Grooming your dog regularly helps minimize shedding, control where that loose hair falls, and improve the health of your dog’s coat and skin. As any dog owner will have seen, there is a varied range of different types of dog brushes that you can buy. Each brush type has its merits and finding the right product for your dog can depend on coat thickness and texture. From rubber brushes to chunky rakes, here we explore the difference in dog brush types and how to find the right one for your dog’s grooming session.
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Different Types of Dog Brushes
Before we look at the best brush for your dog’s coat, let’s look at the options and what each brush can offer. Heading to the pet store can be overwhelming once you see the range of products available. There are, however, four main brush types you’ll see.
You may already be familiar with the slicker brush, one of the most commonly used dog grooming brushes. This brush is used to remove loose hair, as well as helping to remove mats and tangles in the coat.
Slicker brushes use a soft pad as a foundation for fine-toothed wire bristles, with a small protective layer at the tip of each bristle. Those bristles are great at deepening a coat and dragging through any hair.
Because the bristles on the slicker brush are so delicate, they can remove mats and tangles, helping to dislodge twisted hair. Those protective tips ensure the brush doesn’t cause too much irritation or damage to the dog’s skin or hair follicles.
A slicker brush can be used on all dogs, but they generally work best on medium and long-haired dogs, who experience frequent matting and knots.
This brush should be used on the body only; those wiry bristles shouldn’t go near a dog’s face, just in case of a slip. Take the brush in long strokes from the top of the head right down to the tail. Slicker brushes are angled to go with the growth of the dog’s coat, not against it.
Brushing slowly is encouraged to avoid pulling at any mats you may find. Once a knot has been found, a series of short strokes in the area may untangle it. If the knot is too deep or tough, you may need some scissors to remove it carefully. These brushes can go quite deep into the dog’s coat but shouldn’t make contact with the body.
Our favorite slicker brush product is the EzSlicker, which is both effective and one of the easiest tools to use on the market. This slicker brush has an upright handle for easier cleaning, and the best bit, it cleans itself. Once you’ve finished grooming your furry friend, just hit press the button and watch all of that loose hair spring out into the trash can.
A pin brush resembles the slicker, with more flexible and wider-spaced bristles. This makes it an excellent option for most dog breeds with single or double coats.
Pin brushes also have a small, protective ball at the end to ensure the dog’s skin isn’t scratched when grooming. This brush is used for general grooming, removing loose fur, and removing smaller mats from dogs with short coats.
While it can be a good product for any coat type, the pin brush won’t be as effective on thick, double coats as on medium, short, and long-haired coats. It will remove loose fur, although the spaced-out bristles could miss some harder-to-reach hair.
This is an excellent brush for dog breeds with curly coats, as the softer, widely-spaced bristles don’t pull on the hair as others do. Look out for double-sided dog brushes with a pin brush on one side and a bristle brush on the other, a handy tool for your dog.
To use this brush, slowly take it from the top of the head to the bottom of the paws. Always brush in the direction of the tail for best results. Doing this slowly helps in removing loose hair and dead cells, as well as helping to untangle any small knots.
Bristle brushes are very similar to hairbrushes that we use in both design, texture, and strength of the bristles. These are good brushes for clearing out the last of the dead hair after grooming and giving your pup’s coat a nice shine.
This dog brush can be used on all coat types, and the bristles encourage oil production in the hairs, which gives that glossy shine. We often see a bristle brush paired with a pin brush because they have two separate roles in grooming, so it makes sense to have both tools together.
A bristle brush can work on all coat types, but owners should pay attention to the length of the bristles. Smaller bristles are better on short coats, and thicker, shaggier dogs will need longer bristles.
You can work from root to tip for the best results when using a bristle brush. This is how to distribute the natural oil sebum best, giving your dog’s fur a natural shimmer.
The idea of raking your dog may not sound nice, but this is a great way to keep your dog’s coat healthy and free from mats. Much as the name suggests, the function of this product is very much the same as a garden rake. Instead of combing through the grass to remove dirt and foliage, a dog rake will glide through the hair to remove dead hair and knots.
Depending on different coat types, owners can buy standard rakes or an undercoat rake for grooming. A standard rake is excellent for use on medium and long coats, and the rake will easily combat mats, ensuring smooth coats without any debris your pooch may have picked up.
An undercoat rake is designed for double-coated dogs. The rake has many little blades close together, designed to cut through thick coats and clean up that coarse undercoat. Most dead hair found in these thick coats sits under the top layer, and this rake is designed to eliminate it.
This is an effective tool, although owners will cut the top layer of the coat a little when they use it. Owners must also be conscientious when using rakes, as too much pressure can cause damage to the skin. As such, owners should take care and caution when raking the dog slowly and across a wide body area to prevent issues.
Shedding blades come in a range of sizes to suit all coat types. Typically, this grooming tool targets dogs with double or combination coats. This tool features multiple small blades, across a flat surface, with a base handle with a rubber grip. Rather than using a dog brush when your pooch is shedding heavily, these blades can go after the top and base coat to remove dead hair.
Grooming tools like these do a great job when dogs are shedding, but they can cause damage if there is minimal hair to remove. These blades can remove dirt, but they should be primarily used to remove loose fur from a shedding dog’s coat.
Combs can be used instead of pin brushes, and products are designed for all coat types. If you want to comb your dog when grooming, you’ll need to know the difference between the various combs on the market.
De-matting combs are used to work on knots and tangles in dogs with long coats. Be careful when using these, as they can be hard on the dog’s skin.
Flea combs are used when your dog has an infestation. These are combs with long teeth tightly packed into a small comb, perfect for getting rid of those little critters.
Grooming combs look similar to human combs; they are great for grooming dogs with wire coats, short coats, and longer hair.
Combs require a slow, measured approach when grooming. They are best when working on a small area to remove kinks and clear dirt.
How To Choose A Dog Hair Brush
Some brushes and grooming tools are designed for specific coat types, but most can be used on all. Deciding between these different types of grooming brushes for dogs is generally about personal preference.
Ultimately you want to get at the dead hairs, dirt, dust, dander, and problematic areas efficiently and without hurting your dog.
From rubber brushes to shedding blades, pin, bristle, and slicker brushes to combs, there is a world of great products for dog grooming. First, identify your dog’s needs and shedding behaviors, and make sure you have a tool you’re both comfortable with. Most products work on all coat types, but you must check characteristics such as bristle length, size, and material.