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Best tools for grooming castrated coat conditions!

I wonder if someone could please tell me what the best tools are in terms of combs /brushes etc for general grooming on my 6 month post castrated Reuben. I do comb him regularly but need to invest in another tool I think.

Thank you

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Thanks Lesley, I wasn't aware the evening primrose for us couldn't be used for the setters. Yes your right, it's s big job but one luckily I enjoy, If there's anything else you can suggest, I'd much apreciate it.
It does seem I have a lot of grooming bits and pieces Rhonda, I've got the gear but not a lot of knowledge! I practice on poor Flame but he always looks lovely when I finish...... No more Hairy Maclary from Donaldsons Dairy :)) lol.
Lucky Louise you have ES, I wish I had known about this site, I'm sure I would of not spent money on grooming places that told me they knew what they were doing. One time I picked flame up from a grooming salon and they had shaved all of his feathers off and gave him a baboon rear end. I cried and realised then I needed to do the best I could myself. Someone different had groomed him :( All the best, let me know how you go we can compare notes :)) Dianne and Irish.

I organised a grooming day for the Irish Setter Club of Vic a few years ago with Nicky Renwood's grooming school. My breeder friend and I had a great time. Nicky covered some points of how to groom to the breed standard. Marie had her boy who has European English mix, thick coat and waves with a solid dog. Kerry has a dead straight coat with a light body frame. We were able to groom with 2 different approaches at the same time and see what differenent techniques could be used. Marie is a dog groomer and bred my boys mum. It is wonderful when your breeder is able to help you learn to groom. Especially feet!

The Mars tool is wonderful. I did buy a Furminator but I don't like the straight rake on it. The Mars tool being angled back around it much safer against their skin.

I am replying to Rhonda's and the other members' comments about the Mars Coat King. Even though I was accused of making absurd statements and degrading exhibitors, etc. in my grooming forum topic, which was not about general grooming anyway, I have to agree that the Mars Coat King is an excellent grooming tool for English Setters irrespective of whether or not they have been neutered/desexed. Contrary to what has been said, this tool does not cut the new growth. This tool only removes the undercoat. I purchased my Mars Coat King in 2004 and the blade has never been sharpened.

My English Setter, Misty had not been groomed very often before she came to live with me. When I first used the Mars Coat King, this removed a lot of Misty's undercoat. I used this tool several times a week. Now I would be lucky to use this tool every fortnight and very little undercoat is removed. Removing the undercoat also helps my English Setters cope better with the heat and humidity. Nicky Renwood is the Master Groomer I referred to in my forum topic. Nicky agreed with my use of the Mars Coat King for general grooming.

I also agree that regular grooming makes all the difference. I try to brush/comb my English Setters every day. I mark on the calendar when they are due for a complete grooming and I try to do this every 6 weeks. I purchased a special type of comb many years ago which is designed to gently remove knots. I believe a natural diet helps maintain a healthy coat. I have always purchased shampoos and conditioners that only contain natural ingredients. I used an organic product for many years. Everyone we meet on our walks compliments me on Misty's soft and silky coat. Hobson's coat is now improving despite his serious health problems. I believe a new shampoo and balm I am using specifically for skin problems which only contains natural ingredients is helping Hobson's coat to recover.

I don't have the castrated coat issue, Seamus is intact, but I'm still not very experienced at grooming. We do get some matting if I slack off at all on the grooming. And he is tough to groom, even on the table. He won't stand still and manuevers his but away from me. that is where he tends to mat, in the thick hair on the back of his legs. Plus behind his ears.

Can I use the Mars Coat King on those mats to break up without cutting them out and to get him back to his silky self? (not behind the ears, just his rear end)

What blade number or numbers do I need to get? Also, has anyone tried the ones from Pet Edge in the US? I think their Master Grooming Tools version is new... but much cheaper. The Mars Coat King vanished from their website, but the latest catalog had them and these Pet Edge versions also. The Mars versions run from $34-$57, and have a lot more options in blades... but the Pet Edge ones are from $18 to $26 with only 4 blade options. Any advice would be much appreciated! The specifications for the Pet Edge product don't mention breed recommendations:


He does have some dead hair on the top of his head and the outside of his back legs... this is on top, not undercoat. I'm guessing the pumice stone there? I don't know how to use a stripping knife.

I've also seen recommendations for grooming sprays... any guidance on those available in US? The local pet store has some, but they seem to have wheat and corn in the ingredients, so avoiding. Some have silicone, but not sure if that is ok for dogs.

He's on a raw diet now and trying to be careful with what he gets exposed to... and if it is on his fur, he'll ingest the residue! If it is something that Pet Edge has, that would be ideal as I'm going to place an order shortly.

Looking to get a taller arm, the one I have is only 36". He is not tall male, but this one seems too short to control him since he doesn't like getting groomed, I'm hoping the 48" will help. What height grooming arms to people with tables tend to use?

Pet Edge also has a 48" one that goes across the top and attaches on both ends of the table. I'm thinking that might stop his ability to move. Also saw a double noose that goes around neck and hindquarters. If I can just keep him still, I see success in our grooming future ;-)

Any and all advice around grooming is very welcome. Sorry for all the newbie questions... but hopefully they will help others too!


Leslie and Seamus... and hello to my "cousin" Lesley below ;-)

Dear Leslie

I have never received training to become a groomer. Also a pet owner who grooms their dogs every 6 to 8 weeks cannot possibly gain the skills of a groomer in a business who grooms dogs every day. I have had 10+ years experience using clippers and trying various grooming tools to groom my English Setters. This is only my opinion and others may disagree with me. I would not use the Mars Coat King to break up the matting behind your boy's ears and the back of his legs. English Setters tend to develop knots underneath their armpits and depending on the amount of coat, they can develop knots inside their back legs. I cannot remember the name of the 2 tools I purchased many years ago. I use a specific type of comb which will pull out a knot without breaking the coat. I have another tool if the knot has matted too much which breaks up the knot more than the comb. As you would be aware, you need to take it slowly with knots. I believe it is important to keep the area underneath the ears clean for an English Setter. I use scissors and a clipper to do this. I am certain the grooming supplies place could recommend suitable products for these areas (I have not checked your link yet). Re the # of the Mars Coat King, there should be one specifically for an Irish Setter.

Re the dead hair on the top of Seamus's head and the outside of his back legs, do you brush and comb him daily? I brush my English Setters first (don't do this with Hobson at the moment because his coat is only starting to grow back). Then I go over their bodies with the comb which does not pull the hair and will break up knots if not too matted. Doing this seems to leave their coats silky and shiny. I bath my dogs regularly too but I use products with natural ingredients.

Also, you could try brushing/combing Seamus on the ground without tying him up on the grooming table. If you can settle Seamus down he will be easier to groom for you. The sight of a hair brush made my English Setter, Rose throw herself into the corner of the room when she first came to live with me. She obviously had had some horrific grooming experiences. I never restrain my English Setters on a grooming table anyway but by taking things slowly, a little at a time, I convinced Rose that no harm was going to come to her and she was not going to be hurt. 

I hope this information helps you and Seamus.

Best wishes from Susan

I've got a comb (I think it's a Mikkis), that has two different length of teeth that revolve and it's brilliant for getting knots out without tearing the hair.  Both of my dogs will get mats behind the elbows and it's ideal for this.  If it's really bad, I will also plaster the knot with conditioner as this helps the comb to go through the hair.  Start at the bottom and then work up the hair shaft. 

Hi Lesley,

I'll look for Mikkis or rotating teeth! Do you use human conditioner or dog conditioner to aid in combing?



Hi Susan,

I wasn't going to use the coat king on his ears, too delicate. Your comb sounds like a winner, I have a plain metal comb which I do use on him, along with brushes and rakes, but if you have one that is more effective, can you describe it or perhaps post a picture so I know what to look for?

Seamus hasn't  had a bad grooming experience, he just is rarely still. I tried grooming him without the table and it didn't work for me. My last setter would just stand and enjoyed it, Seamus not so much ;-)


Hi Susan,

I'm still curious about the comb you like. Is it one of the ones with rotating teeth? After trying one out, I'm hooked on that, but open to other options too. Also the mat breaker, is there a brand on them or can you describe how they work? I like gadgets, so don't want to miss out on a useful one!


Hi Leslie

I did not know you'd asked me these questions. I do not receive emails from ES re discussions. I cannot remember the names of the 2 combs I use but I'll take photos either this evening or tomorrow morning and I'll add the photos for you to see.


Hi Leslie (and Louise)

I did not notice until I took the photos this morning that my very useful comb is called The Untangler and it is made in the USA. This is what it looks like:

The teeth are varying lengths and wider than most combs, and the tips of the teeth are rounded. This is the best comb I have used and if the knot is small, the comb will easily remove it. Also, the comb does not pull the coat and hurt your dog. I will give you an example of another comb:

I'd forgotten I had this comb. It is a good quality Hindes comb. I have not used this comb since my English Setter, Beau was stolen in 2003. I purchased this comb from a registered English Setter breeder who had a grooming salon at the time who recommended I use this comb to groom Beau. I was showing Beau at the time. I tried this comb on Misty this morning and it pulled the coat which is probably another reason why I stopped using it. There is quite a lot of difference in the design of the 2 combs. I would not recommend the Hindes comb for grooming.

This is a photo of a tool I use if the knot has become bigger and has reached the matted stage:

I believe the brand of this tool is Kramer. I do not use this tool as a comb. I use the ends of the teeth to break up the knot and then I use the Untangler to comb out the parts of the knot. The sides of the teeth are sharp and corrugated.

I hope this helps. I know this is easier said than done but if you can brush and comb daily you can pick up the knots before they become larger and matted. I try to walk my English Setters daily (impossible at the moment with the terrible weather we are experiencing) and I brush and comb their coats before every walk. Even without the bad weather, some days I run out of time because of work. As we all know, it does not take long for a small knot to end up larger and matted, particularly around the hind legs. I have found this little blue comb to be a gem. I hope it is still available in Australia.



My comb with rotating teeth is a Ferplast and I find it very useful.  I hope it helps.    




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