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Finding the Best Dog Brush for Your Pet's Coat

Finding the Best Dog Brush for Your Pet's Coat

Grooming is an essential part of keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy. Brushing and combing help keep tangles and mats from forming and spreads natural oils onto their skin. But if you’ve ever been faced with an internet search full of options or an aisle of different grooming tools, finding the best dog brush for your specific breed can seem overwhelming.

Dogs have a variety of coat types and lengths, ranging from short and wiry to long and coarse. Not all coats are treated equally when it comes to brushing and grooming, so the best option for your best friend will be specific to their breed and coat.

But don’t worry. We’re here to help you find the best dog brush to help your furry friend look flawless in between grooming appointments.

 

What kind of brush should I use on my dog?

The type of brush you use to groom your dog will depend on their coat length and type.

There are a variety of brushes and combs available at pet supply stores, so understanding their differences and uses will help you make an informed decision about which is best for your pet.

Brushes are used for overall maintenance and cleaning of your dog’s coat. They remove excess hair and dirt and help spread out oils on your dog’s skin.

Combs are better suited for more detailed grooming needs such as removing large mats and tangles and removing fleas.

Best brush for short-haired dogs

The following brushes are recommended for dogs with short hair:

Slicker brush: The most common brush that works for most coats is the slicker brush. The short, bent, wire or plastic bristles grab and remove loose undercoat. Frequent use helps prevent tangles and matting.

Bristle brush: Bristle brushes have soft, straight bristles on a flat base. Because this design doesn’t penetrate as deeply as others, it works best for dogs with short coats.

Fine-tooth comb: Fine-tooth combs work best on short-haired dogs and those with thin undercoats.

Hound glove: A hound glove, mitt or grooming glove features rubber nubs or short bristles on a flexible cloth base that fits over your hand. These work best on short coats, but the sensation of being petted makes it a favorite among all dogs.

FURminator: The FURminator brush is designed for breeds that shed on a regular basis. Its main purpose is to remove excess shedding undercoat. Since some short-haired dogs shed frequently, a FURminator may be recommended.

Choosing the best brush for your short-haired dog will ultimately depend on your dog’s coat type. Check out the following descriptions to determine your dog’s coat type and find the best brush recommendation for your short-haired dog.

Short and wiry coats

This type of coat is thick and coarse and has a softer undercoat. Outer coats vary in length depending on the dog. Breeds with this type of coat include terriers, Airedales, Schnauzers and Wirehaired Dachshunds. These dogs should be brushed twice per week.

  • Grooming tools: Slicker brush and medium-tooth comb.
  • Method: To remove loose hair and prevent mats, brush and comb in layers from the skin outward in the direction of the fur.
  • Special needs: Grooming by a professional groomer every 6 to 8 weeks.

Short and smooth coats

This coat has little to no undercoat and is very smooth and easy to maintain. Breeds with this type of coat include Basenjis, Doberman Pinschers and Pugs. These dogs  should be brushed once per week.

  • Grooming tools: Bristle brush or hound glove.
  • Method: Brush in the direction of hair growth, which will help remove loose hair and help spread natural oils through the coat.
  • Special needs: Spray-on conditioners can help keep your dog’s coat shiny. Grooming by a professional groomer four to six times a year

Short and double coats

Characteristics of this type of coat include a topcoat that is straight or wavy and an undercoat that is soft and thin. Breeds with this type of coat include Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers. These dogs should be groomed at home twice per week and more often in the spring and summer during shedding season.

  • Grooming tools: Slicker brush, FURminator and metal comb.
  • Method: Brush with the coat growth to prevent mats and remove excess loose undercoat with a Furminator. Then use a metal comb to remove the loose hair.
  • Special needs: Grooming by a professional groomer six times a year.

Best brush for long-haired dogs

Long-haired dogs generally require more brushing and grooming maintenance than their short-haired counterparts because their hair is more likely to mat and tangle.

The following brushes are recommended for dogs with long hair:

Slicker brush: The universal slicker brush works just as well for dogs with long hair as it does for short-haired dogs. It removes excess undercoat hair and is a star at getting rid of mats.

Large-tooth comb: Designed for long-haired dogs and dogs with heavy undercoats, a large-tooth comb loosens tangles and removes excess undercoat.

Pin or wire brush: Pin or wire brushes have straight, metal or wood bristles on a rubber base. They provide deep coverage and are excellent for fluff-drying long fur.

FURminator: Because certain long-haired dogs also have heavy undercoats, a FURminator brush should be used to help remove excess undercoat to prevent excess shedding.

Choosing the best brush for your long-haired dog will ultimately depend on your dog’s coat type. Check out the following descriptions to determine your long-haired dog’s coat type and find the best brush option.

Long and silky coats

Dogs with this type of coat do not grow an undercoat. These include Maltese, Silky Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers. Dogs with this type of coat should be brushed three or four times per week as their coat can easily tangle.

  • Grooming tools: Slicker brush and large-tooth comb.
  • Method: After removing any mats and tangles, brush, then comb the entire coat in the direction the hair grows.
  • Special needs: Grooming by a professional groomer every 4 to 6 weeks.

Long and coarse coats

This coat type has a thin, light undercoat. Breeds with this coat type include Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus and Tibetan Terriers. They should be brushed three or four times per week.

  • Grooming tools: Slicker brush, pin brush and large-tooth comb.
  • Method: Carefully remove any mats with a slicker brush, then brush the entire coat with a pin brush. Once brushed, use a metal comb to go back and check for mats. Always brush in the direction of the hair growth.
  • Special needs: Grooming by a professional groomer every 4 to 6 weeks.

Long and double coats

This coat type features a straight, coarse  outer coat with a thick, heavy undercoat. Breed examples include Chow Chows, Collies and Samoyeds. These dogs should be brushed two to three times per week.

  • Grooming tools: Slicker brush and a large, wide-tooth comb.
  • Method: Brush the entire body from the skin outward. You may want to work on one small section of fur at a time. After carefully removing any mats, thoroughly comb the coat. Make sure you get the comb next to the skin and comb outward to remove the loose undercoat.
  • Special needs: Grooming by a professional groomer six times per year. Dogs with this coat type shed more than any others, so frequent brushing is essential.

Brushes for other coat types

Certain dog breeds have curly hair or no hair at all. Special considerations should be used when grooming these dogs at home. Consider the following recommendations for dogs with these coat types.

Curly coats: These dogs don’t shed much, but their fur does mat easily and require regular grooming. Breeds with curly coats include Bedlington Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers and Poodles. These dogs should be groomed two times per week.

  • Grooming tools: Slicker brush and metal comb.
  • Method: Brush in small sections with the grain of the coat to remove any tangles or mats, then go back and finish with a metal comb.
  • Special needs: Grooming by a professional groomer every 4 to 6 weeks.

Hairless dogs: Some hairless breeds grow tufts of hair on their heads, legs or tail, and grooming this hair is necessary to prevent mats. Hairless dog breeds include the Chinese Crested  and Xoloitzcuintli. These dogs should be brushed every other week.

  • Grooming tools: Bristle brush or hound glove.
  • Method: Gently brush in the direction the coat grows to help distribute natural oils onto skin and coat.
  • Special needs: Apply an oil-free moisturizer daily and a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 when outdoors.

Other brushes to consider

Whether your dog has long hair or short hair, you may want to consider using the following brushes as a part of your at-home grooming routine.

  • Undercoat brush: An undercoat brush, with its rounded, rotating teeth is beneficial for dogs who grow any type of undercoat. This brush helps prevent matting, remove loose fur and reduce shedding.
  • Flea comb: A flea comb can be used to help check your dog for fleas or help remove fleas if your dog contracts them. It can trap the pests and their debris in its close-set teeth. If you find evidence of fleas, you will need to follow up with appropriate flea treatment and ask your veterinarian about flea and tick medication.
  • Dematting comb: Demaatting combs are specifically designed to help break up mats on your pet’s fur. They tend to have longer prongs than some other combs and brushes that pick apart and untangle matted hair.

How to use a dematting comb

If your dog is prone to regular matting, a dematting comb can help remove mats easily and painlessly. Follow these steps for using a dematting comb:

  • Step 1: Isolate the mat on your pet’s fur. Spray it with a pet-safe detangler to moisten it and work the detangler into the mat with your fingers.
  • Step 2: Hold the mat in your nondominant hand. Holding it will help you avoid pulling and tugging on your dog’s skin and causing pain. Using your other hand, firmly hold the dematting comb and begin at the ends of the mat. Use a picking motion to start breaking up the hairs.
  • Step 3: Gradually work your way to the bottom of the mat using the same motion. Avoid pulling the dematting comb through the hair. Simply use the same picking motion to break up the mat.

No matter what type of coat your dog has, you can find all of these essential grooming tools at Petco. If you have any questions about what type of coat your specific breed falls into, or if you have a mixed breed dog, your local Petco groomer is happy to help point you in the right direction.