How To Groom Your AKITA
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The Akita – clean Housedog or Shedding Nightmare? The regal Japanese guardian is an absolutely fascinating breed – immensely intelligent and devoted to its owners. However, this large protector comes with a very rich coat. Thick and plush, the Akita’s double-coat resembles the Alaskan Malamute’s and the Siberian Husky’s luxurious fur. This kind of coat has been designed to keep all of these dog breeds warm in the unforgiving climates of Alaska, Siberia – and, in the Akita’s case, in the mountains of Northern Japan: This is where Akitas used to work as fearless hunting dogs for large game. One thing the Japanese Bear dog’s thick coats have not been designed for is easy grooming. However – equipped with the right tools, you can absolutely succeed in managing your Akita’s plush fur! Contrary to other breeds, rather than shedding, Akitas blow their coats. That means twice a year, they lose their complete undercoat, pretty much in one go. And when they, do, you better be equipped with a Furminator and undercoat rake to remove the dead hairs before they end up all over you floor in large clumps. Apart from these times, Akitas hardly shed. They also come with an almost cat-like way of cleaning themselves. Thankfully, outside of shedding season, Akitas only require two to three brushes per week. But brushing them regularly is important to prevent mats from forming in their thick fur – especially in the neck-area. The best tool to use for these regular grooming sessions with your Akita is a pin brush and a steel comb with wide-set teeth. If mats develop in your dog’s thick undercoat, use your trusted steel comb to gently work them loose. To prevent dead hairs from getting on your clothes during grooming, spray your Akita’s fur with water from a spray bottle before you start combing and brushing them. Should I Bathe my Akita? As the dignified Akita is a clean dog by nature who tends to lick itself like a cat would, they hardly even get seriously dirty: Their thick coat is a blessing in that it acts as a natural dirt-repellent. However, it your Akita has rolled around in mud – or in something smelly -, bathing them might be the way forward. For this, use a mild dog shampoo, and possible follow it up with a conditioner to give your Japanese Bear dog’s coat an extra shine. As the Akita's thick fur tends to absorb lots of soap, take your time to rinse them before drying them off. A hair dryer for dogs is recommended if you live in a colder climate and you bathe them during winter, as their plush double-coats take lots of time to air-dry. What about my Akita’s Nails, Ears and Teeth? Because of the shape of their erect ears, Akitas are not as prone to ear infections as floppy-eared dog breeds. Nevertheless, you want to check your Akita’s ears weekly for any residue or build-up. If there is any visible dirt in the ears, clean them with cotton wool and a mild ear cleaner for dogs. Whilst any dog breed can develop cavities in their teeth, the Akita is less prone to tooth decay than small-sized dogs. The most common area to check for cavities is right on the surface of your dog’s molars, but also between their teeth. And to avoid their nails getting too long and making scratch marks on your floors, use either a nail clipper for dogs or a nail grinder. If you go with the nail clipper, make sure to only cut off small pieces at a time. Otherwise you might cause your dog pain. If in doubt, ask your vet to cut your Akita’s claws for you. And this wraps up our discussion of the mighty Japanese Bear dog’s grooming requirements. As we saw, with the right tools, keeping these amazingly smart and cat-like dogs clean and tidy is very easy. With early training and socialization, Akitas can make superb house dogs and family guardians.