Grooming our dogs is an essential part of caring for them. Every dog is unique, and so are the individual grooming needs of each dog. Generally, short-haired dogs have fewer grooming needs compared to long-haired dogs, but how often dogs need their hair brushed, trimmed, and washed are dependent on the length, texture and density of their coat.
Coat care through brushing and combing helps to remove dead or loose hair (which reduces shedding) and foreign materials, prevents and removes knots that can cause discomfort, and keeps the coat shiny by distributing natural oils.
Regular grooming is essential for the health and welfare of all dogs, but some have greater grooming needs than others. Not only does it prevent painful mats from forming, it reduces shedding, allows you to sport lumps, bumps, parasites or skin issues, and keeps your pup looking their best. As a general rule of thumb, short-haired dogs should be brushed at least once a week, while medium and long-haired pets require daily brushing to keep them comfortable and reduce shedding. Double-coated dogs would also need daily brushing, whether their coats are long or short.
Did you know that water makes mats worse? Always brush your dog and remove mats before bathing them. This way, you’ll wash lesser hair down the drain. After bathing or if your dog has gotten wet, dry them up and brush again to remove any knots, and this can help prevent painful mats from forming. Brushing a dog becomes even more critical during shedding season. Brush your dog daily according to their coat type.
For single-coated dogs, brush in the direction of hair growth, starting with a soft brush or wide tooth comb to remove any dirt or debris and loosen any knots. Then, use a brush or comb with finer teeth to remove any stubborn tangles, gently holding the fur at the base to avoid the skin. If your dog tends to struggle or the matt is close to the skin, it will be better to leave it to a professional. Having the correct brushing equipment will make it easier for you and your dog. Long-haired dogs need brushes with longer bristles and combs with long, wider teeth, whereas short-haired dogs needs brushes need short or soft bristle brushes and combs with fine teeth.
For double-coated dogs, start with brushing the undercoat in the direction of hair growth, and then going in the other direction against the skin if needed to gently remove loose fur. This requires special equipment such as a slicker brush for short-haired double coats, and an undercoat rake followed by a wide tooth comb for dogs with a long-haired double coat. After working on the undercoat, continue by brushing the top coat in the direction of hair growth using a bristle brush or grooming mitt to remove any loose hairs.
Does your short-haired dog have an undercoat? If the answer is yes, it is recommended to brush them at least once every other day because loose hairs caught in the undercoat could irritate their skin. For long-haired dogs, it is recommended to brush them every day, and if you want to keep your dog’s coat longer, twice a day. It is important to brush your dogs to prevent tangles, as this could form close to the skin where they do the most damage. If those tangles go undetected, they could become painful mats that tug at your dog’s skin. If you don’t have time to brush your dog regularly, groomers will probably suggest more frequent visits to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.
Some dogs don’t enjoy being brushed, especially if it is a new experience. The key is to start small and you can also make use of treats. Allow your dog to sniff the brush, then reward them with a small treat. Brush a few strokes, then reward with another treat. Gradually increase the length of time you brush your dog before rewarding them, and finish with a big treat when you’re all done.
It can be fun caring for our dogs, but as with many areas of pet care, brushing can be a steep learning curve. Consult a professional for advice about the individual needs of your dog whenever necessary. With the right knowledge and equipment, you and your dog should be able to enjoy regular brushing sessions.
Any views or opinions communicated on this page belong to the author and do not represent the views or opinions of any other organizations. This article is meant for us to share our own views and opinions in general. Kindly consult a professional if you would like to seek professional advice.
Adopted from sources
– A Complete Guide To Brushing A Dog The Right Way, According To A Pro Groomer. By Jennifer Nelson, Be Chewy.
– How Often Should You Groom Your Dog? By RSPCA Pet Insurance.
– How Often Should I Groom My Dog? By Melissa Allen, The Dog People, Rover.
– Images of dogs, Pexels.