of Your Tibetan Mastiff
© Audrey Lee 2008. Not to be reprinted
without express permission
The following article is courtesy of Audrey
Audrey Lee is a professional groomer of almost 30 years. She has
Tibetan Mastiffs for maintenance and for the show ring for over
From the Dachshund to the Poodle to the Tibetan Mastiff, all breeds
and mixed breeds benefit from regular grooming as it helps to ensure
that your pet is looking and feeling his best. Yet, more often
than not, if a dog appears clean and doesn’t smell, owners
will frequently bypass regular brushing and bathing. Many people
do not realize that regular grooming is essential to the overall
health and well-being of their pet.
Why Routine Grooming is Important
For longer haired breeds in particular, a good and thorough brushing
keeps the coat and skin in good shape. While it stimulates the
oil glands and keeps the coat shiny, a regular brushing also cuts
down on further problems as the skin underneath has less chance
of becoming irritated.
A dog’s coat needs to be matt free and this is particularly
essential for the double-coated dogs. Brushing encourages fur separation.
A thick clumpy coat does not allow warm air to circulate next to
the skin so a dog that is not routinely brushed has a harder time
keeping himself warm. This problem can be made worse should the
coat become wet during the winter season. It is as if a sopping
cold blanket is thrown over the dog and that means that it can
take days for the coat to dry out completely. In the summer time,
this same matted coat can be compared to a hot sweltering blanket.
With each scenario, the skin underneath can become unhealthy, and
it is the easiest way for your dog to develop hot spots, yeast,
bacterial or fungal infections.
Fleas and Ticks
A TM is also much more difficult to treat for fleas and ticks
if regular grooming is not part of your dog’s weekly routine.
Nasty fleas and ticks can hide better on your pet’s matted
coat and topical solutions aren’t able to reach down to kill
them. This can lead to further skin problems such as flea dermatitis.
In addition, intense scratching from fleas can lead to secondary
Oftentimes I am asked how frequently a Tibetan Mastiff should
be groomed. The answer varies. It depends on what type of environment
your dog lives in. Is it winter and is your Tibetan Mastiff in
full coat? Is it spring and is your TM blowing coat? It also depends
on your dog's coat type and how often he gets himself dirty from
digging, rolling around on the ground and if he is regularly out
in inclement weather.
Getting Into a Regular Routine
Your TM should be brushed weekly at the very least to remove any
loose hair and to help separate the coat. A clumped coat can neither
protect against the cold nor can it help keep a TM cool when the
temperatures are warm. Of course, Mother Nature provides air-conditioning,
when your TM "blows" his coat in the spring and it is a very efficient
way to help keep your dog cooler in the warmer months.
Preparing To Bathe Your Tibetan Mastiff
If you have a grooming table, great! Remember that bending over
while trying to groom your dog can make for a backbreaking task
so try to use a surface that is waist level and secure, or have
someone hold the leash while you groom your dog. Don't forget to
have some treats handy to reward your dog. Most TMs come to love
brushing when you combine praise, treats and time spent with their
You should always thoroughly brush out your TM before bathing.
This prepares the coat so that water, shampoo and conditioner can
reach the skin easier.
There are many different brand names of grooming tools. I will
list what I use. You may find a comparable tool in another brand
that works just as well.
A slicker brush is an invaluable
tool for any TM owner. It is the initial tool to use when first
brushing your TM. It helps to loosen any dead hair and removes
any loose dirt.
How to Brush Out a Tibetan Mastiff Coat
Start at the lower side and give a few strokes, holding the coat
above where you are brushing and letting a bit more fall down as
you go. Move up a bit at a time, until you have brushed the whole
dog. This method is easier than just diving in and you will do
a more thorough job. Once your TM is brushed out, you can brush
from head to tail. Make note of any knots you encounter to remove
with the de-matting tools after brushing.
Except for the backs of the legs and the tails, a slicker brush
can be used in any direction. When you get to the tail, start at
the underside, brushing a small portion of the tail at a time,
working your way down the tail, until the tail is done. For the
furry back of the rear legs (britches), start at the bottom and
holding the coat above it, brush a small section at a time, until
you are at the top of the leg.
Follow the brushing on the long hair with combing the
same areas to make sure they are tangle free .
For Knots and Tangles
If you encounter knots/tangles there are different tools available
to remove them. Use caution when using these tools! Used incorrectly,
you can cut or injure your dog. For most TMs that are regularly
groomed/brushed, the only places a TM will get knots or tangles
are behind the ears, the tail and the britches.
NEVER USE SCISSORS TO REMOVE ANY KNOTS!!! YOU
CAN EASILY MISTAKE SKIN FOR HAIR AND CUT YOUR DOG!!!!!
Always start at the edge of the knot and work inward when dealing
with trouble spots. Don't try to grasp the whole knot all at once
with the de-matting tool. It is safer, easier and much less painful
to get out the knot a little bit at a time.
Two tools that I use and recommend are:
I use this Matbreaker tool for small areas, such as knots behind
the ears. It can be used by right or left handed people by turning
the blades. Get a couple of the teeth under a small part of the
knot and twist your wrist slightly. You may have to give a slight
pull. Always twist and pull away from
the dog to allow the teeth to loosen and cut the knot. Not recommended
for use on the body, as it can damage top coat/guard hair.
Pet Grooming Rake-Coarse 18 Teeth
The Oster Pet Grooming Rakes are a must have for a TM owner! This
is an easy-to-use, comfortable, tool for removing knots or undercoat
and it won't damage the guard hair. These rakes come in several
different sizes and teeth count. I like the Coarse Wide 18 Teeth
tool for TM's. To remove knots from the britches or tail with the
Oster Rake, use the edge of the rake's teeth to grasp a knot. Again,
don't try to remove the whole knot at once. Starting at the edge
of the knot, hook a few teeth and give a down and out ward pull.
Always pull away from the dog. The teeth will loosen and break
up the knot.
Follow up with a slicker and a comb to make sure all of the knots
are out. Another quick, once-over with a slicker and you now have
a fully brushed out TM!!!
Cleaning the ears can be done quickly and easily. There are many
commercial ear cleaners on the market that can be used but you
can make up your own quite easily. I use a solution of = measurement
of white vinegar to = measurement of water. I mix and store it
in a recycled dish liquid bottle with a squirt top. It is thorough
and economical. Both ear cleaners are used the same way. Pour in
the ear liberally, massage the ear and let your dog shake. Use
a cotton ball to clean out the ear. The small nooks and crannies
may need a q-tip to get clean. Repeat as necessary. Caution: NEVER
insert the q-tip or attempt to clean the ear farther that you can
see easily. If you notice redness, irritation, discharge, extra
dark earwax, or a foul odor, seek veterinary treatment.
Nails should be checked for length at every grooming session.
How do you know when they are too long? If they are touching the
ground, they are too long. When nails become too long, they can
cause a dog to be sore footed. Make sure to check the dew-claws
too. They are the extra-nails on the sides of the front legs. Some
TMs have rear dew-claws as well. Dew-claws never have any wear,
since they don't touch the ground. Left unchecked, they can become
quite long and can even curl and grow back into the skin, a very
I prefer the plier's type nail clippers for
adult TM's. They do the job quickly and efficiently and they are
strong enough to cut tough nails.
The scissor type is easier to handle
for small nails on pups.
It is commonly known that most TMs do not like to have their paws
handled. It is best to start nail-trimming sessions while they
are still young so that puppies can become accustomed to the procedure.
If your dog should struggle, however, enlist assistance. Have your
assistant distract the dog with some delectable goodies. This will
make it a pleasant experience and well worth a few treats for a
well behaved dog. In time, they come to associate getting their
nails cut with goodies and will behave for it.
How to Trim/Cut Nails
To cut the nail, hold the paw firmly. Remember, all cuts should
be done by quickly squeezing the pliers together. Never squeeze
the handles slowly. This squeezes the nail and is very uncomfortable
to your dog. Take the tip off to begin with. Examine the nail.
Black nails will be dark in the "safe" area. As you clip them look
at the end of the nail for a lightening of color in the nail. As
it lightens, it will expose a "bulls-eye." This bulls-eye indicates
that the quick (a vein in the nail) is close. Stop when you see
the bulls-eye. After some practice, you will begin to be able to
tell where to clip to.
For longer nails, the quick may be closer to the end of the nail,
as the quick grows out as the nail lengthens. In this case, trim
weekly to get the nail back to a shorter length.
For puppy nails, use the trimmer to take off just the tips.
Cutting a Nail Too Short
Most people feel uncomfortable at the thought of cutting a nail
too short to expose the quick. Should you cut a nail too short,
don't panic! A bleeding nail can make a mess, and look like a massacre,
but, truly, it is not!
Purchase some nail stop powder, often called Quik Stop with your
nail clippers. A small container lasts a long time. It is a styptic
powder that will stop the bleeding instantly on a nail. Apply a
small pinch to the end of the nail a rub it in slightly. You may
need to reapply. A styptic pencil, like men use for shaving, may
Congratulations on completing a full brush-out and grooming of
your Tibetan Mastiff! You are now ready to bathe your Tibetan Mastiff!!!
Other Helpful Articles About the Breed
Top of Document