Have you come home from a pleasant walk only to find burrs all over your pup’s luscious coat? Burrs are not only sticky and irritating, but they can cause painful matting. What a pain in the burr! This article examines how to easily get burrs out of dog fur so your pup can go back to looking and feeling their best in no time.
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First thing’s first – what are burrs anyway? Burrs are pretty interesting if you put aside how sticky and prickly they are. While incredibly inconvenient for us and our pets, they are very convenient for plants, as burrs are a vessel to move their seeds and promote the continuation of their species.
A burr, considered a diaspore, is a plant dispersal unit that consists of seeds or spores plus the prickly tissues that allow it to disperse. Burr is short for burdock and is part of the species of the Arctium genus.
Burrs are formed after their host plant develops purple flowers in its second year of life when burr seed heads are formed. They then hitch a ride like velcro to your dog, clothes, or other mammals to continue their species.
Can You Prevent Burrs in Dog Fur?
The short answer is no, not entirely. If they’re on your property, a commercial weed killer can work to eliminate plants that contain burrs. However, we strongly advise against this, as most weed killers are not only polluters to our environment, food, and water but also poisonous to animals and beneficial insects.
However, there is one thing you can do to prevent at least some burrs from attaching themself to your pup. If the weather permits, putting a jacket or a vest on your dog will help reduce their exposure to burrs. Dog booties will also prevent these prickly pests from sticking to your dog’s feet and in between their toes.
Your dog has come home covered in burrs, and you don’t know what to do. Before you convince yourself that painfully pulling at them or yanking them out with a brush is the only solution, let us take you through our six easy steps to gently removing burrs from dog hair.
Before removing them, locate all the burrs in your dog’s fur to see what you’re dealing with. Run your hands over your dog’s coat and look everywhere for any stuck burrs – inside their ears, between your dog’s toes, and even under their tail. Ensure you do not conduct your search for these prickly seed vessels with a brush, as brushing your dog’s fur can push the burrs deeper into it and into the skin.
2. Gently Pull Out Any Loose Burrs
If you’re lucky, several burrs in your dog’s fur will be loose and easy to pull out without hurting your furry friend. Take a burr between your thumb and forefinger and gently pull to see if it will come out easily. You may have to carefully detangle the fur around it to remove the burr kindly. These burrs will be the easiest to remove, as they are not stuck to your poor pup’s skin.
Helpful tip: Use cooking spray or a dog fur detangler to help detangle the fur.
3. Grab a Pair of Tweezers
For burrs that are not as easy to reach or attached to the skin (ouch!), try removing them with a pair of tweezers. If the burrs are embedded into the skin, then gently pulling at them with the tweezers may not be effective. In this case, very gently pinch the skin around the burr before removing it with the tweezers. Although this can help the burr come loose, it’s essential not to squeeze too hard.
4. Use a Metal Tooth Comb
This step may only be necessary if your pup has a longer coat, as using a metal tooth comb can help expose burrs that are hidden or have been pushed deeper into the dogs fur. By gently detangling the hair with the metal tooth comb instead of a brush, you can locate hidden burrs while ensuring they do not dig deeper into your dog’s skin.
5. Carefully Cut Out Matted Burrs or Have Your Dog Groomed
There will be some cases where brushing out a burr or removing it with tweezers may not be possible. To avoid hurting your dog, carefully cut out matted dog hair, ensuring you do not get the scissors too close to your dogs skin. If you feel uncomfortable cutting out burrs, a professional dog groomer will know the best techniques.
6. Bathe Your Dog & Check Again
Once you have followed the above steps and removed any visible burrs from your dog’s fur, follow up with a bath. Washing your dog with dog shampoo and conditioner (or a combo of the two) will help loosen and eliminate remaining stubborn burrs. Massage your dog’s coat and ensure all product traces are removed.
Once your pup’s coat is dry, give them one last brush with a metal tooth comb to ensure that every one of those prickly nuisances is gone!
It’s normal to panic after seeing your dog come in from outside with his fur full of burrs, especially if you have a long haired dog. With patience and extra care, you can remove all traces of these prickly pests from your dog’s fur without causing discomfort. Take your time and carefully go through your pup’s coat by following the steps above, and their luscious locks will be back to normal in no time.