Can You Over Brush Your Dog?

by Elton Dunn
Long-haired dogs need daily brushing to ward off tangles.

Long-haired dogs need daily brushing to ward off tangles.

Dana Neely/Photodisc/Getty Images

While dogs cannot be overbrushed, improper brushing techniques may cause your pup some pain. Gentle and slow brushing works best, with breaks for praise and treats to reward a patient pup. Brush your pooch as often as she needs it without worrying that you are over brushing her.

Time Frame

Dogs have different grooming needs. Some breeds need little more than the occasional brush, while others require daily grooming to keep their hair tangle-free. In general, smooth-haired dogs and short-haired dogs benefit from weekly brushing. Pups with short, thick fur benefit from brushing several times a weeks. Pups with long hair that can mat and tangle are best brushed daily.

Brush Burn

If you dig the brush too deep into your dog's skin, or go over the same area too many times, you can give your dog brush burn. Signs of brush burn include irritated, reddened skin. If you think your dog may have brush burn, seek veterinary attention. To avoid brush burn, go lightly over sensitive areas, like your pup's tummy and legs. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.

Brush Types

Choosing the right brush type for your dog makes grooming time more effective. For smooth-coated dogs, a rubber curry brush removes the loose hairs gently and effectively. For wiry-coated dogs with thick hair, use a wire slicker brush. For dogs with long hair, use a pin brush or a curved wire slicker. Grooming sprays can dampen the dog's fur and loosen tangles, making the brushing time easier.


Brushing removes loose fur, dead skin cells and irritants from your dog's coat. Brushing your dog can improve circulation, which keeps your dog's skin and fur healthy. For long-haired pups, brushing keeps the coat from getting tangled and matted. Detangling mats can be a very painful experience for your pup, so regular brushing is kinder. Brushing also creates a bond between you and your pet, and can be relaxing to some dogs.


Photo Credits

  • Dana Neely/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Elton Dunn is a freelance writer with over 14 years experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, technology, beauty and fashion writing. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from Emerson College.

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