Advice on Brushing Your Dog

While dogs do take care of their coats themselves to some degree, the task of brushing it comes down to you. It is important to brush regularly because it gets rid of excess hair so that less gets left on you and your furniture. Brushing leaves the coat looking more healthy and also helps spread the natural oils through your dog's fur and on his skin. This is also a good time to check him over looking at the condition of his coat, and making sure there are no fleas, ticks, lumps, mats and so on. Here is a guide on brushing your dog's coat looking at what to use and how to groom him.

Type of Brush to use

All you need to know is the type of coat your dog has and that will dictate what type of brush to use and how often you need to use it.

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Long Haired Breeds – Should be brushed several times a week to prevent tangles. Pin brushes work well as they do not cause pain and get to the skin. For any mats use a comb.

Short coated dogs – Do not need frequent brushing but once every 2 weeks will help get rid of loose hair. A hound glove or rubber brush works well or a stiff natural-bristle brush followed by a soft bristle brush.

Short wiry coats – Use a slick brush followed with a metal comb. Work out mats first before brushing and you can use a stripping knife to remove from the undercoat dead hair.

Brushing your Dog

When brushing you should move down and then out away from the skin and go in the direction the fur grows. Be gentle and going to briskly can damage the coat and hurt them making them reluctant to have you do it again. If there are tangles or mats take the time to remove them before brushing. Mats can be removed with a conditioner or spray and then the use of a tool for mat splitting or a wide toothed comb. Be careful and if necessary use scissors to cut them out when the are close to the dog's skin and causing too much pain to remove. You can also take him to a groomer and have them shaved off.

1) Start at his head –

Start the brushing and be gentle. Avoid going too close to his ears and eyes and is necessary use something made specifically for the face like a soft slicker. For long hair there use your fingers to comb through.

2) Ear hair –

For long ear hair use a comb putting your hand between it and the skin to prevent pulling. If it is matted or full of knots dip a cloth in detangler and apply then slowly comb. If the knots are too big you may need to use clippers on them.

3) Neck ruffs –

Use a soft slicker around the neck. If the hair is long here and thicker use an undercoat rake or a comb afterward.

4) Feathering on the forelegs –

While many dogs have short hair on their legs that does not need brushing some have feathering which is long hair on the back of the legs. This needs to be combed sometimes as it is more likely to tangle than the rest of the coat. A mat splitter, comb or a detangler solution may help.

5) The underbelly –

Here needs to be done gently using a slicker. If appropriate you can brush against how the hair lays if not just brush in the direction of the hair. The belly and chest are very sensitive particularly around the private area. Do not use a mat rake and do not pull at any mats around here. If there are a lot here ask a professional groomer to take care it for you.

6) Sides and back –

Here are the easiest parts to brush just follow over with a comb after too.

7) Rear end –

This is another place that may be sensitive for your dog so to test him out use a slicker brush first. Then do a regular brush and comb but take care near the anus at the base of the tail and around the genitals.

8) Hind legs –

These should not need too much brushing much like the forelegs unless your dog has more feathering here. If you have a show dog and want to keep that feathering you will need to gently comb it out, but if keeping the feathering is not a priority you can clipper it.

9) On to the tail –

Some tails need no work but for dogs that have a long and furry tail there may be mats to get out, before you give it a comb.

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Using a Professional Groomer

You do not need to take your dog to a professional groomer for a brush every time but they are a great resource to use as they really know what they are doing. Just like you doing your own hair is never as good as the hair dressers, you brushing your dog will never be quite as good as a dog groomer's work. When there are a lot of mats the groomer knows how to deal with them and has experience dealing with dogs of all kinds.

Whether you use a groomer or do it yourself with a few essential tools, brushing your dog's coat is an important part of being a responsible dog owner. Your dog's coat looks better and your clothing and furniture will look better too!

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