How To Brush Your Dog

Brushing your dog regularly is great for your dog as it not only removes excess hair, it keeps your dog’s coat shiny and looking great by distributing the natural oils found in your dog’s skin. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to keep tabs on your dog’s condition but looking for ticks or fleas, any “lumps or bumps” on the skin that may require a visit to the vet, or matted hair or anything else out of the ordinary.

Brushing is really pretty basic, but you should understand how to choose the best brush for your dog, based on the type of coat she has.

Dogs with short coats, such as French bulldogs or Labrador retrievers, don’t really require much brushing because their hair is just not long enough to get tangled and matted. But it’s still a good idea to give a short coated dog a thorough brushing every couple of weeks to remove any excess hair and to distribute oils. A natural-bristle brush or a soft slicker brush followed by soft bristle brush works well with these dog’s short coats.

For dogs with short, wiry coats such as terriers, German wirehaired pointers and Dachshunds, brushing every few days with a slicker brush followed by a metal comb shoudl to the trick.

Long haired dogs such as Irish setters, Sheepdogs and Collies need to be brushed once weekly. A pin brush is a good choice as it has bristles made of bent wire which grip onto the undercoat and painlessly remove loose hair all the way down to the skin.

Be gentle and take your time. Untangle any snarled hair before continuing to brush. Always brush down and out and away from your dog’s skin in the direction the coat grows. 

If you run across a mat, use a mat spray which has to be left on for several minutes. Then take a wide toothed comb and see if you can gently get through the mat. The mats tend to be very close to the dog’s skin so be careful not to cause your dog pain.

Also, if you use scissors to cut the mat out, be extra cautious not to cut your dog’s skin. This is much easier to do than you think! If you can’t get the mat out, take your dog to a professional groomer.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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