How to Keep Your Dog Looking Their Best
Once your dog returns from having a grooming session with us, you’ll want to keep up their coat with regular brushing. The Animal Humane Society recommends brushing your dog every couple of days no matter how long the coat is. Regular brushing helps remove dead hair and skin, distributes natural oils throughout for a cleaner and healthier coat, and stimulates the skin’s surface.
Different dog breeds have different coats, of course, which can change how you brush your pet. It also means that different coats require different tools for brushing.
Here are some tips on brushing your dog based on the type of coat they have:
A Primer on Different Types of Dog Coats
You’ll want to start by identifying which type of coat your dog has. There are several types to choose from:
- Short, smooth coats like you'll see on Chihuahuas, Greyhounds and Bulldogs.
- Short, wiry coats, which you'll normally see these on breeds like Terriers.
- Thin, fluffy coats: These are common for Yorkies and Maltese are a couple of examples.
- Thick, hard outer coats with soft undercoats: Breeds with this coat include Collies, Shepherds, Chows, Pomeranians and Corgis.
- Combination coats: These types of coats have long or thick hair in some areas, and shorter, thinner hair in others. Breeds with this type include Border Collies and Brittany dogs.
- Medium to long coats: These are the coats on Golden Retrievers, Spaniels and Setters. Combination coats could also be in this category.
How Many Layers of Fur are There?
Another important factor to keep in mind is how many layers of fur the dog has. Dogs can have multiple layers, which can radically alter how they need to be brushed. For instance, double coats on a dog can mean needing special brushes or combs. These are designed to get at both layers of the coat to get rid of loose and dead hair.
Puppy Coats vs. Adult Coats
Dogs have different coats as puppies than they’ll have as adults. The technical term for a puppy growing into his adult coat is known as "shedding a coat," according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Puppies come into their adult coats between 4 to 6 months on average, though it can be different for each breed.
A main difference between a puppy coat and an adult coat is that puppies have a single coat of fluffy, down-soft fur, and this coat will later turn thicker and stiffer. Different breeds will grow their distinctive adult coats. For instance, double coat dogs will grow two layers of fur, while single coat dogs will just grow their adult fur.
You can check sites like the AKC to see what type of coat you will be brushing as your puppy grows and when to expect that adult coat. This gets harder for a mixed breed, however.
When in doubt, check with us and we are happy to advise you!
Tip: When first brushing your puppy or new dog, start slow. Let the dog smell and see the brush. Then brush while giving treats and praise. Keep the sessions short and increase the time as your puppy or dog becomes more relaxed during brushing.
Grooming Tools For Different Types of Coats
If you’ve been to the pet store, you may be baffled by the sheer amount of different types of pet brushes for sale. But certain tools are best for certain coats. Here's what we recommend:
- Bristle brush: This is the typical brush people think of when they think of dog brushes. They have closely spaced nylon or boar bristles. These types of brushes work with short or wiry coats.
- Slicker brush: You’ll recognize this brush by its flat or curved head with thin wire pins. These are actually great for all coat types because they can detangle and remove loose fur on all coat lengths.
- Pin brush: This brush has larger pins that are tipped with rubber or plastic. They’re great for long and flowing coats.
- Shedding blade: It sounds scary, but it’s just a curved comb with smaller teeth. They’re helpful for removing loose fur on flat, short or combo coats.
- Undercoat rake: This is a comb tool with large, wildly spaced pins. They work well for heavy and double coats that are hard to penetrate with other brushes.
- FURminator: This popular brush brand is great for a variety of coats: combination, short, flat, heavy or double. A popular model is a narrow-toothed comb, but it comes with a button that retracts the pins to release the fur. It’s advertised to reduce shedding up to 90 percent. We typically use a FURminator when grooming pets with long fur.
Your brush technique will depend on the type of brush you are using. Make sure to read the instructions on the brush carefully.
With so many different types of coats and brushes out there, it may feel overwhelming. Remember, if you have any questions about how to brush your dog specifically, we can help give you tips.
Feel free to call us at 844-484-7666 or schedule an appointment. If your dog has been to see us, we’ll be familiar with their individual coat type and brushing needs.