Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Perfect Gift For Anyone With A Longhaired Dog: Millers Forge Adjustable Pet Comb!

The Good: Surprisingly durable, Variable settings are helpful, Easy-to-use, Relatively inexpensive.
The Bad: None that I have been able to find.
The Basics: The Millers Forge Adjustable 2-in-1 Pet Comb is an exceptionally resilient pet comb which makes cleaning and maintaining longhaired dogs a snap!

As my days of helping out at the pet store came to a timely and cheerful end around this time last year (yea!), I found myself happily contemplating some pet products that I have had a lot of experience with. Chief among these - so much so that it is actually surprising that it has taken this long for me to write about it - is the Millers Forge Adjustable 2-in-1 Pet Comb. This is a device that I used every day for the two months while I worked at the pet store and we've had the same Pet Comb (I am told) for over a year and a half! Right off the bat, this ought to indicate that this is a product that is ridiculously durable. But as I was combing out the Pomeranian today at work, I was daydreaming and thinking that people looking for gifts for dog owners would find this to be the ultimate gift for owners of small dogs with long hair.

Small dogs with long hair, like Pomeranians, Yorkies, Lhasa Apsas and Shiatsu, suffer, at least in confined conditions like kennels, like their hair getting crusted with their own crap. Seriously. Small dogs will get poop in their hair, even if they can run around. But even if they aren’t just rolling in their own dung, small dogs with long hair (lapdogs) require daily maintenance. For that, the Millers Forge Adjustable 2-in-1 Pet Comb is ideal. In other words, even outside an industrial setting, this can be exceptionally useful for pet owners.

So, what is the Millers Forge Adjustable 2-in-1 Pet Comb? Simple: this is a plastic and steel device used to comb animal hair. Why does one need a special comb for that, you might ask? In addition to not wanting to mix up which comb is for people and which is for pets, the Millers Forge Adjustable Pet Comb has features that make it easier to pass through animal hair without tugging the poor animal’s hair out and causing them pain or their eyes to pop out (which some of those little dogs, it seems is a possibility!). That is where the “adjustable” part comes in.

The Millers Forge Adjustable 2-in-1 Pet Comb is an eight inch long plastic device with two parts fused together. There is the head and the handle. The handle is a ¾” in diameter, four inch long, hard plastic rod with minor ribbing which allows one to maintain a grip on it easily, while bare handed or in gloves. At the end of the handle is a hole which allows one to hang the comb up. The handle is very easy to hold and feels good in one’s hand as they work it over the head and body of the dog one is using it on. I’ve never had the handle – despite its simple shape – feel anything but fine in my grip.

The handle is connected to the four inch head and this is a two and one half inch wide (about ¼” thick) plastic and metal assembly. The plastic casing is about an inch and a quarter wide and the metal tines extend about the same length out of that. There are tines that extend from the head at 1/8” intervals and they are permanently affixed there. But then, there are secondary teeth which may be extended out of the plastic casing using a very simple button found on the head. Sliding the button down toward the tines causes a secondary row of teeth to descend between all of the permanent teeth. Using this, the comb becomes a finer comb with spaces every 1/32”, which is much more useful for grooming.

Why, you may ask, does one need an adjustable comb at all? Experience – days and days of working at the pet store! – has illustrated to me that longhaired dogs get knots, burrs and turds in their hair remarkably easy. What is the easiest way to get those different conditions out? Combing the dog’s hair! Passing the comb through first with the tightest setting, though, can pull the dog’s hair and leave the poor dog in pain. However, by using the more separated comb first, one may work through the knots and burrs or easily flick canine fecal matter off the dog’s hair (using the finer setting initially can actually work dog poop into the dog’s longer fur!). Then, one may simply flick the button – which locks the secondary tines in place – and more elegantly groom the dog’s hair.

But longhaired dogs are like humans in regard to maintenance of their hair: the more one combs it, the easier it is to manage. As a result, the Millers Forge Adjustable 2-in-1 Pet Comb may actually be a part of a dog’s daily regiment to maintain a clean look and general health of the dog. My experiences showed that this worked best when one used the permanent tines (the more spaced ones), combed the ends of the dog’s hair, then went back over the hair from the base of the hair and combed the hair out. Then, after one has combed the dog’s hair out, going back over the entire dog with the finer tines out leaves all breeds of longhaired dogs looking cleaner, shinier and managed.

Bigger dogs with long hair, like my cocker spaniel, seem to do fine with just being treated with a slicker. But I could see this device working for finer maintenance and getting out burrs or hairballs that are stuck in her fur.

Either way, the volume of experience I have crammed in with this should not be discounted; the Millers Forge Adjustable 2-in-1 Pet Comb endures and having used this on over fifty different dogs (personally) and having had the same one go through probably a thousand before that, the fact that not a single tine has bent or broken on this is extraordinary. Furthermore, as someone who is not much of an animal person, I was relieved to discover that none of the dogs I used this on objected to me combing them out. In fact, one little dog (I swear, it actually likes me!) seems to enjoy the time I spend maintaining it daily, jumping over its kennelmate when it is time to get groomed.

So, if I like it and the animals like it, it is pretty much a perfect pet product!

For other pet maintenance products from Millers Forge, please check out my reviews of:
Small Shedding Blade #520c
Nail Clippers
Large Slicker Brush


For other pet product reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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