Brushing the dog’s coat is an important part in the grooming process. Brushing is extremely important to maintain the tiptop condition of the dog. Aside from making the coat look good, brushing massages the skin. Regular brushing would prevent mat and knot formation. By brushing against the direction of hair growth, flea and tick infestation can be monitored. On long haired, wavy or double coated dogs, brushing is a must before giving the dog a bath. This is due to the fact that wet mats are harder to manage. Brushing relaxes the dog. It is one opportunity where the owner and the pet are given the chance to bond.
Another important function of brushing is to remove dead hair. There are dogs that shed heavily but the dead hair does not fall. Dead hair will just cling to the dog’s coat and form into mats. Dogs that profusely shed “decorate” the home and the furniture and garnish the food with the shedding. Frequent brushing will at least minimize this concern. Brushing also accelerates the shedding process. Another important function of brushing is the distribution of natural protective oil on the dog’s coat. This natural oil makes the coat weatherproof and enables the dog to cope with extremely cold or hot weather.
Dogs have different types of coats and it is obvious that these coats would need different types of care. Some grooming tools can be used on dogs with different types of coat but there are also grooming tools that are specifically suited to a particular type of coat.
Smooth coated dogs don’t need a lot of brushing. A once a week brushing should maintain the good condition of the coat and the skin. Use a rubber brush to loosen dried mud, other clinging dirt and of course dead hair. This should be followed by by a bristle brush.
For a short coated dog, a pinhead brush would remove formed mats and knots. This should be followed through with a bristle brush or a coat rake that will remove dirt and dead hair. Obviously long coated dogs would require a lot of attention. These dogs would need frequent brushing, everyday if possible. During shedding season some owners would brush the coat several times a day. Use a slicker brush to untangle knots and matted hair. Pinhead combs are best suited if there are no mats. Then comb with a wide toothed comb giving special attention behind the dog’s ears where mats usually form and on the backside and legs of the dog.
Dealing with mats and knots
A well cared for dog would have a beautiful healthy looking hair. Unfortunately, some dogs would sport unsightly mats that would dangle from the body, tail and behind the ears. The mats would look like torn rags coated with dirt. Mats are usually formed if the pet owner neglects to groom the dog. The licking and scratching habit of the dog can also result to mat formation.
Obviously, the best way to prevent mats from forming is through regular grooming. Watching the dog and distracting him from scratching and licking would also help. Small mats can be untangled but large and very tight mats would be hard to untangle. Also it would be painful to remove. In this case, cutting or shaving the hair can be the best way. The hair would grow anyway and most importantly the dog will not be subjected to pain and discomfort.
How to brush
Brushing the face
Brushing the face can be a challenge as most dogs do not like people messing with the hair on their face. With a lot of verbal encouragement and a treat perhaps, the dog may be enticed to have his face brushed. Be gentle in brushing your dog’s face. Us a slicker brush and start brushing on the muzzle area going downwards to the side of the face. Brush the chin and the throat, the forehead and the area behind the ears. Repeat the process using a metal comb this time. Be careful not to hit the eyes with the steel comb.
Brushing the dog
Brush the dog’s body thoroughly starting at the head to the toes using a slicker brush. Pay close attention to the hair between the toes and to the tail where it is most often tangled. Hold the tail so as not to cause the dog pain when you untangle the knots on the tail. Always remember to brush in the same direction of the hair growth.
Long brushing is done on dogs with long thick hair. With line brushing you will be able to remove little mats hidden under the top coat as you will start brushing from the roots of the hair. From the dog’s belly lift the hair with one hand and make a line about an inch wide. Thoroughly brush the hair then make another line moving upwards, brush, then make another line until the entire coat is brushed.
Mats make the dog’s coat unattractive. It also shows what kind of pet owner the dog has. Tight and large mats can be a challenge to remove especially if it is attached to the skin. Untangling the mat would cause the dog too much pain. On the other hand, shaving the hair can be dangerous as the skin can be nicked. To cut a mat that is tightly attached to the skin, slide a comb between the skin and the hair and then carefully cut with a blunt tipped scissors.
Smaller mats can be loosened with a bristle brush. You may need to pull big mats apart with your fingers. Once the mats are made smaller you can use a steel comb to slowly untangle the hair. This is important. Always hold the mat from the root. This will avoid causing the dog too much pain. Start combing the end of the mat with a steel comb, gradually moving inwards and outwards. Untangling mats would take sometime and you may not be able to restrain the dog for long. If the dog falls asleep you will be given a free hand to finish all the mats but if not it would be a good idea to schedule another session of untangling mats.