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At Home Dog Grooming: Tips for Brushing Your Dog

At Home Dog Grooming: Tips For Brushing Your Dog

Sometimes it’s not always easy to get your dog to the groomer right as they need a follow-up appointment. Thankfully, there are ways you can help your dog look and feel their best in between visits. While some tasks are best left to the professionals, such as clipping your dog’s fur or trimming their nails, smaller tasks like regular brushing and bathing can make a big difference. In part one of a two-part grooming series, we will be taking a look at the brushing side of things, including choosing the best brushes for your dog’s needs and the benefits of regular brushing.

Things to Consider When Brushing Your Dog

A German Sheraprd puppy being brushed in a park.

There are two things to consider before brushing your dog: What is their coat type, and what tools will you need to brush out their coat. Regular brushing is essential for keeping your dog’s fur tangle and mat free, as well as alerting you to any potential health problems.

1.) Determine Your Dog’s Coat Type

When choosing tools to help brush your dog, it is important to understand the needs of their coat. Most dogs will require more than one brush to help keep them looking their best.

Is Their Coat:
– Long, Medium or Short?
– Double or Single Coated?
– Curly or Smooth?
– Silky or Wiry?

If you’re uncertain about what kind of coat your dog has, talk to your groomer or vet, who can help steer you in the right direction. After you’ve determined what type of coat or fur your dog has, begin looking for brushes that will fit their needs. Some dogs may require more than one type of brush to keep them looking their best.

2.) Choosing the Right Tools

After you’ve determined your dog’s coat/fur type, begin looking for brushes that fit their coat’s needs.

For a quick guide to brushes:

  • Bristle Brushes are perfect for dogs with shorter hair or smoother coats. The bristles, which are tightly packed together, help to remove loose fur while helping to distribute the natural oils throughout their coat.
  • Slicker Brushes are ideal for dogs with longer hair. They’re effective at removing knots in long, medium, and curly fur. They’re also effective at removing loose hair and undercoat.
  • Pin Brushes are most effective on medium to long hair types. They can help lift out loose hair and dander while distributing the natural oils in your dog’s coat.
  • Grooming Mitts or gloves are best for removing loosened fur and dirt.
  • Rubber Curry is great for dogs with short and smooth coats. Use a circular motion with this brush to help loosen the fur.
  • Metal Combs are ideal for dogs who have single-layer, minimally shedding fur, such as poodles.
  • Deshedding Brushes are great for dogs with short, double coats such as labradors or corgis.
  • Undercoat Rakes work best for dogs with medium to long double coats (Golden Retrievers, Australian Shepherds)
  • Dematting Brushes help remove loose hair and mats in dogs with longer hair or double coats.

It’s important to note that while we do mention some breeds above, that not all coats are built the same, and your dog may have different needs.

How Does Regular Brushing Benefit My Dog?

A small dog being brushed with a comb.

Helps prevent matting. Mats can be extremely painful, pulling and pinching your dog’s skin. Found a mat in your dog’s fur? DO NOT CUT IT OUT. Instead, use dematting tools such as the Andis Dematting Tool or Jeffers Dematting Rakes and Combs. Products specifically designed for dematting such as the Ultra-D Pro Series D-Matting Spray or Davis Mat Out can help tackle mats that require extra attention. The dematting process can leave your dog’s skin feeling tender, so if your dog has multiple mats, span the process across a few days.

Helps keep your dog cooler. Dogs with undercoats will stay cooler if you keep the loose undercoat removed. Brushes such as the FURminator and Shed Magic De-Shedding Tool are examples of brushes that will make deshedding quicker and easier.

Helps strengthen your bond. Brushing your dog regularly is a good way to strengthen your bond. Once a day, or as needed brushing, allows you some 1-on-1 time with your dog.

Helps keep their skin & coat healthy. Regular brushing helps distribute natural oils throughout your dog’s coat. Additionally, it cuts down on shedding, which keeps the fur on your dog, not your clothing! It also cuts down on matting which can cause them pain and skin damage.

Helps bring problems to your attention. Daily or weekly brushing, depending on the maintenance level of your dog’s coat, can alert you to minor or major changes in your dog’s skin condition. This can include but isn’t limited to parasites, lumps, or sores.

Helps make bath time easier. Brushing your dog’s coat prior to bath time will allow the shampoo and/or conditioner to better penetrate your dog’s coat more easily. The result will be a cleaner dog with healthier skin! Additionally, brushing before a bath can alert you to any skin-related issues that may need addressing with a vet or that can be targeted with a different shampoo. Not only that, but brushing before bathing can help remove matted fur, which holds water and can leave your dog with irritated skin.

Routine brushing benefits your dog’s well-being, helps strengthen your bond, and helps to make bath time a little bit easier (read more about that in Part Two of our grooming series). Once you’ve figured out the brush or brushes you’ll need, visit Jeffers for our full selection of dog grooming supplies. Sometimes feeling and looking good starts from the inside. Click for a selection of Jeffers dog skin and coat care products.

Need Additional Help?

Have more questions about choosing the best brush for your dog or other skin/coat concerns? Renee Jones, Jeffers Pet Specialist, can help. Feel free to contact Renee by email at rsjones@jefferspet.com.

Renee Jones, CPDT-KSA, is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, and Jean Donaldson, to name a few. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (ADPT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She serves as a Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for Jeffers Pet.