Brushing your dog's hair is important not only for their appearance but also for their health. This in-depth article is the ultimate guide to brushing dog hair. When you know what type of brush to choose for your dog, how to introduce brushing, and the proper technique, it is much easier to incorporate this activity into your pet care routine.
The Ultimate Guide To Brushing Dog Hair
Regular brushing of your dog can keep their coat looking healthy and shiny, and cuts down dramatically on the amount of dog hair that is shed and may be floating around your house. Read on for some simple tips on how to brush dog hair.
Choose the Right Brush for Your Dog
Before you begin, make sure you have the right brush or brushes to use on your dog. A slicker brush is a great universal brush for all dogs, but the type of hair that your dog has will determine the best brush for the job.
If your dog has a long coat, you will want to use a dematting brush and a comb that has a wide-tooth side and a fine-tooth side.
If you have a short-haired dog, use a rubber brush.
Be sure to keep a deshedding brush on hand to remove undercoat.
Metal combs are great to keep if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors. These combs make it much easier to remove dirt, bugs, and twigs from the coats of medium- to long-haired dogs in between brushings or after coming inside from outdoor play.
It is best to begin brushing your dog at a young age. If your dog is still a puppy, it’s the perfect time to introduce brushing and show that it is an enjoyable activity. If you are starting to brush an older dog who may not be used to the experience, it’s even more important to introduce brushing in a positive way. Start slowly with just a short amount of time at first, gradually increasing the time spent brushing with each session. Remember to be patient as your dog adjusts to this new experience. Here are a few tips to introduce brushing to your dog:
Let your dog see and smell the brush before you use it
Keep lots of small treats nearby to use as a reward while you praise your dog as you brush them
Expect the first few brushing sessions to be short as your dog learns to get comfortable with the experience
Don’t be angry or aggressive if your dog tries to escape or get away from the brush; instead, give a firm “stay” command, and keep the brushing sessions short until your dog learns they are not scary
How to Brush Your Dog
Now that you have the correct brush and your dog is comfortable enough to let you brush them, you are ready for some tips on how to brush your dog.
Always brush in the direction of the hair growth
Start at the root of the hair, to ensure you are not leaving mats
Be gentle and don’t pull
Leave the head and tail for last
Don’t forget the legs and feet
How to Remove Matted Dog Hair
If your dog has mats, you will want to remove them as soon as you notice them. Matted hair not only looks bad but can cause health problems for your pooch as well. Mats in your dog’s coat can cause your pet a great deal of pain, as well as impede movement, cut off circulation, or cause irritation or skin infections.
Do not use scissors. Mats can be very painful and very close to your dog’s skin, and you don’t want to accidentally cut your dog with scissors.
Bathe your dog and comb knots while they are still wet. It will be easier to detangle your dog’s hair while it is still wet. Do not let the mats dry before you get to them, or it will be more difficult to remove them. Do not rub your dog with a towel to dry them after the bath; this can make mats worse and cause more.
Spray detangling spray on the mat and let it soak in. Wait about five to ten minutes and then start combing.
Comb from the edges first. Start brushing out the mat from the edges, where the hair is less tangled.
Know when to call a professional. If you have tried all of the above tips and are considering reaching for scissors, call a groomer and schedule an appointment. They have more practice dealing with mats, and may be able to help your dog.
Common places to find mats on dogs are areas of frictions, such as under the collar, in the armpits, behind the ears, or on the lower legs where the legs may rub together. If your dog sits often, they can even get mats in the spots where the fur is compacted.
Determine How Often Your Dog Needs to Be Brushed
After brushing your dog a few times, you will be able to tell how often they need to be brushed. If their coat looks especially tangled, you will need to brush your dog more often.
Long-haired dogs should be brushed every few days. You can decide if that is frequent enough for your furry friend. Long hair can get tangled and matted easily, so keep an eye on your dog’s coat for an indication that it’s time for a brush session.
Short-haired dogs can be brushed every week. Dogs with short hair don’t get mats or tangles very often, but a regular brushing helps to remove loose hair and gives you an opportunity to bond with your dog.
Consider Brushing Your Dog to Be a Part of Their Health Care
When you brush your dog regularly, you are more likely to notice changes that can indicate health problems.
Is their coat more dry or more oily than usual?
Is their coat matted or tangled?
Are there any lumps or cuts on their skin?
Do you see any ticks or fleas?
Becoming familiar with your dog’s hair and skin will allow you to recognize any changes quickly, so you can deal with the problem right away.
Although brushing your dog may be time-consuming in the beginning, once your dog is comfortable with the brush it can be an enjoyable experience for both of you!