Dogs can have so many hair types, so it’s no surprise that there are so many types of dog brushes available. Choose a brush or comb that best suits your dog’s hair. Your dog may benefit from more that one type of brush or comb.
- Bristle Brusheswork well for most hair types. Bristle types vary from soft to firm and from long to short.
- Wire Pin Brushesare best for dogs with medium to long hair.
- Slicker Brushesare used to break up tangles and mats in medium to long-haired dogs.
- Rakes and Matbreakerswork best on more severe tangles and mats.
- Shedding Tools have special teeth that remove excess hair from double-coated breeds and reduce shedding. Common variations are shedding blades and FURminators.
- Flea Combs are used to detect fleas.
Nail trims can be stressful for dogs and owners alike. Knowledge of proper techniquesand use of the right tools can help ease the process.
- Claw-style Trimmersare spring-loaded and cut the nail in a scissor-like fashion.
- Guillotine Trimmershave a replaceable blade that cuts the nail when the spring-loaded handle is depressed.
- Scissor-like Trimmersdo not have springs and work best on dogs with small, delicate nails.
- Styptic Powder, such as Kwik-stop, can be used to stop bleeding if you accidentally cut a nail too short.
- Filing Tools grind down the nails gradually and result in a smooth edge-nail. Basic emery boards can be used on small, delicate nails. Power rotary tools, such as the Peticure Grooming Tool, work on all nail types.
3. Dog Shampoos
Bathingyour dog is much more effective when you use the right shampoo. Always choose a soap-free shampoo that is intended for use on dogs. Here are some common varieties.
- Tear-free Shampooshelp protect your dog’s eyes during baths.
- Oatmeal Shampoosare designed to soothe mildly irritated skin and ease itching.
- Natural Shampoosare chemical-free and often include herbs to improve skin and coat.
- Medicated Shampooscan be prescribed by a veterinarian to help dogs with allergies or other skin conditions.
- Conditioners are used after the shampoo to help keep your dog’s coat moisturized, shiny and tangle-free. Some are designed to be rinsed off, while others can be left on the coat to dry. Conditioners are not always necessary to use.
4. Dog Ear Care
Proper ear care for dogs is often overlooked, but it is just as important as maintenance of hair and nails. Talk to a veterinary professional or groomer about proper techniques before you begin. Note: NEVER use cotton-tipped swabs or alcohol in your dog’s ears!
- Ear Cleansersare used to help rinse and clean the ear canal.
- Cotton Balls or Padsare used to wipe out debris from the ears after cleanser is applied.
- Ear Powderwill help dry the ear canal of dogs with excess hair and wax to prepare it for plucking.
- Hemostats can be used to pluck excess hair from ears. Be sure you are trained to do this before you attempt it on your own!
- Ear Medications may be prescribed by a vet for dogs with ear conditions such as infections or ear mites.
Not all dogs will need haircuts. Short-haired dogs do not need to be shaved or clipped. Some dogs with medium hair, such as Golden Retrievers, may benefit from occasional “shave-downs.” However, dogs with hair that keeps growing, like Poodles or Shih Tzus, must be cut on a regular basis. Dog groomers and pet owners often use electric clippers to give dogs a neat and uniform cut. Experienced groomers may also use hair cutting scissors to neatly trim or touch-up long hair. If you are not trained to use scissors, it may be best to stick with electric clippers.
Note: it is extremely important to NEVER use scissors to cut mats out – you could seriously injure your dog! Use electric clippers or special brushes for this instead!