Regularly brushing a dog is important for both their comfort and their health.
It helps to keep a dog clean, distributes natural oils through the coat, prevents matting, increases circulation and reduces shedding.
By removing the loose hair and dead skin cells from the coat it can also help reduce allergens around the home for the humans.
Long haired breeds in particular are prone to developing tangled matted clumps of hair which can harbor bacteria or bugs and pull at your dog’s skin, causing them pain and inflamed skin.
Choosing the right brush or grooming tool for your dog’s coat
Choosing the right brush or grooming tool for your dog is also important when brushing a dog.
If you have a dog with a double coat, use a de-shedding brush or rake to remove the undercoat to help keep them cool in summer and avoid matting in the winter.
By removing the undercoat it allows the air to circulate and the skin to breath. A lot of people mistakenly think shaving their dog’s coat keeps them cool in the Summer, but it is actually the under coat that needs to be removed, not the protective outer layer.
A slicker brush with very fine metal pins is a good all-purpose brush that suits most breeds.
Rubber brushes or gloves are excellent for removing excess hair and giving your pet a massage. And who doesn’t love a massage?
For longer coats use a conditioning spray and comb to gently ease out any tangles before finishing with a brush.
Tips to remove matts – it’s important!
If your dog does have matted hair, use a comb and hold it gently at the base, spray it with detangling spray then gently work it out from the top.
Some knots can’t be combed out either so they have to be cut out to keep your dog pain free, or worse, shaved to the skin at the groomers, which can put your dog at risk of being injured. So it is really important that we try to avoid this with regular brushing.
How often should you be brushing a dog?
The rule of thumb for brushing a dog is once a week then an extra brush for ever centimetre of hair per week, or even every day if your dog loves it or has a double coat. It really is the way to go.
Don’t just focus on the back and butt either, most matts form behind the ears, under the chin, armpits and their stomachs.
For more information on how often brush a particular breed of dog, click HERE.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a NDTF certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training and boarding business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of Eat, Play, Love Your Dog.