This is Leo after he walked for just a second into a patch of burdock. The burs didn’t just stick to his hair, they burrowed right in his face, chest and ears. I picked off as many as I could right away. Before I did, his ears were stuck to the top of his head.
Having a poodle, I can easily believe the commercial with the man saying he came up with the idea for velcro thanks to his sheepdog who liked to run through the woods.
If you get a Poodle, get used to dealing with burs and plant life of all kinds embedded in his or her hair. Even Charlie, a terrier with long silky hair, attracts burs like a magnet. But they’re a bit easier to brush out because his hair is less dense than Poodle hair.
Best tip for dealing with your fine-haired dog: cultivate a groomer as your new best friend so you can call them when you have a grooming emergency. Last night, trying to get the mess out of Leo’s ears and head, I fervently wished my nieces who are groomers in Red Deer lived nearer me.
But I persevered with brush and scissors and finally Leo returned to normal appearance, albeit with shorter ears. He had a row of burs firmly wound around the bottom of one ear. There was no choice but to carefully cut off burs and hair. Then I had to trim the other ear so it matched.
I find a small slicker brush the best. But even that can’t get into full burs knotted into hair.* I carefully cut into the centre of those with blunt-nosed scissors. Cut with the hair, not across it. That opens up the bur so it will more easily brush out but avoids cut lines. Use a comb to take the accumulated bur bits and hair out of the brush. With a poodle, when most of the burs are out, brush backwards to get the small bits out and fluff the hair up.
I have been told baby oil on the bur softens it and makes it easy to brush out. I tried it with my German Shepherd and found it no easier and just made his hair and my hands greasy.
Even after the burs are gone, I brush and brush to get every trace out. If I don’t, and if they can, the dogs will lick at the irritating bit trying to get rid of it. In doing that, they can lick right down to the skin and cause hot spots of inflamed skin. Gold Bond medicated powder is a godsend, especially for Leo. His pouffy hair makes it difficult to put ointment directly on the skin. The powder goes through the hair to the skin and dries it up. He doesn’t like the taste so doesn’t lick it a lot. Their groomer at Pampered Pooch in St. Thomas told me to try it when Leo had a really bad spot that we feared would need veterinary attention. Within a week, it was better.
Best Tool Ever
*Since I first posted this (Jan. 7/12 St. Thomas Dog Blog), I’ve found the best tool ever. A hair rake for double-coated dogs breaks up a burdock and pulls it out of dogs’ hair and horses’ manes and tails easily.