How to brush your dog

Learning how to brush a dog is a simple way to strengthen the bond between you and your pet in addition to the other benefits that come with grooming. Regular grooming sessions keep your dog’s coat clean and healthy and minimize shedding. Consistent dog brushing also allows you to check for cuts, bumps, or other skin problems that may need attention.

Common dog brushes

Proper grooming requires the right brush for your dog’s coat. The following is a list of common dog brushes and their use.

Bristle Brush: These come in a wide variety of styles and can be used on any type of coat. Longer, widely-spaced bristles are better for dogs with longer coats, while shorter, tightly-packed bristles are made for short-haired dogs.

Wire Pin Brush: These dog brushes work well on dogs with medium to long hair or those with curly coats.

Slicker Brush: A slicker brush is used to take out mats and tangles and to smooth your dog’s coat after using a bristle or wire pin brush.

Undercoat Rake: An undercoat rake is a necessity for dogs with a double-coat such as Siberian Huskies or Newfoundlands. It removes dead hair from the undercoat, as the name suggests.

Dog Comb: Useful for combing out hair after detangling or to create that final, feathered look in long-haired dogs. There’s also a flea comb that has tightly spaced teeth to take care of flea problems.

General brushing instructions

You can brush your dog either on the floor or a grooming table. Have him lay down or use a lead and collar for more control. If he squirms too much, place your knee on the leash close to the collar to hold him in place and keep your hands free.

Start at the front and brush hair against the direction of growth

Choose one side and brush your dog from his head back to his tail. Work with small sections and brush the hair against the direction of growth. Make sure to part the hair down to the skin to prevent matting. Repeat the process on the other side.

Continue at the rear and brush hair in the direction of growth

When you’re done brushing from head to tail, work your way from the tail forward. This time brush in the direction of hair growth.

These are only general instructions for how to brush a dog. You should consult a professional groomer or your breeder for specifics on brushing your dog. This is particularly true if he has long hair or his coat is excessively matted or tangled.

How often to brush a dog

Ideally, you’ll want to brush your dog every day to start. For a puppy especially, this will get him used to being groomed so you can avoid brushing-related behavior problems in the future.

How often you brush your dog after he’s used to it will depend on the length of his coat. You can stick with once a day, but most short-haired dogs only need to be brushed once a week. Dogs with thick coats will need to be brushed two or three times a week, more often during the beginning of spring and fall when shedding is the worst. Dogs with long hair will likely require daily grooming to avoid tangles or mats.

If you fit dog brushing into your daily routine, you’ll keep your dog’s coat clean and healthy and build his trust in you.