What Kind of Brush Do I Use for My Dog?

Dog brushes are available for every type of dog coat.
Dog brushes are available for every type of dog coat. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The kind of brush to use to groom your dog depends on the type of coat your dog has. Single coats are called hair coats, while double coats with thick undercoats are called fur coats. Dogs with hair coats take much less effort to groom than dogs with fur coats. Single-coated dog breeds include the Pinscher and greyhound families and long, silky haired dogs like Maltese and Afghans. Dog breeds with double coats include German shepherds, Rottweilers, huskies, border collies and Labrador retrievers.

Short Single-Hair Coat Brush

A short-haired dog with a single coat is the easiest dog to groom. Whether the coat is soft and silky or consists of short, hard hairs, brushing it with a soft bristle brush will remove the dust from the hair and the dander or dead skin cells from the dog’s body. The brushing can be followed with a “polish” using a chamois hand glove that gives a soft shine to the hair. Use a soft brush on sensitive areas like the face, ears and underbelly to avoid scrapes on the dog’s skin.

Long Single-Hair Coat Brush

A dog with a long hair coat, such as the Maltese, needs particular treatment. To groom this dog you will have to spend at least an hour every third day on keeping your dog brushed. You will need a pin brush, which has fine metal pins tipped with plastic beads set in the rubber, resembling a pin cushion. This brush will remove the loose hairs and dander from your dog. Before brushing, spray the hair lightly with an anti-static conditioner, which will help to keep it tangle-free and avoid breaking the hairs. Use the pin brush to brush the hair in sections, carefully removing any tangles without pulling. Wait for the coat to dry, and brush it through with a soft bristle brush followed by a hand glove polish.

Double Fur Coat Brush

If you own a dog with a double coat – whether short or long – you will need a “slicker” brush to get rid of the loose hairs trapped in the coat. A slicker is a metal brush with very fine pins set in a sloping head for easy downward brushing. The metal pins brush out the loose tufts of undercoat as well as the dust and the dander. Follow this by using a pin brush to loosen any tangles on long-haired coats and then a bristle brush to smooth and condition the hair.

The Furminator

A recent entry to the dog brush market is the “Furminator," which is a high-quality shedding tool with a metal edge with short metal tines on it. The tines get deep into the dog’s coat and help to remove the undercoat without damaging the top coat. The furminator retails at around $30, as of April 2011, for the largest size and is more expensive than the average dog brush but is rapidly gaining popularity among double-coated dog owners.

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