dog teeth brushing

Regular Brushing Routine/Technique

Most dogs will benefit from being brushed out nose-to-tail, weekly.  There are many different coat types so your technique would vary depending on what your dog needs.  Shedding dogs can benefit from monthly bathing—you use a rubber curry with the shampoo and conditioner in the tub to turn loose the loose hair.  Then after air-drying, use a fine-toothed comb forward and reverse through the coat to release more hair.  Why do they shed so much?  Dogs have 7-25 hairs per follicle…compare that to what we humans have—one hair per follicle!   As each hair reaches the length it is supposed to be, the follicle releases it and starts a new hair.  That is why your shedding dog has so much hair to share!

Photo by Urilux/iStock / Getty Images

Those of you who carefully chose a dog to avoid all that shedding hair?  Congratulations!  Your dog’s hair will need to be trimmed!  And it will tangle and mat if you don’t brush it out weekly.  Generally, this is not a problem if you have a schedule with your groomer during which the hair remains at manageable lengths.  Your dog will enjoy the weekly or nightly brushing times on your lap while you catch up on your favorite TV shows and movies.  Especially if you give him a delicious treat after that “work.”  I must award a treat to both my dogs, because each is so pained to see me lavishing so much concentrated attention on the other.  The only way to make it bearable is to award a treat to both the brushed and un-brushed dog.  LOL. 

So…brushing your fluffy non-shedding dog.  You need a slicker brush, a comb, and a misting spray that might be water or might be something to make the hair more slippery to untangle.  A slicker brush is the one with all the little wires all bent at an angle.  Because of the way these brushes are made, they tend to be scratchy if you pull it through the coat like a regular human hair brush.  You can feel this if you test on your forearm and wrist.  What you want to do, is Tap and Tug, or Pat and Pull.  Make contact and then lift out of the coat.  If there are tangles, there may be a faint static sound. You might mist the area, and repeat the Pat and Pull.  Repeating gently but with enough pressure to reach the skin, should separate the hairs so that a comb can pass through like butter.  If the comb is NOT passing through like butter, go back to that area with the slicker brush.  This time, imagine you are sketching an asterisk on the sticky spot, with the slicker.  Tap and tug, lightly, until the brush slides easily through to the skin.   When you make skin contact, check with the comb and then move on to an adjacent area.  It sounds like a lot, but really goes quickly when the coat is mostly in good shape and you are enjoying the bonding, massage-like experience with your encouraging canine friend.