What Is a Stripping Comb?

T. M. Robertson

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.

Stripping combs allow pet owners to remove their dogs' thick undercoat of hair.
Stripping combs allow pet owners to remove their dogs' thick undercoat of hair.

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.

Huskies are one type of dog that has a double coat.
Huskies are one type of dog that has a double coat.

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.

Golden retrievers have a double coat.
Golden retrievers have a double coat.

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Discussion Comments


@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.


@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.


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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