With so many different types of grooming brushes out there, choosing the one that's perfect for your dog may seem like a Herculean task. Fortunately, choosing the right brush becomes much simpler when you take into consideration your dog's coat type.
Brushes for Short or Smooth Coats
Dogs that have smooth coats—such as Chihuahuas and boxers—or short coats—like beagles and pugs—have fur that lies close to the skin, giving the dog a sleek appearance. Grooming these types of dogs is comparatively simple, and normally they require only one type of brush, a stiff-bristle brush. Bristle brushes contain tightly packed bristles that can be made of either synthetic or natural fibers, or in some cases rubber. A bristle brush will remove loose hair from your dog's coat, as well as stimulate his skin.
Brushes for Long or Silky Coats
Dogs with long or silky coats should be brushed regularly to prevent matted fur and tangles. Slicker brushes have fine wires that are evenly spaced on a flat brush. This configuration of wire bristles allows the slicker brush to untangle and remove shed fur, in addition to moving oils from the skin to the hair shaft. Be gentle when using a slicker brush, as overuse or forceful pulling can cause discomfort to your dog.
When brushing a long- or silky-coated dog, you can use a pin brush to finish off the dog's coat when there are no more mats or tangles present. Pin brushes resemble brushes that people use on their own hair, and can be used to smooth or fluff a coat that has already been brushed with a slicker.
Brushes for Wavy or Curly Coats
Dogs with curly or wavy coats—poodles and English sheepdogs, for example—don't shed, and therefore require brushing not to remove dead hair, but rather to remove knots and tangles. As with long-coated dogs, you can use a slicker brush to eliminate mats in the fur. In addition to this, use a medium- or wide-toothed comb to separate tangles and keep the coat looking neat.
Brushes for Double or Wiry Coats
Double-coated dogs—including Pomeranians, collies and Siberian huskies—have two distinct coat textures: medium to long guard hairs and a thick, water-resistant undercoat. Wire-coated dogs—including many breeds of terriers—have a similar coat type, with a dense undercoat and wiry guard hairs. The undercoat can easily become matted as your dog sheds, leaving dead fur trapped. An undercoat rake contains one or two rows of metal pins and is designed to penetrate your dog's fur and grab the shed hair that lies close to his skin. An undercoat rake works best when its pins are approximately the same length as your dog's fur. Finish off by brushing the outer hairs with a slicker brush, and then neaten with a comb.
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