I know brushing your dog seems like a mundane task. And depending on the time of year, a rather furry one. However, just like you shower, brush your teeth and comb your hair, there’s more to it than vanity. It helps to maintain better health for your dog. My dog, Henry, is a testament to this fact. Today let’s dig in and discover an easy home dog fur brushing solution for you and your dog.
*Updated: November 2, 2023
Budget Tip: Sometimes it can feel like brushing your dog is a never-ending furry mess. However, it has vital benefits that are priceless. By brushing your dog regularly you keep on top of any skin issues and keep your dog comfortable. Plus, you keep your grooming bill in check. And you’re staying out front of any health issues caused by fur neglect. Bonus, bonus!!
- Mats can form and become painful
- Shedding can increase
- Bumps, lumps, fleas, parasites, and other skin can go undetected
- Dog becomes uncomfortable
When I rescued Henry he’d been abandoned with the trash. He was neglected. His fur was completely matted. It was difficult to tell if he was a dog or some other animal. What was certain is that he was uncomfortable and needed help, which he received. However, to get rid of his mats, he needed to be shaved from head to tail.
Thankfully under the mass of fur, he was relatively healthy.
Are there any other benefits to brushing your dog regularly?
Yes, there are a couple of great ones.
- Your dog looks good
- Gives you a chance to build your bond
When should you start brushing your dog’s fur?
I started brushing Henry the day after I got him. Of course, I let him settle in a bit. The next day I gave him a good once over-brushing. Naturally, I let him inspect the brush and made sure he was comfortable. But I wasn’t going to let him experience that neglect ever again.
In general, it’s recommended that you begin brushing your dog’s fur as soon as you get him/her. It’s a great way to start a bond. Plus, you’ll get to know his body, find out what he likes, and if there are any sore spots or areas your vet should inspect at your first visit.
Puppies too should start on a regular brushing routine even when they are still with their moms. Naturally, you need to be very gentle. Either use your hand or a brushing mitt.
Can I brush my dog every day?
Yes, a little maintenance brushing is recommended, especially if your dog is double-coated, has a heavy coat, or it’s the shedding season (yep, in the pet world it’s a season).
How often should I brush my dog’s coat?
It’s generally recommended to brush your dog’s fur, at least twice a week. However, this will depend on your dog’s fur and the season. For example, during shedding season you’ll want to brush your dog’s coat more regularly than in the non-shedding season. It’ll keep you from wearing so much fur.
Can I use a normal brush on my dog?
In a pinch, you can use a human comb on your dog. But honestly, it’s not a long-term solution. Dog brushes have evolved to the point that they are specific to a dog’s fur type. So, using the correct type of brush for your dog, helps to maintain a healthy coat.
How do I find the right brush for my dog?
I know it can be confusing. You basically, want to look for a brush that is made for your dog’s fur type. Some brushes say “for all fur types” some are more narrow and say “for double-coated fur types”. Pick the one that best fits your dog’s coat type.
Basic Dog Brush Guide:
- Bristle brush (comes in different bristle lengths and textures)
Dog: All types of dogs
Use: Removes dirt, adds shine, and finishes your dog’s look. This is a good everyday brush.
- Pin brush (often on the flip side of a bristle brush)
Dog: Medium-haired dogs, which include curly or wavy coats
Use: Helps remove mats and tangles
Dog: Medium to short-haired dogs
Use: After a bath, especially on short-haired dogs. It’s also great to use a rubber brush mitt on dogs and puppies who are getting used to being brushed. However, make sure to avoid sensitive areas. Rubber brushes are also great for breaking up dried mud and giving a massage.
Dog: Medium, long-haired, double-coated, wired, and curly or wavy coats
Use: Routine brushing tool. It can also be used to gently work a mat loose. I generally use a slicker brush on Henry daily.
Dog: Longer, thicker, or double-coated dogs
Use: Finishing tool or to aid in gently loosening a mat or tangle.
Dog: Long-haired and double-coated dogs
Use: Removes fur and helps with shedding. Additionally, it aids in removing mats.
Dog: Double-coated and long-haired dogs
Use: Removes fur from both the top and undercoat
Is brushing a dog’s fur the wrong way good?
You don’t like your hair brushed backward, right? It makes you look like you stuck your finger in a light socket. Besides the fact it just feels weird. You shouldn’t brush your dog’s fur backward either. The fur doesn’t want to grow that way.
Can I brush a wet dog?
It’s generally recommended to dry your dog and then brush him. However, there are a few exceptions. Such as applying a detangler for a mat. Also, a rubber brush on short fur is encouraged on wet fur after a bath. You can dislodge more loose fur if the brush is moved over the dog in circular motions while wet. Then brushed smoothed with the grain of the fur.
How long should I brush my dog’s hair?
This will honestly depend on your dog’s fur. However, overall you want to brush your entire dog and make sure there are no mats or other issues. Of course, you want to make the experience a good one for your dog. This may mean breaking your brushing sessions up into just a couple of minutes, but a few times a day.
In general, you can expect:
- Maintenance – a few minutes a day
- Shedding season – the general recommendation is for 15-20 minutes during
- After getting wet (swimming or wet weather) – dry and then brush, particularly the legs
- Pre-bath – could be as much as 15-20 minutes to get rid of any loose fur (this will also help your drain from getting clogged)
Tips For Matted Fur:
When you encounter a mat, sprinkle a bit of cornstarch on the mat and let it work it’s way through the mat. Then choose your mat remover brush and gently brush.
Spray the mat thoroughly with dog-friendly detanger spray and let it set for a bit. Don’t let it dry. Then gently brush with your choice of mat removing brushes.
Remember to not stress your dog out. Only have small sessions when working on a major mat.
If your dog is matted from nose to tail, you may want to consider seeking a great groomer for professional help. This way you won’t be stressed, your dog won’t be more stressed than necessary, you’ll know what’s under the mats, and if you need to take your dog to the veterinarian.
Is there anything to watch for when brushing my dog?
- Sore or tender areas.
- Bumps, lumps, or wounds
- Stickers, burrs, and plant material (thoroughly inspect the legs and paws)
- Mats (don’t forget behind the ears)
- Cuts or scrapes on the skin itself
- Fur growing into eyes (see tip below)
How do I brush my dog correctly?
Well, at least according to many groomers and long-time dog people. The point is to brush your dog in a positive way and regularly. As long as you brush all your dog’s fur and look at your entire dog, in a gentle way, there’s probably no right or wrong way. But here’s one approach:
- Start at top of the head
- Go to ears and face (be very, very gentle)
- Then onto the neck and chest
- Next, move to the legs, sometimes it’s best to lay your dog on his back
- Then move down to the belly
- Move to the sides
- From there roll your dog over and brush your dog’s back
- Finally, brush out the tail and hind end
- Make the experience positive, give treats throughout if needed
- Be patient when you begin brushing your dog and give your dog breaks
Tip: If your dog has fur growing over his eyes or the furs has crusted over his eyes, first try to push the fur away from poking into the eyes. Then take a warm washcloth and GENTLY apply it to the fur. This should break up the crude and allow you to wipe away the crust easily. This may take a few applications over a few sessions.
How can I brush an uncooperative dog?
- Make the experience positive – give treats or provide a chew toy
- Short sessions – get your dog used to the idea that this won’t be bad or last long
- Prepare your dog – if your dog has mats, prepare them ahead of time with cornstarch or a detangler spray
- A tired dog is your friend – exhaust your dog with a long walk or play session prior to brushing
- The introduction is key – let your dog get to know the brush(es) when not brushing and give treats
- Pet with intention – when petting, act as if your hand is a brush to get your dog used to the feeling
- Leashing is good – put your dog on a leash so there’s no escaping This is not playtime.
- Recall training – if your dog knows basic obedience commands such as sit, down, or stay, use them during your brushing session
- Brush gently and watch for cues – when you and your dog are ready, begin brushing. Be ready to back off areas your dog doesn’t want touched for now.
- Be prepared to stop – when your dog is over the experience. Know you made great strides and next time you both will do even more.
What’s a pet brushing solution for my dog?
Petting your dog to brush him/her is a great idea, especially if the fur is short or even medium. There are some brush mitts that work well. Or you can even get a rubber brush. However, go gently. Make sure your dog gets to sniff the brush. And make it fun with treats. Also, if you hit a spot your dog likes, then massage it for a bit. Conversely, if you hit a spot that causes your dog to flinch, note it and move on quickly. Honestly, brushing shouldn’t be painful for your dog.
Is brushing a husky the same as other dogs?
No! A husky is a major furball with two coats. That means an undercoat as well as a topcoat. You will want to brush your dog regularly to prevent mats. However, you won’t want to overbrush your dog, which could cause skin irritation. One great way to brush a husky is by working in sections. Think of the way your hairdresser cuts your hair in sections. Yep, the same way. Additionally, you’ll want to tackle the undercoat first and then work toward the top coat. But since a husky takes more time to brush, work in designated time frames. For example, after eating dinner, take 15 minutes to brush the hindquarters. Or before bed. Then it’s not so overwhelming for your dog or you.
What happens if you don’t brush your dog’s hair?
If you scroll back up and look at Henry in the upper left-hand section of the photo, you’ll see he was a matted mess. That can easily happen when your dog’s fur itsn’t brushed. Then that can lead to skin issues and, of course, vet bills, which can be simply be avoided. I know Henry is much happier being brushed than a matted mess. Plus, I can keep tabs on his body condition and look for any lumps, bumps, scratches, or other issues. All those are great reasons to regularly brush your dog.
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Summary of learning why your dog needs an easy home brushing solution
Your dog needs you to be active in his grooming to keep his fur healthy. In turn, you, keep at bay nasty things that can hide under fur mats. Of course, if your dog hasn’t been exposed to brushing, you’ll want to go slowly. Start slowly and then work your way around your dog. You can easily find a brush that is suited to your dog’s fur. Even if you have a dog that hates to be brushed, it’s possible to train him to like the process with patience and positive reinforcements. Your dog is worth the effort. Henry can tell you that fur neglect is no fun.