It is very important to keep your dog brushed as it provides a healthy coat through removing debris and tangles as well as evenly spreads the natural oils that make the coat shiny and healthy looking. Along with proper diet a regular brushing is one of the most important services you can provide for your pet. There are numerous types of dog brushes in the marketplace to choose from, some with specific uses.
You need to begin by picking a dog brush for your dog’s coat whether it is a long or short as well as hair or fur. You would be surprised if you have no experience with different breeds what breeds shed and which do not. For instance a poodle does not shed much as poodles have hair. In contracts a Labrador retriever, a short fur dog, sheds constantly and more when the seasons change.
What’s the difference? Really as far as the composition there is no difference between the two. They are made up of keratin the same chemical that is in nails and skin. The differences lie in hair has a longer growing cycle and a different texture than fur. The growth cycles of hair/fur are Anagen (new growth), Catagen (transition phase), Telogen (rest phase), Exogen (hair falls out and the process starts again). Hair grows continuously while fur sheds with the anagen phase being shorter. Fur is shorter in length and has, in the cooler months, an undercoat which hair does not.
Ok with that definition out of the way you should be able to determine the coat of the dog and pick the proper tools for the job. Be aware of sensitive skin as well as the length of the coat and choose accordingly. Gentle is the way to go with sensitive skin and you must pick combs or brushes with rounded tips. Use easy gentle strokes, your dog will let you know if you are too rough.
A dog slicker brush is made for controlling shedding and are constructed of wires that are bent at an angle. Used on long coat dogs these brushes remove mats and hair. The thickness of the coat should determine the stiffness of the brush pins. Stiffer brushes should be used on thicker coats. These brushes can be used on wire haired dogs. You should use short strokes with the slicker brush.
Rubber brushes are very gentle and can be used with both long and short hair coats. The Zoom Groom dog brush is the most popular and adds a nice massage when in use. Because they are made of rubber they can be used in wet conditions which will aid in the collection of loose hair during or after bath time. They are very easy to clean hair out of.
Pin brushes have a rubber base with metal pins coming out of the base. They are made for curly or long coats. You should get one that has either coated pins or pins with polished ends so you do not scratch the skin. The pins on these brushes come in different lengths and sizes for different types of coats.
A Bristle dog brush is used mainly for short hair coats but can be used as a finishing tool for longer hair coats. The bristle can be synthetic or natural and are in a stiff tight pattern. The bristles make it harder to clean the hair from so if used on a short hair coat only use when not shedding or as a finish to remove dirt.
A combo dog brush has bristles on one side and metal pins on the other.
There are also mittens or gloves that have rubber palms with short bumps and are used mainly for removing loose hair. Instead of combing the coat you massage in circular patterns. The hair is easy to remove due to the short length of the rubber nibs.
There are lots to choose from out there. Before you spend your money make sure you have the right tool for the coat you are grooming. For our Labrador retrievers I have used the Zoom Groom and the mittens with great success. Labs shed a lot and it is a constant challenge to control the shedding so it doesn’t get around your house. However it is quality time spent with your dog and they love it.