Thursday, March 17, 2016

Dog Brush Basics

   One of the most perplexing questions for many dog parents is “How do I know which brush to select for my dog?” There is no shortage of styles at your local pet store. To find out the answer, I enlisted the help of my favorite PetSmart® professional groomer, Chris. He was happy to assist me on today’s post by answering the following questions.
Westie being groomed
Ask the Expert
Question 1: Does it matter which brush we use for grooming?
*Using the proper brush is very important. For example, you don't want to use a slicker on a Labrador Retriever or a FURminator® with a Poodle. The wrong brush can damage the hair and it will not provide the desired results.
Question 2: Are there any “must-haves” when it comes to brushes?
*There are two types of brush that a pet parent should have in their grooming kit depending on their dog. One is a slicker brush for longer hair dogs; the other is a rubber curry brush for shedding and flat coated dogs.
Question 3: Do brushes need to be replaced?
*Brushes should be replaced regularly depending on how fast the brush gets worn down. You can tell by the bristles on the brush. If they are damaged or showing signs of wear, it is time for a new brush.
Question 4: What is the proper way to brush your dog?
*Always brush a dog in the same direction its hair grows. You shouldn’t brush the hair backwards. 
Question 5: How do I know which brush to choose for my dog?
*Be sure to read the labels on the brush packaging before you buy it. You will find a general list of the breeds that a particular brush is designed to help. Using the wrong brush can tear the coat or cause brush burn. has a great Resource Center to help. If you are still unsure, ask your groomer.
Question 6: How often should we brush our dogs?
*I recommend daily brushing. This will keep them clean and control the shedding. Regular brushing helps to keep the skin and coat healthy.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to bond with your best friend. You should introduce brushing to your puppy in a relaxed manner. Never use force when brushing as this should be a positive experience for both of you.
PetSmart grooming tools aisle
Types of Brushes
Bristle Brushes can be used on all coat types. These vary according to the spaces between the bristles and the length. For longer coats, use the wider spaced and longer bristles. For coarse hair, select the stiffer bristles. You will recognize the bristle brush by the natural or man-made bristles on a curved rubber base.
FURminator® brushes are metal combs with tiny, sharp teeth for removing dead hair and undercoat from flat, short and combination coats.
Slicker Brushes are used for dogs that get mats or tangles. These brushes have a flat or curved head with rows of thin wire pins that are slightly bent at the tips. It is ideal for dogs that have a harsh outer coat with soft woolly undercoats.
Rubber Curry Brushes are for short-haired dogs. These brushes usually fit in the palm of your hand. Daily use will help make your dog’s coat shiny by helping distribute their natural oils. It will keep your dogs free of loose, dead hair along with massaging their skin.
Wire Pin Brushes can be found with or without rubber-tipped ends. These are ideal for medium to long haired dogs and those with curly or woolly coats.
*These are the most common types of brushes. There are hundreds of brushes available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Be sure that you select the correct brush for your dog’s hair type.
FURminator® end cap at PetSmart
   I use the FURminator on Bentley because he is a shed machine! They offer a variety of sizes and styles.
Basset Hound being groomed with a FURminator®
Hair Do’s and Hair Don’ts
   Grooming is a very important part of your dog’s overall care. It removes dead hair and helps prevent mats. Spend a few minutes each day brushing the coat to avoid painful tangles. Your pet will look and feel better.
   Make sure to thoroughly brush your dog prior to bathing. When tangles and mats get wet they tighten. This makes it difficult to rinse out the shampoo and the tangles/mats will become tighter knots when dried. You might consider using a detangling spray before tackling those mats. If you brush a dry coat that is matted, you will cause static electricity and end up damaging or breaking off the ends of the hair.
   Brush long coats layer by layer so you don’t pull the skin and hurt your pup. It is best to brush their head last. Your pet might be more accepting of being brushed if you start at their tail and work your way up. Their heads are very sensitive so brush lightly.
   The main thing to remember is that your dog can’t take care of their own grooming needs. They are depending on you to keep them tangle-free and clean. Make grooming a relaxing time. Your dog will thank you for it.
   Are you not sure of your dog’s coat type? Visit PetSmart’s Parent Resource Center for more information. They have a section devoted to coat types.
   *I’d like to thank Chris, our PetSmart groomer for his help in this article. Be sure to join me on Friday, March 25th for our latest #PetSmartGrooming post.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day

It is Thoughtless Thursday’s blog hop with Ruckus the EskieLove is being owned by a Husky and me. The rules are, there are no rules!


  1. We have a site that explains all the stuff needed for various breeds....especially handy when you have scotties.

  2. We know all of us have different brushes we use. Bailie and I use the same ones, but her fur is also different than my fur. It really is best to use the correct tools. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  3. Stopping by to wish you all a very Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

  4. I only need a rubber brush and there is a lot of drama when I see that thingy... but just between us... I love it to get brushed... butt I don't show it, because of the treats :o)

  5. THANK YOU and CHRIS fur this Most EXCELLENT discussion about Brushes and BRUSHING... we tell MOM... you brush YOUR head Furs Every day... WE want to be brushed EVERY DAY TOO.... butt we don't ALWAYS get it DAILY... WE love being brushed... it feels soooooooo good and makes us look HANDSOME... Mom says it keeps the House a tad Cleaner... butt who cares about that stuffs.

  6. Even though Poodles don't shed they should be brushed often to get the dead hair out or they will get mats. we hadn't realized how many grooming tools there are.

  7. Great questions and answers! PetSmart groomers are the best! We can't live without the furminator and slicker brush!

  8. Good info, thank you. We have the brush that pulls our hairs out too
    Snorts and a woof,
    Lily & Edward

  9. Great post! With so many different dogs and hair it is great to have so many different brushes to choose from!!! :)

  10. Good tips on brushing... us katie katz use nylon brushes.
    Happy St. Patrick's Day to Mew!
    -Katie Kitty Too

  11. While grooming is never truly enjoyed, it's a great way to build trust and spend quality time with Sam. He tolerates it but prefers it if I just pet him. ;) That said, it's both our interests to keep it up. Many thanks for the explanation of the various brushes-it's helpful to know when you're not quite sure if what you're using is appropriate. Erin go Braugh! ღ

  12. Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you!

  13. Great tips on brushing! Pugs are usually shed machines too. Bailey & Hazel shed but Mabel doesn't shed much thank goodness
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

  14. This is great information! I know very little about dog grooming, but Rooney needs to be brushed very regularly! Thanks for all the info!

  15. A lot of this would apply to us cats, too. We love our furminator.

  16. Daisy used to love being brushed. It was like a massage for her!!

  17. Very interesting! I didn't realize that the Furminator would work on a short haired dog, I just thought it was for dogs with an undercoat. I have been thinking about getting one for Sophie, but now that I know it might work for Theo and the cat, it sounds like I should.

  18. Love the video! Now I wish I'd one a St. Patrick's Day post.

  19. This was a great post, so informative!

  20. There are so many choices! Thanks for the info. It's overwhelming to go into the shop and have no clue where to start ~RascalandRocco


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