A dog’s fur needs regular combing and brushing to keep him healthy and clean. Hair picks up dirt, debris and sometimes pests, such as fleas. Over time, dirty fur can become matted which can irritate a dog’s sensitive skin. Routine maintenance to his coat makes him look and feel better and helps prevent hygiene issues. You should purchase a general grooming comb and, depending on the type of dog you own, a couple different types of brushes. Pin brushes are great for long-haired dogs, while bristle brushes are good all-around tools for most types of coats, including those with shorter hair. Rake brushes are designed to groom a dog’s thick undercoat if your pet has one (collies and shepherds, for example), and mat combs are good for brushing out dogs with frequently matted fur. Slicker brushes are good for removing dead fur and when used regularly, cut down on the amount of shed hair that often gets everywhere. These are often designed like a glove for easy, hands-on fur removal. Also, use a flea comb to check your pet for the little pests.
Short-haired breeds should be brushed weekly while longer-haired pups, like sheepdogs, may require daily brushings.
If you’re unsure what your pet’s breed requires for grooming, consult a breeder or veterinarian for advice.
Use a spray-on coat conditioner to mist your dog’s coat before brushing to prevent discomfort from tiny snags and static electricity.
Don’t use a comb if your dog has a lot of tangles or mats. Use one of the above brushes and the conditioner instead.
If your dog bites when scared and grooming makes him nervous, muzzle him before you start any grooming.
Stubborn mats can be removed by working some liquid tangle remover into the fur. Let it sit and then try to work the mats out with your fingers or gently with a mat comb. Then, brush through it. If that’s ineffective, see Step 2.