Brushing Hair & Fur
Brushing your dog is one of the most important parts of maintaining your dog’s health. It keeps your dog’s hair free from mats and tangles, removes trapped particles and objects, and allows you to keep an eye on his skin which can reveal skin infections, disease and injuries. Your pet will also love the attention that you lather on him or her.
When you brush the pet’s hair, spread it apart so you can see the skin underneath. Visually check for redness, rash, cuts, blood, insect bites, bruises and bumps. You will become familiar with it, and be able to recognize when something is different much sooner than if you do not do this on a regular basis.
It is important to brush your dog to keep his hair mat free. Mats form when you allow your dog’s hair to tangle. Mats are tight balls of hair that are hard to separate. They grow larger and larger if not removed. Mats also form tightly to the skin, making them painful over time, and restricting mobility.
Mats on the feet can splay the feet and make walking painful. They can become smelly, harbor insects or debris, and create numerous skin problems. Mats should always be carefully removed with a mat breaking grooming tool or carefully cut out with a pair of scissors.
It also helps them to relax and creates bonding with you and your pet. Start when they are young and keep to a regular schedule but it is never too late to start. If you start on an older dog that has not had regular grooming, take your time and do a bit at a time, and make it a fun experience.
If you have a dog that needs regular grooming through a groomer then regular brushing will make that a pleasant experience as apposed to one where they have to be de-matted before they are clipped.
Regular brushing is a win-win situation.
Not All Dogs are the Same
Dogs that are double-coated breeds will have a thick undercoat which is shed out twice a year. This undercoat must be removed or it will mat. The part of the undercoat that does not mat will come out on it’s own and settle on your furniture or clothes and will leave your dog looking like a mess. The tools that you need for doing this are a rake, a Furminator, and de-shedding tools.
Terriers and wiry coated breeds have hair that is rough in texture and doesn’t shed the same way as a normal dog. Terriers normally have had their hair plucked out or stripped to keep their coat texture true to nature. The best tools for these coats are a pin brush, a stripping grooming tool, and a flea comb. A flea comb has tightly set teeth, and it will grab dead hairs and pull them out as you comb
Silky coated breeds like Yorkshire terriers and Maltese have hair, not fur. It will continue to grow and grow and it has a very silky texture. These dogs need pin brushes and combs to keep the hair tangle free and in top condition.
For shorter coated breeds like retrievers, slicker brushes and Furminator de-shedding tools work very well, as do grooming gloves.
When to Brush Your Dog
Dogs should be introduced to brushing when they are young puppies so it becomes part of their routine. Even very short haired dogs should be brushed as it is beneficial to the skin.
It is probably smart to let them have their bathroom and exercise time before the brushing so they can work off some of their excess energy.
With puppies start with light brushing and reinforce with something positively, such as a treat, toy, playtime, or show of affection. If they really balk at it, try to focus on the treat, while stroking lightly with the brush. Use a soft or pin brush at first, even if it is not the correct brush because it is soft and gentle and feels good to them. The better the first experience is, the more they will come to enjoy it later on. The first few sessions should only last a few minutes as to not create a negative experience.
In the next few blogs I will describe the various types of brushes and how to use them on the different coat types.