With so many types of dog grooming brushes out there, choosing the right one for your dog can be an absolute nightmare!
Should you get a brush, rake, comb, de-shedder or something else entirely?
If you're head is spinning trying to work out which brush is best and what the key differences are, this article will help you.
Types of Dog Brushes For Grooming and Shedding
Depending on the type of coat your dog has, among other factors, you could get away with just one of these, or end up using a variety. To make matters more confusing, the names comb, brush and rake are used interchangeably between products and depending on who you speak to.
While there are tons of variations, they can realistically be broken down into 4 main categories:
- De-Shedding Tools
Read on to learn which brushes fit into these 4 main categories and what makes them unique...
This is the most common tool people think to use when it comes to grooming their dog. There are several different kinds of brush though and it pays to know what each are designed to do.
Pin Brush: These are very common and good all rounder brushes when it comes to getting out minor matts and tangles out of medium-long haired dogs. They have rubber or plastic tips on them and are gentle on thick or curly coats which is why many use these as a first resort for minor knots and matts. They are generally quite kind to your dog's skin and are safe to use on most breeds.
Bristle Brush: As you can see in the illustration, these often come combined with a pin brush because the two brush types go hand in hand. These are perfect for shorter coat dogs and are great for 'finishing off' since they remove fine dirt, and add shine to the coat. Brushing regularly can increase the oil production in your dog's skin, which can help to reduce excess shedding and improve your dog's overall coat shine.
Grooming Tip: When it comes to choosing the right type of bristle brush, go for something that matches the length and texture of your dog's coat. For example, longer, softer bristles work better for silky long haired dogs, while shorter, tougher bristles work better for shorter haired dogs.
Rubber Brush: Some use these as an easy and cost effective way to remove loose surface hair, as well as massage your pup's skin. While some dogs love being brushed, some can't stand it, so these can be a great alternative to a bristle brush for dogs that simply hate being brushed. They are about the size of your hand and have rounded rubber knobs on the end, some come in a glove format, while others look more like a rubber block. They are sometimes referred to as a 'curry comb'.
Slicker Brush: These should be used on medium to long haired dogs for removing matts and tangles, and loose hair from the undercoat. They are made up of fine, wire bristles which are normally angled in a certain way and/ or have protective tips to reduce irritation to your dog's skin. They do work well, but it pays to be careful with how much pressure you apply and it pays to brush with the direction of the coat.
There are several types of combs to choose from, some are more useful for general grooming, others are better for removing matts and tangles, and some will even help to fend off fleas.
General Grooming Combs: These are kind of like the 'comb version' of the pin brush, and are used for longer, thicker haired dogs and those with an undercoat to help with knots and tangles. The length and spacing of the teeth vary depending on the brush, and which one is right will depend on your dog and what you are trying to achieve. As a general rule, wider spaced teeth are better for removing knots and tangles, while more tightly spaced teeth can be used after the main knots are removed. As you can see with the comb pictured below, it has both styles in one to make life easier.
De-matting Comb: These are useful for removing matts in long haired dogs with heavy, thick coats. Rather than tearing or ripping the fur, it actually cuts out the matts. Some don't recommend these and say they are too harsh, although used correctly and on the right coat type, they will get the job done. It may be worth checking with your local vet or grooming professional before buying one of these if you have concerns.
Flea Combs: Instead of relying solely on chemicals, these combs can make the world of difference when it comes to identifying and removing those nasty little fleas. They consist of tightly spaced teeth that catch fine dirt and fleas in one motion to remove fleas naturally. Some folks use these after treating their dog to avoid fleas jumping off, only to re-infest him later.
Grooming Tip: It is important to work in the natural direction of your dog's coat when using brushes, combs and rakes to avoid unnecessary ripping or tearing of fur. This matters because it can lead to skin irritation, which leads to excess shedding.
While there are a number of variations, you really only need to understand the following 2 types of rakes.
Standard Rakes: These look a bit like a miniature version of a standard garden rake. They have rounded ends to avoid causing irritation and are designed to remove dead fur from your dog's coat. These are more suited to longer haired dogs and can work to gently remove knots and tangles.
Undercoat Rakes: Not all breeds have an undercoat, but for those that do, these work very well to remove matts, tangles and loose fur from the undercoat. Especially for thick, long and heavy coated dogs. They have small, curved and sharp blades on the end that work through matts and tangles with ease, while effectively removing loose fur from your dog's undercoat. The blades are located inside the curve at the very end which means they won't irritate your dog's skin. They will cut the coat to some extent where matts appear, but generally not as much as a de-matting comb does. Either way, the work well and are very safe to use.
4. De-Shedding Tools
If you have a dog that sheds and you are sick and tired of all that fluff and hair throughout your home, these are considered the holy grail of all shedding tools. They remove loose fur from the topcoat, while penetrating the undercoat to remove dead fur in one smooth motion. If you are concerned about shedding, these are well worth looking into. There are several well known brands to choose from that work well, but our favourite is the Furminator. These look a bit like a razor, with one row of tightly spaced pins and they work well on most coat types.
Grooming Tip: Be sure to choose the right de-shedder for your dog's coat to get maximum results. Most quality de-shedders come in a variety of sizes designed to match your pup's coat and body type which can make a significant difference in how easy to use and how effectively the tool will remove loose fur.
There's no shortage of different kinds of brushes out there, but you don't need all of them to get results. It really depends on your dog as to how much time you'll spend on grooming and what products you'll end up buying.
A basic bristle/ pin brush combo will suite most dogs for everyday stuff, but when it comes to dogs with heavier, thicker coats and those with an undercoat, you may want to grab a slicker brush or an undercoat rake. Especially if you are trying to remove matts or tangles. On the other hand, if shedding is your primary concern, it may be worth investing in a quality de-shedding tool like the Furminator or a similar brand.
Whatever you decide, hopefully this has given you a better idea about the different types of dog brushes you can use to combat shedding and keep your dog's coat in the best possible shape! You don't need to spend a fortune or become a professional groomer, but knowing this stuff can really help you in choosing which brush is best for your dog.
Which brush do you use and what has been your experience? Let us know in the comments below!