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Are there any natural shampoos and/or conditioner that actually do prevent matting? The ones we have tried do not work..they just make him softer.
 

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Bichons (like their poodle cousin) are high maintinance! An every day brush out followed by a comb out to check for mats is necessary. Correct brushing, getting down to the skin is called 'line brushing' YouTube has some videos on how to do that. If the coat is longer than 1 inch it is really necessary! Pay special attention to under the legs, behind the ears, and the back of the neck. Once you get it right it only take 5mins & you can do it while watching TV.......it is also a good time for bonding!
Other than that, a short 'sporting clip' is rec!
As you can see, my Molly is a very 'must be brushed' dog! I use a pin brush then check for mats with a metal comb. You can use a slicker brush on a short coat but you should still 'check' for mats with a comb.
Mats should be worked out from the top of the hair shaft gently if they are not bad and sprayed with a detangler to help work the tangle out ......
you should never bathe/wet a completely matted dog as it makes the matts tighter ! Matts are bad news!!!!
 
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Samantha is a poodle/bischon mix, and I can tell you, she needs daily brushing to prevent matting, as well as she is professionally groomed every month. They don't shed, which is great, but they are high maintenance.
 

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Growing up, we had a bichon, lhasa apso mix and we didn't use any special shampoos. Pretty sure just regular brushing is what those dogs need. Short haircuts can help too.
 

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you should never bathe/wet a completely matted dog as it makes the matts tighter ! Matts are bad news!!!!
Seconding this! Make sure that if you are bathing him at home, you get any mats out first. Talk to your groomer as well, they may have a product recommendation, or may allow you to bring him in to get a mat here or there clipped out if you run into something you can't brush out between groomings. Other then that, just daily brushing, and you can keep him shorter if you want to avoid the maintenance. I always joke that if I had a "hair" breed, it would be kept naked year round :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
He's actually a ShihTzu-Bichon mix but even his Groomer said he has the fur of a Bichon. We actually just clip/shave spots at home and every few months or so he gets a complete shave down from the groomer..especially in the summer. We try to keep that area under the legs shaved down.

I actually find the bathing helps with the mats because it makes the fur stick together more and separate which makes it much easier to just chop right off while it's wet. Maybe because it's the start of the clumping stage and not a full blown mess. Maybe that's with the help of the shampoo and conditioner. I've researched those which is why I gave it a try and some people swore the conditioners helped prevent the matting by keeping it smooth. I'm not finding it to make a difference either way..but since my other dog has super sensitive skin when it comes to shampoos..I'm sticking with the Earth Bath brand mostly for him.

Those pin brushes really seem to prick his skin even with trying to keep it away..I feel bad using them.

Do you Bichon owners also have a problem with itching? He does not have parasites, it is not food related nor chemical related. It's not even anything outside since he's indoor trained and in the winter went weeks without being outside and there was no change.
 

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He's actually a ShihTzu-Bichon mix but even his Groomer said he has the fur of a Bichon. We actually just clip/shave spots at home and every few months or so he gets a complete shave down from the groomer..especially in the summer. We try to keep that area under the legs shaved down.

I actually find the bathing helps with the mats because it makes the fur stick together more and separate which makes it much easier to just chop right off while it's wet. Maybe because it's the start of the clumping stage and not a full blown mess. Maybe that's with the help of the shampoo and conditioner. I've researched those which is why I gave it a try and some people swore the conditioners helped prevent the matting by keeping it smooth. I'm not finding it to make a difference either way..but since my other dog has super sensitive skin when it comes to shampoos..I'm sticking with the Earth Bath brand mostly for him.

Those pin brushes really seem to prick his skin even with trying to keep it away..I feel bad using them.

Do you Bichon owners also have a problem with itching? He does not have parasites, it is not food related nor chemical related. It's not even anything outside since he's indoor trained and in the winter went weeks without being outside and there was no change.
Yes to the question of itching, poodles and bichons both tend to have dry itchy skin. I give Samantha an omega 3 supplement in her food daily, but sometimes that is not enough. Right now, the Vet just started her on a low dose of benzamine (12.5mg) twice a day. I'm only giving her a single does daily, and it does seem to be helping.
 

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I have some Shih Tzu x Maltese and I usually end up clipping them down short when they are about 7-8 months old as they seem to matt really badly when they are starting to get their adult coat. When it grows back in it does not matt as easily but I still keep them clipped short most of the year. When I got my Doberman, I thought good, I finally have a dog I do not have to clip. I still have Susie, my Bernese cross and she is an endless grooming job all year round.
 

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I've owned my salon for over 18 years, and have groomed Bichons for all of them. I found that a quality shampoo and conditioner do wonders prepping. I don't bother combing them first, I get them in the tub and get them good and conditioned before brushing.

Shampoo and conditioner won't prevent tangles for long. It can help but daily brushing for the life of the dog is what you can plan on if you own a Bichon. You could also choose a short hair cut and then you would mostly focus on keeping head/ears/tail in good shape.
 
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