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Brushing Your Dog: The Key To Getting That Beautiful Coat

Brushing removes dead hair from the coat before it mats, stimulates the skin and evenly
distributes the natural oils over the coat. This allows the individual hairs to lie more
smoothly, look shinier and repel dirt.

Try to spend just a few minutes every day or so brushing the coat instead of waiting until
the coat is tangled then trying to demat it. You and your pet will be happier for it.

Puppies and brushes
Puppies, are constantly shedding their puppy coat. They should get used to being
groomed and handled as soon as they come into the home. If your puppy just "won't hold
still long enough" to be brushed, groom in short sessions and just brush a small section
at a time until the puppy gets used to being brushed. Talk to him softly and treat him
gently. And as with all pets, remember to praise him quietly if he's still. End the brushing
session on a positive note, like when he's being still.

What should your grooming session consist of?

Remove all mats before bathing your pet.
Getting a tangled, matted coat wet will cause the coat to mat up even more. Water tends
to tighten the mat, shampoo gets caught in the mat and is hard to rinse out, drying
shrinks it into an even tighter knot.

You can make the brushing and dematting process easier on yourself and your pet if you
dampen the coat before brushing with a coat conditioner or tangle remover. Brushing a
dry coat will cause static electricity that will damage and break off the ends of the hair.
Spray the coat well with the conditioner and allow it to sit on the dog for several minutes
-- or apply it to each layer as you brush. These are especially helpful when working with
dogs with long, flowing coats, such as the Maltese, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, Silky Terrier and
Yorkshire Terrier.

Brush your pet's hair layer by layer so that it pulls the least on the skin.
Hold the unbrushed hair down, just above the section of hair you want to brush. This
allows you to brush layer by layer, working in the direction of the hair growth. If you find a
knot of hair, hold the hair at the base of the mat so that it doesn't pull on the pet's skin
as much.

Watch your pet's body language as you brush and demat. No pet enjoys having their skin
tugged at. Try to brush a little more gently if your pet shows discomfort. Brush burn is the
result of applying excessive force when brushing the coat, and can be caused when hair is
tugged too aggressively, or from brush bristles harshly scraping the skin. This
abrasiveness causes the skin of the pet to become irritated, and could lead to dermatitis.
So be firm, yet gentle, when brushing your pet.

Brush the head last.
Pets tend to object less to those things they can't see. The head is a sensitive area for
many pets, and you want to keep the pet comfortable as long as possible. Therefore,
starting at the rear is less stressful on the pet.

Combing: The final step in brushing.
The final step in brushing is to go through the coat using a fine/medium toothed comb,
checking for any mats that may still be in the coat.

Poodles and other "non-shedding" breeds
Most people believe that Poodles do not shed. This, however, is a myth, because Poodles
do shed their dead hair just as most breeds do. Poodles have a dense undercoat that is
course and curly. The dead hair actually gets caught in the undercoat and is unable to fall
out through the coat. This causes the coat to mat easily if dead hair is not removed
frequently by brushing.

PetSmart® grooming services
Need help with brushing? Don't worry! Stop by the grooming department at a PetSmart
store near you and talk to one of their professional groomers. They'll be glad to answer
any questions you have about grooming your dog. Or bring your puppy by just to say "Hi"
and get acquainted with the grooming environment. If you prefer to let the pros handle
the grooming, then you can make an appointment to get your friend all spruced up and
looking great in no time.