Burrs. The bane of the bird dogs existence. I just got back from doing some scouting for Grouse and man were there a lot of burrs today. Some varieties I have never even seen. But they were a sharp burrowing seed and I could see how they could easily cause an abscess left unchecked.
As a dog owner, particularly of a French Brittany, dealing with burrs can be an all too familiar experience. These pesky plant seeds can cause discomfort and even harm to your pet if not properly addressed. This article aims to provide you with effective strategies to prevent burrs from sticking to your French Brittany’s fur and how to safely remove them.
What are Burrs and Why Should You Care?
Burrs are seed pods that have teeth or hooks, designed to grab onto hair or clothing. They are essentially a clingy vehicle that plants use to spread their seed pods far and wide. For your French Brittany, these burrs can get tangled in their coat, causing discomfort, skin irritation, and even leading to infections if left untreated. The dense coat of the French Brittany makes them particularly susceptible to burrs.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
When taking your French Brittany for walks or hunting trips, try to avoid areas known for having a lot of burrs. This might mean steering clear of tall grasses and underbrush where these plants typically grow.
Some people like to shave their dogs. Please do not do this. It leaves them less able to deal with temperature extremes. Heat and cold. Yep thats right they are more susceptible to heat not less. Their coat protects them from sunburn and harmful UV rays. Their body temperature will actually be higher not lower if you shave them down.
Consider investing in a protective vest and boots for your dog. These products cover the majority of your dog’s body, preventing burrs from attaching themselves to your dog’s fur. We also want to protect their feet from extreme temperatures, seeds and foxtails burrowing in between their toes, cactus spines, sharp rocks and other hazards.
But there are two products I love to use with my dogs before heading into the field. If you take the time to spray your dog down at the truck before heading out with either Natures Miracle Detangler spray, or my very favorite a product for horses called “ShowSheen” the burrs literally don’t stick, and the very few that do fall right off with little effort. I promise this is way better for you and your dog than trimming their hair or other extreme ideas.
Regular grooming is crucial for a French Brittany. Brushing your dog’s coat daily helps to keep it clean and free of tangles, making it harder for burrs to stick. Use a slicker brush or a de-matting comb such as the FURminator De-Matting Tool, which are especially designed to handle the Brittany’s dense coat.
Despite your best efforts, your French Brittany may still end up with a few burrs. Here’s how to safely remove them:
- Manual Removal: Use gloves to protect your hands and gently pull out the burr. If it’s deeply entangled, try to loosen it by applying vegetable oil or a commercial detangler like Cowboy Magic Detangler & Shine. Mineral oil also works, and if you forgot to spray them down before leaving the truck, spraying them now and letting that dry will still make the job so much easier.
- Scissors or Clippers: If the burr cannot be removed manually, carefully cut it out using scissors or clippers. Be very careful not to cut your dog’s skin.
- Give them a bath and use a conditioner. Let it soak in before rinsing. The water and shampoo from the bath will help soften the burrs and make them less likely to begin burrowing in deep.
Maintaining a Healthy Coat
Aside from regular grooming, feeding your dog a balanced diet contributes to a healthy coat. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, like fish or flaxseed, can help maintain the health and vibrancy of your French Brittany’s coat.
In conclusion, while burrs can be a nuisance, they don’t have to spoil your outdoor adventures with your French Brittany. By taking preventative measures, regularly grooming your dog, and knowing how to safely remove burrs, you can ensure that your pet stays happy, healthy, and burr-free.