Spending quality time grooming your dog can be a great way for the two of you to enjoy each other’s company. Perhaps your dog doesn’t enjoy having his nails done, but most dogs do like to be brushed.
You can make the most of the time you spend brushing your dog by choosing a good brush. Brushes come in all shapes and sizes — and a wide price range. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good brush for your dog, but you can make sure that you choose wisely.
The basic dog brush you see in most pet stores usually has nylon bristles. If you care about your dog’s coat, this is not the best brush to get. Nylon bristles can break the hair shaft in your dog’s coat, making his hair look ragged. Nylon will also create more static in your dog’s coat because it’s not good at distributing your dog’s natural skin oils.
The best kind of brush for your dog, whether he has long or short hair, is a boar bristle brush. Boar bristles are a natural material, from boars. They are softer than nylon. They do not break your dog’s hair when you brush him. And, they are very good at distributing the oils in your dog’s coat.
Despite the fact that these brushes are better and they are made from a natural source, they are not very expensive. You can buy a boar bristle brush made to groom dogs from many pet supply stores, pet catalogs or from online pet supply sources. Or, you can go to a store like Sally’s Beauty Supply, where hairdressers go, and choose from the boar bristle brushes there.
Find a brush that feels good in your hand. Ideally you will be spending a lot of time brushing your dog with it, so it should feel comfortable.
It’s really up to you whether you prefer an oval brush, a rectangular one, or some other shape, at least for general brushing.
You should look for a brush that has a wooden back. Brushes with wooden backs can absorb any excess oils from your dog’s coat — unlike plastic brushes. Over time, a brush with a wooden back will usually turn a deeper shade, like furniture, from the oils in your dog’s coat. The brushes can come in many different kinds of wood. Perhaps this shouldn’t be an important consideration, but you can choose between different woods and shades that appeal to you.
You may want to get one full-size brush and one smaller brush while you’re looking at brushes. It can be convenient to use a small brush to brush beneath your dog on his stomach and between his thighs.
If you have a longhaired dog you may want to get a small boar bristle brush to help you trim your dog’s paws. This is up to you. Not all dogs have their paws trimmed. But if your dog is prone to growing lots of hair between his nails, you can use a small brush — one that will fit in your palm — to brush up the hair between the toes so you can trim it off.
Since the brushes are not very expensive, you can usually afford to get a couple of them in different sizes. You may also want to get a backup since some dogs have been known to consider a brush as a chew toy .
On the other hand, if you are considering the purchase of a Mason-Pearson brush ($170 for an 8.5 inch boar bristle brush from England , then you probably won’t be buying several. Very few people are using Mason-Pearson brushes.
There are a few cases where you may wish to forego using the all-boar bristle brush. For dogs with shorter coats, a brush with a mix of boar bristles and nylon will work fine. And, if your dog has a very thick coat, then you may need to use a nylon bristle brush just to work through the coat. The nylon bristles will be stiffer than the boar bristles.
But, for most dogs, boar bristle brushes are recommended. They’re even good for shorthaired dogs since they can impart a good gloss to the coat when you groom your dog.
If you prefer something with a little more name recognition than buying your brushes at Sally’s, Chris Christensen makes very good brushes in many sizes and styles. #1 All Systems also makes very good brushes.
You will know best what your budget is for a dog brush. You can really spend as much money as you want. But do keep in mind that brushes have a way of disappearing and many dogs do like to chew on them when they get the chance. You might feel like crying if you buy that Mason-Pearson brush and you find that your dog has made splinters out of it.
When you get your brush or brushes, remember that if you plan to take them anywhere you should put your name on them. This may seem like a desecration when some of the brushes are so lovely and so expensive, but putting your name on the brush can prevent someone from taking it.
Quality is an important consideration, but remember that the brush must be comfortable for you to use. If the brush from Sally’s is more comfortable for you then, by all means you should use it, regardless of the fact that it doesn’t have the name recognition that some other brushes may have. Ask yourself who you’re trying to impress — your dog? He doesn’t care.
The most important thing is that you are grooming your dog regularly. A good boar bristle brush will do an excellent job for you, but only if you apply it to your dog. The most beautiful brush in the world will be useless if it isn’t used.
Having discovered a fondness for insects while pursuing her degree in Biology, Randi Jones was quite bugged to know that people usually dismissed these little creatures as “creepy-crawlies”.