What Kind of Brush Should I Use on My Dog?
Types of Dog Brushes to Suit Each Breed
Brushing a dog is important for grooming as well as forming and maintaining a close bonding with your pet (or client). The time spent together is something a dog cherishes from his or her owner. Using the right equipment (which varies depending on the breed and type of hair) is essential to a painless and enjoyable grooming session. Knowing what kind of coat your dog has and which brushes are the best for those coats is the only way to properly groom your pet. The experience should be a pleasant experience for both the pet and the owner. With a little know-how, it can be fun and not just a chore.
Short-Hair Dog Brush
A many bristled brush is a must for short-hair breeds of dogs (as well as short-haired cats). The bristles are usually of made of actual hair. The stiff, close-bristled brush captures and holds the loose hair and dander. It can be cleaned using a comb and washed with soap and warm water. These brushes may have to be replaced over time as the bristles will show sign of wear over time, but they do last for many years before replacements are needed.
Short-Hair Glove Brush
After the animal has been brushed with a bristle brush, the best thing to use is a rubberized glove-type of brusher. It fits over the hand and with the use of static, can remove the rest of the loosened hairs that would usually end up on your clothing. A good rubbing with the rubber glove will give that short-haired pet a really glossy coat. I find the best way to use one of these gloves is to take the dog outside and rub from back of head to base of tail. Stroke only in one direction, head to tail, and never against the grain. Really go at it. The dog will enjoy the "Petting" and the birds will thank you, especially during the dog's spring shedding period, for the loose hairs that are certain to be left behind after the job is done. The shedding dog hair makes great nesting materials for the birds. I recommend doing this type of brushing outside. The hair tends to go into the air rather than stay stuck to the glove.
To avoid neighbour troubles, only do this type of brushing on calm, windless days.
The curved style of this brush allows the user to get a deeper stroke. Start at the toes and work your way up to the back. Work in one inch layers all the way up. Do an inch, until all matting is removed, and then take the next inch up and repeat the process. Stroking in one straight stroke from back and down the legs will only groom the topmost layer of hairs and will not touch the inner coat. Layer by layer working upwards in a patient and steady pace will remove even the tiniest of stray hairs and mats. You may be tempted to curve your stroke but this should always be avoided. The brush should be kept at an even level, using mostly the center area of the brush. Trying to curve your stroke could cause a burning scraping of the skin when the front row of bristles are dug into the skin.
Mat-Splitter for Tight Tangles
This handy little tool makes removal of those nasty mats a more efficient and painless affair. Used like a claw, the safety tip penetrates the new-growth area closest to the skin. There is always a small space of hair between the mat and the skin. This new hair has not yet had the chance to mat up. When the claw is inserted there, a sawing motion of the claw causes the razor blade to split the mat into two. For really large mats, cut them into many smaller knots that can be easily removed using a brush or comb.
How to Comb a Long-Hair Dog
When dematting the dog, working inch by inch upwards from toes to back, each layer should be checked using a groomer's comb. Test the layer with the large tines and then with the closer tines. If the comb should get stuck or not slide through from root to tip, the hair is not properly groomed and the brush and mat splitter should be called back into action. When buying a comb, spend a little more and get a good professional one. There are some that look like the professional ones but you get what you pay for and they tend to rust over time. A good, professional, stainless steel comb can last you decades, on wet or dry dogs. They also make great combs for human hair as well. After blow-drying a dog, I have been known to run the dog's comb through my unruly hair, if it was handy.
Comb For Dogs And Cats
A good steel comb with both large and small tines is a must for grooming any long-haired cat or dog. After a good brushing, I have always checked the results with one of these combs, checking for any hidden mats or tangles. Also important in making that nice, neat parting on the backs of Yorkshires, Shih-Tzu and other long-haired breeds, as well as arranging their top-knots. In my long career as a Groomer, the comb was considered one of my most important tools. Sturdy and dependable, a good comb can last for decades.
Long-Hair Finishing Brush
Once a dog has been brushed, dematted and combed, the final step would be the finishing brush. This brush is used in long, even strokes. Instead of brushing layer by layer like the curved brush, this flat brush is meant to remove whatever lose hairs lie near the surface. A strong, steady stroke from back of head to base of tail and top of legs to feet will accomplish the task. It only takes a few more minutes and it will reduce the hair in your house and on your clothing. Not only that, the pleasant, knot-free stroking lets the dog know that the session is just about done and that you are happy with him or her and the results. Talk happy and praise your animal. And, praise yourself for a job well done.
© 2016 Susan May Gudge