Life is so busy and hectic these days; who has time to brush the dog? It’s understandable to feel this way, but once you realize all the benefits of brushing your dog, make the time for it. After all, you would do anything to give your dog the best life possible, right?
If you have a puppy or dog that hates being brushed, you may need to start slowly, with just a few minutes of brushing, followed by a special treat that he or she gets only after being brushed. That said, here are the top seven benefits of brushing your dog.
#1 – It can be a time of connection
If your dog enjoys, or at least tolerates, brushing, then the time you spend can be a great bonding time. Its routine can be soothing for both you and your dog and a way to de-stress after a hard day.
#2 – Brushing helps distribute the natural oils in your dog’s coat
Dogs’ coats contain natural oils, but because dogs don’t groom themselves as obsessively as cats do, they need some help distributing those natural oils. It makes them look shiny and fantastic and prevents greasy build-up.
#3 – It helps prevent painful mats
If you’ve ever had someone pull your hair, you know how painful it can be. Now imagine that same sharp feeling all over your body and you will have an idea of how miserable a matted dog must be. Mats are not only painful, but they can also hide and even cause skin problems such as wounds and infections. Nothing says ‘I’m neglecting my dog’ more than hair that needs to be shaved off in one piece.
#4 – Brushing may reveal something unusual, such as bumps or parasites
Brushing your dog regularly will help you learn what your dog’s skin usually looks like so you can notice any differences. Some bumps are harmless, but if you spot one that isn’t, early detection can mean the difference between life and death.
#5 – It reduces shedding
The more hair you can remove from your dog with a brush, the less hair will be floating around your home, on the furniture and on your clothes.
#6 – Brushing makes your dog look good
Let’s face it: a well-brushed dog looks better, happier and healthier than one that isn’t. If you let your dog’s hair become unruly, it screams to the world that you don’t have enough time or love for your dog – even if that isn’t true.
#7 – It helps your dog stay comfortable
Not only do mats hurt, but stuck undercoat can cause your dog to overheat.
Related: The 10 Best Dog Brushes for Brushing Your Puppy
How to brush your dog
Brush down and out
Dogs generally don’t like their hair brushed back. If your dog has long hair, you may need to use one hand to lift the fur and another hand to brush under the hair you just lifted. This ensures that you brush all the way to your dog’s skin and that the top coat not only looks nice.
Pulling on mats is painful for your dog and can make him hate the grooming process. Be as gentle as possible to avoid hurting your dog.
Use conditioning spray on mats
For those that are difficult to comb out, a detangler can be sprayed directly onto the mat and worked in with your fingers to make knots slide apart more easily. This should be done before the bath as water can aggravate the mats.
What type of brush do you need?
Short-haired dogs (Labs, Pugs)
Anyone who owns a short-haired dog knows that it can shed as much as – if not more than – any other coat type. Using a rubber brush, a grooming glove or a natural bristle brush can help remove loose hair before it ends up on your furniture. You can use a detangling agent, but sparingly. If you’re not careful, you can cause bald spots and irritate your dog’s skin.
Double-coated dogs (Huskies, Goldens)
These dogs have a soft undercoat that usually sheds seasonally, and a harder outer coat that usually does not shed. By brushing these dogs out regularly, you can prevent furry bottlenose dolphins from rolling around your house when your dog starts to “blow” his coat. Tools that work best for this type of coat are a slicker brush, a pin brush, an undercoat rake or a comb.
Silky Dogs (Maltese, Shih Tzus)
Dogs with a silky coat have fine hair that grows continuously. They need regular grooming, but they should be brushed as often as every day between haircuts. A brush, a comb, a detangler and a detangling spray are your best friends.
Curly coated dogs (poodles, bichons)
These dogs need to be brushed several times a week, if not daily, to keep their curls from turning into mats. A slicker brush, comb, detangler and detangling spray are ideal for this type of coat.
Unruly dogs (terriers, schnauzers)
These dogs have coats that require frequent trimming or hand stripping and may have an undercoat that needs to be brushed out. Weekly brushing with a slicker brush and comb prevents mats from forming in coarse hair and keeps them looking their best.