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What Is a Stripping Comb?

By T. M. Robertson
Updated May 21, 2024
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A stripping comb is a specialized type of comb used for removing thick undercoats and unruly hairs on animals. They are primarily used on dogs and horses, but can also be used on a variety of other animals that need grooming. Two styles of stripping combs are available on the market. One style is often referred to as a stripping knife because it has a flat comb on the end of a straight handle that resembles the shape of a knife. Another style is typically called a shedding rake because it resembles a miniature rake.

To use the knife-styled stripping comb on a dog, one must comb the hair close to its roots to get each hair in between the teeth. The hair is then held in place with the thumb and gently pulled out in the same direction it's growing. This technique can be can be used to remove thick undercoats, or the long, unruly outer coats on wire-haired dog breeds such as terriers and schnauzers. It's common practice for dog groomers to use stripping combs on show dogs before an event.

The shedding rake-styled stripping comb is the more common of the two types used by the average consumer at home. It works best on dogs that have a double coat, meaning the dog has a thicker coat in the winter and a thinner coat in the summer. During the transitional shedding period, the shedding rake is used to help get rid of the winter coat faster. To use this type of stripping comb, one must simply hold the rake by the handle and brush the dog in the direction of its hair growth. A few examples of dogs with a double coat are golden retrievers, huskies, and malamutes.

With horses, either style of stripping comb can be used to groom the body, mane, or tail. The shedding rake will be more beneficial in grooming the large body of a horse shedding its winter undercoat. A stripping knife can be used for the same purpose, but the process would take much longer due to its smaller size. Stripping knives work better for grooming and getting unruly manes and tails under control. Using these combs on horses is similar to using them on dogs; the rake should be rolled over the hair in the direction of hair growth, while with a stripping knife, unwanted hair can be removed one section at a time by gently pulling on it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a stripping comb used for?

A stripping comb is a specialized grooming tool designed for removing loose, dead undercoat hair from wire-haired or rough-coated dog breeds. It helps maintain the coat's natural texture and health by thinning out the fur without cutting it, which can be essential for breeds that require hand-stripping for their breed standards.

How does a stripping comb differ from regular dog brushes?

Unlike regular dog brushes that detangle and remove surface-level loose fur, a stripping comb works deeper by grabbing and pulling out the thick undercoat. It has sharp teeth set at a specific angle to efficiently strip the fur without harming the skin, which is crucial for maintaining the coat's hard texture in certain breeds.

Is using a stripping comb painful for the dog?

When used correctly, a stripping comb should not cause pain to the dog. It's important to use the tool gently and follow the natural direction of the hair growth. Skilled grooming with a stripping comb can be a comfortable process for the dog, akin to a massage, if done with care and patience.

How often should I use a stripping comb on my dog?

The frequency of using a stripping comb depends on the breed, coat type, and the rate of hair growth. Generally, for maintenance, stripping sessions can be done every 4-6 weeks. However, during seasonal shedding or for show preparation, more frequent grooming may be necessary to achieve the desired coat condition.

Can a stripping comb be used on all dog breeds?

No, a stripping comb is specifically designed for use on dogs with wiry, coarse coats that require hand-stripping, such as terriers and schnauzers. It is not suitable for dogs with fine or silky hair, as it can damage their coat and skin. Always consult a professional groomer to determine the right grooming tools for your dog's breed.

What should I look for when choosing a stripping comb?

When selecting a stripping comb, consider the comb's tooth spacing and length, which should be appropriate for your dog's coat type and length. Ergonomic handle design can provide comfort and control during grooming. Durability and quality of materials are also important to ensure the comb withstands regular use and maintains its effectiveness.

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Discussion Comments

By candyquilt — On Jan 14, 2015

@ZipLine-- Actually, a stripping comb can help with mats. I highly recommend this pet tool if you have dog breed that has an undercoat for the winter. If you've never used a stripping comb on your pet before, there is probably a lot of dead hair under the top coat that hasn't shed completely. Mats are also common for this reason.

So using a stripping comb can get rid of the dead hair and the mats they are causing. But do read customer reviews of stripping combs before buying one. Make sure that it's effective but also gentle. You don't want a comb that causes your dog discomfort or pain in the process.

By fify — On Jan 14, 2015

@ZipLine-- No, I don't think so. A stripping comb is not a typical pet brush. It's used to help remove the undercoat. To prevent tangles like you described, you need to brush your dog regularly. You can't use a stripping comb on a regular basis. It's just meant to be used when the dog starts shedding the undercoat. Like the article said, this comb speeds up the process and it can even be relieving for the pet. My dog particularly enjoys when I help him shed by using this comb.

By ZipLine — On Jan 13, 2015

I have a maltese with long hair. Sometimes her hair tangles and forms small tangles that are impossible to untangle. I usually end up cutting them. Would a stripping comb help with this issue?

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