Dog grooming brushes come in all shapes and sizes available for any breed or size of dog and any type of coat. Brushing your dog regularly stimulates the natural oils in the skin and coat as well as helping the circulation. An appropriate brush of some sort is an essential part of your equipment as all dogs regardless of whether they have short or long coats require grooming. Some of these brushes are ergonomically designed for the comfort of your hand.
The best brushes for grooming short-haired dogs with no thick layer of undercoat and don’t shed a lot are the soft bristle brushes. The bristles get any loose fur or dirt off the body and at the same time stimulating the skin and circulation. Generally it is best to brush in the direction of the coat however using this type of brush against the flow of the dog’s coat can get right underneath and loosen any dirt.
These brushes are not designed to work on dog’s with longer or double-coated or thick coats as they do not have the capacity to get right under and brush out any dead undercoat.
Pin brushes often come in combination with the bristle brush – pins on one side and bristles on the other side. Once again, these brushes are designed for short coated dogs who do not shed a lot of hair. Even though a dog’s coat might be short, it is possible that they may have a double undercoat. They are not designed for getting the undercoat of these thicker undercoats out effectively.
The slicker brush is designed for dogs with longer and thicker coats. They come in small and large sizes as well as soft and medium pins. These close fine pins get right underneath the coat to the skin and will draw out the dead undercoat. It is this loose dead undercoat which causes matting to occur, particularly if the dog is not brushed regularly. It is easy to mistake of thinking a coat is looking well groomed from the top layer however when you feel underneath the mats and dead coat can be felt underneath, closer to the skin.
These slicker brushes come in a wide variety of designs and quality. It is recommended that you get something that is comfortable and easy to hold so that brushing can be done as often as possible. There are plenty of ergonomically designed brushes on the market at quite reasonable prices.
Slicker brushes should be used fairly gently against the dog’s skin, although you may need to press harder on the very thick coated dogs. It is important to brush enough so that the undercoat will come out but not so rough that you will hurt the dog. Brushing against the flow of the coat will also assist in getting out dead hair and coat that is a little more difficult to remove.
If you are not sure what type of coat your puppy will have get some advice first before purchasing your brush. If you have a little fluffy dog then a slicker brush will always be the best choice. Many people just buy a pin/bristle brush and think they are brushing the dog well however later it does become apparent that the dog is quite matted underneath (see our grooming tips for matted dogs) and subsequently need to go out and buy a slicker brush which will do the job far more effectively.
If your dog is large and has very thick coat such as the Alaskan Malamute or Siberian Husky then the best type of dog grooming brush would be the medium pin slicker brush in a large size plus a shedding blade or rake of some sort (see our page on rakes and shedding tools). This would get right into the coat and draw the clumps of undercoat out. The rakes are particularly good for when the dog sheds (or blows) it’s coat a couple of times a year.
Whatever type of brushing tool you decide to get for your puppy make sure it is appropriate for the type of coat and be gentle so that the pins do not hurt the dog.
Need information on other dog grooming supplies? Refer to our related pages on: