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How Often Should You Brush Your Dog? Tips Based on Your Pet’s Coat

As a responsible pet parent, you know that at-home brushing between grooming appointments can help keep your dog’s coat clean and mat-free. But understanding how often you should brush your dog for purposes beyond just ensuring their coat does not become tangled, may seem more complicated. The good news is it’s not.
Figuring out the length of time between at-home brushings depends on your dog’s coat type and length. Certain dog breeds need to be brushed more frequently than others because their hair is more prone to matting and shedding
Don’t become overwhelmed! Dogs do not require daily brushing. Even dogs who require frequent at-home groomings for coat maintenance still usually only need to be brushed a few times each week.
You cannot overbrush your dog, but you should be mindful of the types of grooming tools you’re using and watch out for signs of skin irritation such as redness or dryness. Along with helping maintain skin and coat health, brushing your dog regularly can help grow your bond, so feel free to get in some short, off-schedule sessions to connect with your dog and get them more comfortable with the process.
Follow this table for an outline of how often you should brush your dog depending on their coat type:

Coat Type Coat Description Example Breeds Recommended Brushing Frequency
Hairless No hair or minimal hair on head, paws and tail Chinese Crested and Xoloitzcuintli Every other week
Short and smooth Very smooth, with little to no undercoat Basenjis, Doberman Pinschers and Pugs 1 time per week
Short and wiry Thick and coarse, with a short undercoat Terriers, Airedales, Schnauzers and Wirehaired Dachshunds 2 times per week
Curly Hair can be soft or coarse but curly or wavy in nature Poodles, Bedlington Terriers and Kerry Blue Terriers 2 times per week
Short and double Top coat is straight or wavy. Undercoat is soft and thin. Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers 2 times per week
Long and silky Silky long hair. No undercoat. Maltese, Silky Terriers and Yorkshire Terriers 3-4 times per week
Long and coarse Straight or wavy coat, with a thick, heavy undercoat Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzus and Tibetan Terriers 3-4 times per week
Long and double Straight, coarse outer coat, with a thick, heavy undercoat Chow Chows, Collies and Samoyeds 3-4 times per week

How to brush a dog’s coat

Tips on brushing and combing your dog

Although the exact tools and techniques you’ll use to brush your dog’s coat will vary a bit depending on your dog’s coat type and length, here are a few tips when it comes to brushing your dog at home.
Remove mats from your dog’s fur. Before brushing with a regular grooming brush, remove mats with a dematting comb using careful, picking motions to break up the mat. Don’t pull or brush directly into a mat. Do not cut mats from your pet’s fur.
Use a Furminator or deshedding tool. If you have a dog with a thick undercoat or a breed that is prone to shedding, you may want to use a Furminator or deshedding tool at home to remove excess hair prior to brushing.
Brush in the direction of your dog’s fur. Once mats are removed, brush your dog’s hair in the direction it grows. For long-haired breeds, you may need to work in sections starting close to your pet’s skin to make this task easier.
It is recommended that you brush your dog when their coat is dry. Wet hair can make mats worse and more difficult to remove. If you want to brush your dog’s hair following a bath, let their coat dry prior to brushing.
To help make brushing easier, you can spray your dog with a pet-safe detangling product prior to brushing.
For a more detailed breakdown of the best type of brush for your dog’s coat type and how to brush their hair, consider the recommendations below.

How often to brush your dog infographic

How to remove mats

To remove mats from your dog’s fur, you need to first isolate the mat and hold it separately away from your dog’s fur.
Spray a pet-safe detangling product on the mat and work it through using your fingers.
With your other hand, use a dematting tool or a comb and start to gently untangle the hair at the edges of the mat. Use picking motions—don’t brush or pull too hard. Slowly work your way through the mat until it is untangled.
Removing mats from your dog’s fur requires patience, but it’s important to work slowly and avoid pulling at the mat with your brush. Being too aggressive with the mat or your brush can be painful for your dog. If you are unsure of how to remove the mat, or it is a difficult one, consult a professional groomer who can safely remove the mat for you and help with more personalized recommendations for your dog’s coat care.

As with many pet-care tasks, brushing your dog is something that can benefit their overall well-being and strengthen your bond with your pet. With a little patience and practice your dog will feel comfortable with the chore and you’ll feel confident in your ability to maintain their skin and coat health. Once you know how to handle brushing your dog at home, Petco has all of the grooming tools and supplies you need to keep your dog looking great between professional grooming sessions