A Complete Guide to Brushing a Dog the Right Way, According to a Pro Groomer

By: Jennifer NelsonUpdated:

brushing dogs: pet parent brushing a dog

A Complete Guide to Brushing a Dog the Right Way, According to a Pro Groomer

Connect with a Vet

When it comes to brushing dogs, did you know that you shouldn’t brush a Pug the same way you would a Poodle? And that a Boxer requires a different set of brushes compared to a Pomeranian?

Not all dog brushes and dog brushing methods are created equal. Brushing a dog requires different tools, techniques and frequencies that all depend on the dog’s coat type. And it’s important to get it right, because it can help prevent matting and other skin issues later on.

Ahead, we’ll talk about the different coat types; popular dog breeds of each coat type; which type of brush each coat type needs; and when and how to brush a dog.

When it comes to brushing dogs, did you know that you shouldn’t brush a Pug the same way you would a Poodle? And that a Boxer requires a different set of brushes compared to a Pomeranian?

Not all dog brushes and dog brushing methods are created equal. Brushing a dog requires different tools, techniques and frequencies that all depend on the dog’s coat type. And it’s important to get it right, because it can help prevent matting and other skin issues later on.

Ahead, we’ll talk about the different coat types; popular dog breeds of each coat type; which type of brush each coat type needs; and when and how to brush a dog.

Best Dog Brushes and Brushing Methods for Your Dog’s Coat Type

As mentioned, you’ll want to use different brushing methods for different coat types. Using the wrong brush could damage your dog’s fur, and improper technique could cause mats or skin irritation.

To find the best brush for your dog, take a look at the different coat types below and the suggestions for brushing those types of dogs.

Pro Tip: No matter your dog’s coat type, always brush your dog’s fur in the direction that it grows.

Brushing Dogs With Short, Smooth Coats

german shorthaired pointers
Photo: Evgenia Glinskaia/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The most popular dog breeds with short, smooth coats include:

For pet parents with dogs who have short hair, use rubber brushes, like the Kong Dog ZoomGroom, at least once a week. Run it along the fur using medium to firm pressure.

Dogs with smooth coats typically don’t shed much, but if your dog is the exception, you can use the FURminator Short Hair Dog Deshedding Tool no more than once a week. Use short, gentle strokes, and don’t go over the same spot more than three times; you can cause bald spots or brush burn.

KONG Dog ZoomGroom Multi-Use Brush
$10.50
FURminator Short Hair Dog Deshedding Tool
$35.25

Brushing Dogs With Short or Medium Double Coats

Image
Photo: VictorRicoFoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Dogs with short or medium double coats include:

For dogs with short double coats, like Labrador Retrievers and Pugs, use a rubber brush, like the KONG ZoomGroom, at least once a week—and as often as every day using medium to firm pressure.

If your pup has a medium double coat, like German Shepherds, Corgis and Huskies, start with a slicker brush, like the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. Use medium pressure to brush in the direction of fur growth.

To help reduce shedding, use a metal comb, like the Andis Steel Comb, or an undercoat rake, like the ConairPROPET. Pull the comb or rake through your dog’s hair, being careful not to pull too hard when you reach a clump of fur.

When the fur really flies, you can use a deshedding tool, like the FURminator, no more than once a week. Use light pressure, and don’t go over the same spot more than three times.

Hertzko Self-Cleaning Dog & Cat Slicker Brush
$11.47
Andis Steel Pet Comb
$9.11
ConairPROPET Dog Undercoat Rake
$13.51
FURminator Short Hair Dog Deshedding Tool
$35.25

Brushing Dogs With Long Double Coats

Image
Photo: antares71 via Getty Images

The most common dog breeds with long double coats include:

This coat type is tricky because it sheds a lot and can get matted. A few times a week, use a slicker brush, like the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, to remove undercoat and prevent mats.

Once a week (and more often during shedding season), pull a rake, like the ConairPROPET, through your dog’s fur to remove more undercoat. Up to once a week, you can also use a deshedding tool, like the Pet Republique Dematting Rake. Use short strokes with medium pressure to get out more undercoat than the slicker brush and rake can manage.

If your pooch has mats you can’t brush out, use the Master Grooming Tools Dematting Tool to gently pick them apart, from the top of the mat to the bottom. Keep a comb between the mat and your pup’s skin, as you can cut your dog if you aren’t careful! Let a dog groomer shave mats that are next to the skin.

Hertzko Self-Cleaning Dog & Cat Slicker Brush
$11.47
Pet Republique Dematting Rake
$11.59
Master Grooming Tools Ergonomic Pet Dematting Tool
$12.18
ConairPROPET Dog Undercoat Rake
$13.51

Brushing Dogs With Curly or Wavy Coats

bichon frise
Photo: SStajic/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Popular pups with curly or wavy coats include:

Curly and wavy coats mat easily and require daily, regular brushing unless you keep your dog’s coat clipped short. Every day, use a slicker brush, like the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Brush, followed by a metal comb, like the Andis Steel Pet Comb.

The key is to make sure you’re brushing down to your dog’s skin. Here’s how:

  1. Start at your pup’s feet, lift a section of hair, and brush underneath the raised hair. Move your way up your dog with this technique.
  2. You can then use the metal comb to check for mats and tangles you missed with the brush.

You should be able to get the comb through all your dog’s fur. For mats you can’t brush out, use a dematter, like the Master Grooming Tools Dematting Tool, to pick them apart gently. This tool is sharp and can cut your dog, so keep a comb between the mat and your pup’s skin. If you notice mats that are close to the skin, enlist the help of a professional groomer to shave them.

Hertzko Self-Cleaning Dog & Cat Slicker Brush
$11.47
Andis Steel Pet Comb
$9.11
Master Grooming Tools Ergonomic Pet Dematting Tool
$12.18

Brushing Dogs With Straight Coats

Image
Photo: grase/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Dog breeds with straight coats include:

Whether fine or thick, straight coats can be tricky to keep brushed out. If you choose to keep your dog in a short clip, use a slicker brush, like the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, a couple of times per week. Use medium pressure, and make sure you brush down to the skin.
If you keep your pup in a longer clip or a full coat, one of the best long hair dog brushes is the Safari Wire Pin Brush. Work on the hair one section at a time. Starting at your dog’s feet, lift a section of hair and brush underneath. Using this technique, gradually make your way up your dog.
Pro Tip: Holding a section of hair while you brush the end helps you not to yank on your pup’s skin.
After using the slicker brush or pin brush, use a metal comb, like the Andis Steel Pet Comb, to check for mats you missed. You should be able to get the comb through all your dog’s fur.
Hertzko Self-Cleaning Dog & Cat Slicker Brush
$11.47
Safari Wire Pin Brush
$13.49
Andis Steel Pet Comb
$9.11

Brushing Dogs With Wire Coats

Image
Photo: Tatyana Kalmatsuy via Getty Images

Some of the most common dog breeds with wire coats include:

Brush dogs with wiry coats about once a week to remove undercoats and keep them looking nice. Use gentle pressure with a slicker brush, like the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, then run a metal comb, like the Andis Steel Pet Comb, through the hair.
Hertzko Self-Cleaning Dog & Cat Slicker Brush
$11.47
Andis Steel Pet Comb
$9.11

When Should I Brush My Dog?

We’ve already talked about how often to brush each coat type, but there are other times you’ll want to brush your pup too.

Before and After a Bath

Did you know that water makes mats worse? Always brush your dog and remove mats before bathing them. You’ll also wash less hair down the drain this way.

After the bath and once your dog is dry, brush them again to remove any knots, prevent mats and help them look their best.

During Shedding Season

Brushing a dog becomes even more critical during shedding season, which usually takes place during the spring and fall months.

Brush your dog daily with a rubber brush or slicker brush, then once a week with a deshedding tool that suits their coat type.

Why Is Brushing a Dog Important?

There are many reasons brushing a dog is a crucial part of giving them the best life. Brushing your dog:

  • Prevents painful mats from forming
  • Reduces shedding
  • Allows you to spot lumps, bumps, parasites and skin issues
  • Keeps your pup looking their best
  • Is a wonderful bonding opportunity

How To Keep Dogs Calm During Brushing

Some dogs don’t like to be brushed, especially if it’s a new experience. The key is to start small and use plenty of treats.

Allow your pup to sniff the brush, then give them 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, like a bully stick, when you’re done.

Brushing a dog is a critical part of keeping them healthy and happy, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. As long as you keep up with it, brushing your dog can be something you both enjoy. If you’re struggling to keep your dog brushed out, don’t hesitate to ask your local groomer for tips. And remember: The best way to brush a dog is whatever works for both you and your pup!

About the author: Jennifer Nelson was a professional dog groomer for more than 12 years before turning her passion for pets into a freelance writing career. She enjoys teaching people how to give their pets the best lives possible through dog grooming tips, health information and food recommendations.

Brushing a dog is a critical part of keeping them healthy and happy, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. As long as you keep up with it, brushing your dog can be something you both enjoy. If you’re struggling to keep your dog brushed out, don’t hesitate to ask your local groomer for tips. And remember: The best way to brush a dog is whatever works for both you and your pup!

About the author: Jennifer Nelson was a professional dog groomer for more than 12 years before turning her passion for pets into a freelance writing career. She enjoys teaching people how to give their pets the best lives possible through dog grooming tips, health information and food recommendations.

Share:

By: Jennifer NelsonUpdated:

Adult Dog