Brushing is a vital part in maintaining a dogs coat and well being. Depending on the dogs coat, you need to figure out what is the best method of attack for brushing out the dog. If you have a Shih Tzu, you definitely don’t want to be using a zoom groom (a rubber brush used for deshedding and bathing), and if you have an Australian Cattle Dog you don’t need to be using a dematter. Every dog is different, so we are going to be discussing a few of the tools that can be used, how to use them, and on what coats they work best with.
Now in the world of grooming, if you are a first time groomer or a new pet parent, going down the grooming isle of a store can be a little intimidating. There are all sorts of brushes, combs, gadgets, that it is hard to decipher what would be best. If you have a longer haired dog, such as a Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Havanese, Schnauzer, Golden Retriver, Shiloh Shepherds. etc, a slicker brush and a comb is your best bet. A slicker brush helps break apart the strands, brushing out tangles. Now, with longer hair dogs, my recommendation is to brush the coat entirely, head to toe, then go over the coat with the finer side of a comb. You want to make sure the pins are getting down to the skin, then carefully running along the skin with the comb. If you get stuck, you’ve more than likely found a tangle that needs to be gently worked out. One great way is to use your hand, lay it flat against the coat, and lift the hair in the opposite direction, where you can see the skin underneath, see image above. You then take the brush, and work the hair that your hand is holding down. This helps you get close to the skin, and get underneath the coat. I will say, that has been the biggest obstacle with brushing for pet parents who have longer haired dogs. Some may brush the top coat very well, but once you get underneath, it is matted because they didn’t work the brush and comb to the skin. One piece of information, is if you get a brand new slicker brush, you can easily brush burn the dog. What I recommend is scraping the brush against some concrete or hard, textured surface to dull down the tips a bit, so it is not as rough. Brush burn almost looks like a rash forming, and blood can seep through follicles of the hair. A slicker brush needs to be replaced rarely, even with professional groomers. If you are a pet parent, I truly feel you would never need to replace your slicker brush, unless something happens such as the handle breaking or the teeth wearing down.
My favorite slicker brush ever is the Miracle Coat Brush. I swear by it. I have used so many different slicker brushes, and this one has a way of breaking apart tangles without hurting the pet. It reminds me of the Wet Brush, just for dogs. I purchase mine from Amazon, and they carry the small, which is great for tiny dogs, the medium, which I feel works for puppies all the way to large dogs, and the large, which is fantastic for dogs such as Irish Wolfhounds and Newfoundlands, because it covers a wider area quicker. Also, quick side note, this post is not sponsored. All of these brushes I own, because I found these are the only brushes I need, and I professionally groom, and have been professionally grooming for over 11 years.
Another great brush is the FURminator brush. This is more useful for shorter hair that is a bit thicker at the base that tends to shed, such as German Shepherds, Labs, Shiba Inus, etc. You want to brush with the grain of the hair, or how the hair is laying. You never want to brush against the grain. Now, with this type of brush, you need to be careful, because this tool is like a blade, and it can brush burn a dog if pressed too hard or is used too frequently over one area. I brush over one area, then move to another area. Slicker brushes and combs still work great on these dogs as well, but you tend not need to worry too much about getting close to the skin for tangles. Huskies and Malamutes also work great with the FURminator brush, but it might take a little more effort because even though they have that thick coat that sheds, it is sometimes hard getting close to the skin because their fur is longer and much more dense. FURminators are expensive, I am not going to beat around the bush on that. They run anywhere from $30 to $60, and you can get them at many different locations. I do feel they are worth it, however, I have not tried any products that are similar to this tool. So I cannot vouch if there is a good dupe for this product hanging around.
A dematting tool can sometimes, SOMETIMES be used on longer coats. It is a sharp tool used to cut and break apart matts. When I say sharp, I mean sharp. You need to be careful handling it because you can cut yourself and the dog. I tend to use dematters for matts that are away from the skin, that are not super tight, and I feel can be brushed out without causing harm to the pet. You want to be holding the instrument perpendicular to the pet, and make sure the sharp, jagged edges do not come in contact with the pets skin. With short, quick strokes, you work through the matt to break it up. I also like to use a dematter on dogs with long hair and thick undercoats, such as Rough Collies and Newfoundlands. They are quicker at breaking apart the undercoat and removing it. Dematting tools don’t seem to run too much. I’ve been enjoying using the Safari De-matting Comb, that I pick up from Amazon.
The rake or Mars Coat King is great for brushing out undercoat on longer haired dogs that shed, such as the Golden Retriever, Border Collie, etc, that the FURminator brush wouldn’t work on. This sometimes reminds people of a dematter, but it is not sharp in the same sense as a dematter. The prongs tend to be molded inward, like a hook, preventing possibilities of injuring the dog and groomer, but it has a way of hooking onto dead undercoat and pull it out. These can run a bit pricey depending on the brand. Some store brands, such as Paw Brothers make a good rake from $8 to around $20. The actual Mars Coat King brand can be up there in price, but you are paying for quality and lasting power. So do your research on the brands.
The last brush I recommend is the Zoom Groom, or any type of rubber brush that resembles the Zoom Groom. This brush can be used dry or wet. It is great for scrubbing shampoo in a dogs coat while bathing, and it is extremely useful at pulling dead undercoat from short haired shedding dogs such as Pugs, Chihuahuas, Jack Russel Terriers, Labs, etc. Brushing with the grain of the hair, if you do short, quick strokes, you will see so much dead hair just pull together, and sometimes stick to the brush. This type of rubberized brush has always been one of my favorites. This brush does wear down over time, so repurchasing is required. However, that being said, one rubberized brush like this has lasted me around 8 months to a year, and they are not too overly priced in my opinion. I have been able to find this product at PetCo, PetSmart, Amazon, and a few others. Amazon had the cheapest price around $6 if you purchased it as an add on item, just in case you were wondering.
So, those are the brushes that I use constantly, and honestly those are the only brushes I use. I have not needed to pull in any other brush, or purchase a different brush. Having those in my kit, I have the necessary brushing tools for any type of coat and coat problem that may arise. I hope this post was informative and helpful for you. Any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave them in the comment section down below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for stopping by, and until next time!