An important part of pet ownership is brushing out their coat. But how often should you brush your dog? Regardless of the breed, all dogs will benefit from regular brushing. When you brush out their coat it helps to remove dirt, debris, built-up oils and helps to keep the skin healthy and the coat shiny. However, some dogs don’t require as much grooming as others, but brushing your dog between bath times will help to keep their coat free from dirt, dead skin and hair. This will promote cleaner skin and a healthier, cleaner looking coat. It can also help to evenly distribute healthy oils, preventing buildup.
How often should you brush your dog? Dogs with a shorter coat will not need to be brushed more than a couple of times a week, while dogs with long hair or silky coats may need to have their coats brushed daily to avoid mats and tangles. Basically, how often you should brush your dog will depend on their coat type, however, all dogs should be brushed at least twice a week, regardless of coat type. Regular brushing will help to evenly distribute oils and can remove dirt, debris, bugs, and dead hair. This will promote a healthier coat.
Grooming Care and Frequency
When you brush your dog, it gives you the opportunity to give them a regular once over. Make sure you check their underbelly, teeth, skin, and ears. With frequent brushing, you can stay on top of your pet’s health by searching for signs of illness or infection. A dog’s coat can tell you a lot about their overall health. All dogs should be brushed at least twice weekly, regardless of coat length or thickness. Dogs with certain lifestyles or coat types may need to be brushed daily to detangle their coats and clear it of dirt, debris, and dead hair.
Each type of dog coat has its own specific requirements in terms of bathing and brushing frequency. Below, I’ll go over the six main types of coats in addition to their care needs.
Dogs that fall into this category include dachshunds, chihuahuas, and labs. By far, this coat is the easiest to care for and maintain. These dogs shed often, so they will benefit from routine brushing with the use of a soft bristle brush, which will help to cut down on excessive shedding.
Dogs with a curly coat such as Kerry blue terriers, bichon frise, and poodles, have coats that are categorized as non-shedding. They will require regular grooming every two to three months. These coats are very soft and wispy, which means it can easily become tangled. Because of this, daily brushing may be required.
These dog breeds include Jack Russell terriers, German shepherds, and corgis. These dogs have very short coats, however, their fur is very thick. These dogs shed often. Because of this, dead hair will usually become trapped in their coat, which is why frequent raking and thinning of the coat are recommended. Brush this type of coat at least twice a week. During shedding season you will want to brush these dogs three to four days a week. Shedding season takes place at the end of spring and the beginning of fall.
This includes Cairn terriers and Australian terriers. These dogs have wiry, stiff coats that shed and require frequent clipping and brushing to prevent the fur from matting.
The Lhasa Apso, Maltese, and shih tzus fall into this category. These dogs have dual coats of very straight hair, with a thick cottony undercoat. These dogs don’t shed very often, however, their coats can easily become matted if you don’t brush them daily. In fact, this type of coat is basically a magnet for leaves, dirt, bugs, foxtails, and other types of debris. Aside from daily brushing their coats should be clipped every six to eight weeks.
This includes Afghan hounds, Shelties, and collies. These are the most difficult types of coats to maintain. Like long-coated dogs, these coats will also require daily brushing. These dogs have a very thick undercoat, which is prone to mats. Their long outer coat also requires constant brushing. You can brush these dogs daily using a rake and a slicker brush in order to keep their coat in good shape.
As you can see, some dogs require brushing more often than others, depending on coat type. Fortunately, there are a variety of combs and brushes to choose from, in addition to other grooming tools designed for dogs with longer coats.
This style of brush is commonly used for long-coated dogs. These brushes consist of bent wire teeth that are placed close together. This brush is designed to remove dead hair and mats from the undercoat. Often, slicker brushes work well for most types of high shedding breeds.
Many people use this type of brush for their own hair. A pin brush works well for long-coated dogs and helps to prevent tangles and remove debris from coats. It can also be used for silky-coated dogs after their undercoat has been thinned out.
A rake is equipped with thin metal teeth and blades on the inside. Rakes are a great choice for dogs that have thick undercoats that have a lot of dead hair that needs to be removed. They’re also a great tool to use to cut through matted fur. Since the rake’s metal teeth can easily injure your dog’s skin, it should be used with care and caution.
This type of brush is best suited for short-coated dogs. These brushes have very soft bristles, which won’t damage the delicate skin under the short coat.
Combs can also be used for longer coats, and even to remove debris from a thick undercoat. However, if used incorrectly, you can end up tugging on your pet’s coat, which can cause irritation and pain. If you’re dealing with fur that’s heavily matted, avoid using a comb.
If your dog has a longer coat, then you may want to use a type of de-matting comb or brush. If you decide to use a comb it should have a wide-tooth design. Metal combs can be a perfect choice if your dog has spent the day outdoors. This type of comb works to make it much easier to remove twigs, bugs, dirt, and debris for all coat types.
How to Clean Dog Brush
Cleaning out a dog brush can be as simple as using your fingers to remove any remaining pet hair. It’s important to remove old hair after each brushing session, otherwise, you’ll simply be reintroducing dead hair, dirt, and debris to your pet’s coat the next time around. If your pet has a fungal infection, then I recommend allowing the comb or brush to sit in a large bowl of boiling hot water for three to five minutes to kill the fungi. This also applies if your dog has a bacterial skin infection. Soaking the grooming tools in boiling water will ensure you do not re-infect your pet.
Brushing your dog’s coat out regularly is important. As you can see, each type of coat has different care requirements in addition to brushing frequency. It’s important that you keep up on brushing and grooming your dog to protect their skin, avoid infections, mats, irritation, and general discomfort. It will also help to cut down on the amount of hair that ends up on your clothes and your furniture. If you have a dog that doesn’t shed excessively, their coat does not tangle easily, and mats are not a problem, then brushing twice a week should be sufficient.
How to Brush a Dog
If you’ve never brushed your dog before, now is the time to start. Of course, it’s best to begin brushing your dog at an early age, since an older dog may not tolerate a brushing in the beginning. If you’re introducing brushing to an older dog who isn’t used to this type of experience, make sure that it’s a positive experience.
Choose the appropriate type of brush, based on their coat type. Begin slowly, with a short brushing session. Over time you can slowly increase the length of time you spend brushing out their coat each session. During this time, it’s important to remain patient and allow your dog to slowly adjust to this new experience.
For your first brushing session:
- Allow your dog to smell and inspect the brush or comb
- Make sure you have plenty of treats close at hand, periodically rewarding your dog and praising them as they allow you to brush their coat.
- As your dog learns how to adjust to the sensation of the brush or comb and learns how to get comfortable, you can expect the first few sessions to last around three to five minutes, which is totally fine.
- Never get upset or become aggressive if your dog tries to make a break for it in order to get away from you and the offending brush. Instead, firmly say “stay” and continue to brush their coat, showing your dog that the brush isn’t a threat or anything to be scared of.
- Make sure you always brush their coat in the same direction as hair growth
- Begin at the root of the hair. This will ensure you don’t leave any mats behind.
- Never pull the fur, be gentle.
- Save the tail and head areas for last.
- Remember to get the feet and legs
Tackling Matted Fur
If your pet has matted fur, then you’ll want to address this issue as soon as possible. Matted fur can lead to health problems and can also cause your pet pain. In severe cases, mats can cause skin infections, can cut off circulation and can hinder their movement.
When removing mats, you’ll want to avoid using scissors. A mat is very painful because it’s so close to the skin. If you use scissors, you’ll risk cutting your pet’s skin.
To get rid of mats, start off by bathing them. Use a dog-specific shampoo such as Top Performance Shed Patrol De-Shedding Dog and Cat Shampoo. While this is one of the best dog shampoos for shedding. It’s high moisturizing formula will also help to hydrate the fur and loosen up the matted hair. After you’ve bathed your dog, you will want to work on combing out the mats while their hair is still wet.
Doing so will make the process easier for both of you. Never allow the mats to dry before you begin working on them. After a bath, if your dog has several mats, avoid towel drying them since this can make the mats worse. To learn more about the importance of using the right product when bathing your dog, make sure you read my guide on can you use human shampoo on dogs?
If you have a detangling spray, use it liberally on the mats and wait ten minutes for the spray to soak into the fur. Then you can start working on each mat. You should begin by combing the edges of the mat first. Begin brushing out the mats from the edges. This is the area where the fur is less tangled.
If you’ve tried to comb out the mats unsuccessfully, then it may be time to have your pet groomed by a professional, to avoid making the mats worse.
So, how often should you brush your dog? Remember, this will depend on the type of coat they have. Silky coats, long coats, and dogs that have very thick undercoats can require daily brushing. But regardless of coat type, you should brush your dog at least twice a week. With proper grooming practices, you can avoid several health complications such as skin infections, matted fur, and general discomfort.