Dog Tricks, Tips and Insights - Brushing Your Dog your dog's photo on real stamps

Brushing Your Dog

THE BRUSH

Use a slicker brush (or rake), and use it gently. Those "bristles" can really hurt his skin if you aren't gentle.

WHY SHOULD BRUSH YOUR DOG?

The following list is of reasons to brush your dog's coat - even if he has short fur that doesn't tangle or mat.
  • Brushing your dog goes a long way towards keeping his coat clean.
  • He enjoys the brushing itself, the close contact, and the extra attention.
  • Brushing removes the extra hairs. (If you brush often enough, there won't be anything extra for him to shed on his own.)
  • Brushing makes his coat looks very nice because (long-haired dogs) it removes mats and (all dogs) adds sheen.
  • While brushing your dog's coat, you can do a quick check for any problems (foxtails, cuts, mange, hot spots, etc.)

WHERE TO BEGIN

After a bath, we start with his face. Although his face isn't very hairy, it helps the hairs dry quicker and look smoother. Tangles and mats can form behind the ears, so we give that area special attention. While holding the ear with one hand, brush with the other. This way, the brushing won't be yanking his ear too much. Brush all of his hair in two ways as you go. Brush in the direction the hair grows to start, then go the opposite way after the hair is tangle free. This makes his hair stand up nicely. Tangles can also form on the tail, on the backs of his legs, and in his "armpits." Start the brushing at the ends of the hairs and work closer and closer to the skin. This will usually untangle the hair nicely.

If you are gentle, brushing is a very pleasant experience for him and a nice way for you two to bond. He loves the attention!

HOW TO REMOVE MATS

(If your dog's coat is matted, bathing him first will make the mats much harder to deal with.)

If you run into a mat, you will need a dematting comb. Use the end of the comb only (like you would if you were making a part), which unties the mats - you would never be able to comb or brush through the mats anyway. This method almost always takes care of all mats so you don't have to cut them off, but you really have to keep this up with a dog that has a long coat or they can get out of hand.

When we use a grooming service, we stress that they are not allowed to cut mats off. If they don't know how to untangle a mat, we will do that part ourselves - then pick a different groomer the next time we use one.

WHAT CAUSES MATS?

A mat is actually hair from his undercoat that has become loose and gotten stuck in some of his topcoat. When long-haired dogs shed for the warm weather, you can speed this along by giving him a good brushing. You will find that the brush will get full of hair quickly. Just pull this hair off and throw it into a bag. If your dog's coat feels coarse and thin, you have gotten all of the undercoat, he will feel much cooler, and he shouldn't shed anymore for the year. (Some people throw the undercoat hair away, but some actually spin this like wool and knit things with it!) The best way to deal with mats is to prevent them by brushing him often, especially when the weather warms up.

After your dog is clean, dry and tangle free, he is gorgeous. You know what else? HE knows it too. He will prance around like a king.

Tip

- Try one of these to help or possibly eliminate doggy odor:

  • Odor Free for Dogs by 21st Century - Spray beef-flavored Odor Free on your dog's food at each feeding and you'll begin to notice a reduction of bad breath, stool, urine and body odors in as little as 10 days. This vet-approved blend is safe for puppies/dogs of all ages. Works with dog's digestive system to naturally neutralize odors.


  • Breath and Body Therasticks by Cardinal Easy to feed Breath and Body Freshener formula contains chlorophyll and sunflower, parsley seed, peppermint and rosemary oils -- all natural ingredients that cure odor problems. Chewing action also cleans teeth. 30 Sticks per package.


  • STUBBORN doggy odor may not really be doggy odor at all. See More Dog Tips to find out what the real problem could be and how to fix it once and for all.

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