
Dogs that have long coat around the eye area and severe eye drainage should make more frequent appointments or come in between their regular scheduled appointments to assist in maintaining the eye, to prevent the area from getting so matted and the skin area irritated. Dogs that have continuous eye drainage become very head shy because of the skin irritation, therefore, the cleaning of the eye area can be a challenge if the dog is not a timely schedule.


Client Relations: Pet Family Education
It is important for the pet family to understand their options when it comes to trimming the coat around the eye area on long and flowing coat types. They must realize that once the hair is trimmed in the corner of the eyes or across the stop area, it must be trimmed on a regular schedule to prevent the short hair from growing and scratching the eyes especially in the corner of the eye area. Alternatives to maintaining this long coat is pulling the hair into a pony tail and securing it with rubber bands. Many pet families begin with this procedure but find out after a few months that it is very difficult to keep this pony tail looking neat and tidy and then opt to have it trimmed creating a visor, topknot or eyebrows to maintain the length. Then of course you have the pet families that may keep the entire dog short all over except for the longer coat that forms this special pony tail because it is something that they enjoy maintaining and feel that it creates a bonding between them and their pet.

Excessive tearing can be due to diet, environment, eye disorder or long hair growing into the corner of the eye. If their pet has excessive tearing, recommend that the family seek the advice of their veterinarian.
Pet Grooming Training