One of the most important things you can do for your pet between professional groomings is to brush him regularly. Brushing is essential to a healthy, glowing coat. It removes mats and tangles, dead hair, dirt and burrs and helps distribute natural oils, which creates a healthy skin tone.
Depending on your dog’s coat, some dogs require a daily brushing, while others need to be brushed every few days. A dog with longer hair tends to develop mats more easily. Brushing him daily will keep mats from developing and make the brushing process easier for your pet. Waiting to brush your dog after tangles have set in only results in an uncomfortable experience for your pet. Even pets with shorter hair should be brushed often to remove the dead undercoat and help control shedding.
You will want to invest in a good quality slicker brush and comb for your pet. Slicker brushes come in different sizes, but a large one is usually best, even if you have a small dog. Dogs such as labs may also benefit from deshedding tools like the Furminator. You can purchase these items at your local pet store or from your professional groomer.
Begin by brushing one area at a time. Work in small sections and brush down to the skin. Most pet owners brush the top part of the coat, but overlook the hair nearest to the skin. Pay particular attention to the legs, beard and ears. These areas tend to be the most neglected. If you do find mats or burrs in your dog’s fur, you can alternate the brush and comb to help work out the tangles and burrs.
If your pet misbehaves by biting at the brush or comb, tries to twist and turn, or puts on playful antics, be prepared to look your pet in the eye and state a firm, “NO!” Pets will try their little games and you’ll only exhaust yourself if you allow them to take control of the situation.
Setting aside time to routinely brush your pet takes discipline, and with a busy lifestyle, it isn’t always easy to do. If you find you simply don’t have the time to brush your pet, more frequent professional grooming is recommended to prevent matting and tangling. A shorter, more manageable haircut may be another alternative if more frequent grooming isn’t in your budget. Your professional groomer will be able to help you in making the best decision for you and your pet.