3 Ways We Tackle Long Hair Dogs

3 ways we tackle long hair dogsBoth long and short haired dogs come with their own set of pro’s & con’s.  In my opinion short hair dogs are easier to keep clean – they can be washed on the lawn with the hose for instance, but I would consider that the bulk of their upkeep comes from the constant vacuuming of their fur – they malt heavily & it’s a huge / never ending job (that I’m not prepared to do).

Molly & Beans have long hair that doesn’t malt – so the only vacuuming I need to do for them is when the house gets scattered with ripped up bits of tissue paper (which they always manage to get their paws on!).  However, they do get dirty easily and need to be clipped regularly – which can add up to thousands of dollars.  So here are 3 ways to make caring for long haired dogs a little bit easier:

Homemade Dog Food

If you’ve ever noticed a light haired dog with staining around their mouths – it’s from food – and dark coloured dogs have it too, it’s just harder to see.  You might not always be able to see it but you can always smell it – the area can get really stinky between washes, especially if, like Molly & Beans they have a taste for fish!  I find the cheaper the dog food the nastier the smell that comes with it.  To combat this I make up my own homemade dog food (as above) which doesn’t leave a smell.  I do up a huge batch of whatever I have handy – reading the ingredients on dog food labels is a good indication of what to pop into the mix – I also add some gelatine at the end of cooking to give that jelly like gravy that they love.  I literally use up everything we have to put into it; veggies, left over rotisserie chicken, gravy beef or other meat I have in the freezer that is nearing it’s use by.  As Molly & Beans go nuts for canned fish dog food I wait until we are about to take them for a wash and give it to them the night before as a treat – that way they are only stinky for a day or two!
Clipper Investment

There are only two dogs in this photo (lol).  The two ‘fur’ dog shapes above is the amount of fur that comes off of Molly & Beans in a standard clip – which is about two inches all around (we leave it this long in the winter & much shorter in the summer).

At between $40 – $70 per dog to be groomed it was becoming too costly for us to take Molly & Beans for a clip, so we invested in a good pair of Wahl clippers (and take the dogs to our local vet, who offers free nail clipping, when needed).  We had Wahl 3 clippers to begin with, but recently upgraded to the latest Wahl 10 clippers – which are great.

It takes us about two hours to clip them, which has become quicker as we’ve had more practice, but clipping the dogs ourselves is a large job, if we’ve left it too long between clips we tend to do the job over two days, starting with clipping their legs and faces one day and the body the next.  It does become easier with practice.

We always give them a number 1 on the clip settings as it is easier – and because their fur grows so quickly – it made more sense to do it this way.  Keeping the dogs clean and brushed between clips also helps.
DIY Dog Wash

The cleaner the dogs are the easier they are to groom, but it also lets us leave it longer between clips – as their fur doesn’t matt as much when clean, this leaves us to do the mandatory ‘butts & faces’ clip in between the time consuming all over number 1.

We take them down to the DIY dog wash at our local Better Pets & Gardens every fortnight, it takes 10 minutes and costs $10, as we do both at once.  It’s so much easier taking them here rather than doing them in the laundry sink, the soap is able to penetrate their thick hair because it comes out of the hose with strong water pressure.  They have little settings you can click between just like at the car wash, and even have a hair dryer.  In comparison it takes us about 30 minutes to wash the dogs at home not including blow drying.  I don’t think that home washing gives as good a clean, plus it leaves the laundry stinking of wet dog.  I find it’s much easier to nip down to the DIY wash instead- we can be back home within 15 minutes – so there’s no excuse!

3 Ways to tackle long hair dogs


  • Emma-Louise Renton

    I love seeing the DIY dog wash by the beach! Some of the dogs look like their having a great time ha!

  • omglia

    Hi! Great blog! I found you through your Pinterest board, “travel,” and I’d like to be added as a contributor. My pinterest is http://pinterest.com/practicalw and blog is http://practicalwanderlust.com thank you so much!

    • Hello, thank you for your kind words – I’ll add you now! Happy Pinning xxx