Regular brushing doesn’t just make your dog feel good, it helps keep your dog’s coat healthy by getting rid of dead hair and distributing the natural oils throughout the fur. Brushing also removes dead skin and hair and stimulates your dog’s skin. Some dog brushes are for general use, while others have a specific purpose, like removing matted hair. The best type of dog brush for you depends on your purpose and your dog.
Bristle brushes contain tightly packed clusters of natural bristles in varying degrees of closeness. These brushes stimulate your dog’s skin and remove any loose, dead hair. Bristle brushes can be used on all hair types. The general rule is the longer your dog’s coat, the wider spaced the bristles should be and the coarser the hair, the stiffer the bristles should be.
Pin brushes resemble bristle brushes, but instead of natural bristles, they contain flexible wires with pins on top. Hartz.com notes that pin brushes are the most commonly used, but they are usually the least useful. They do pick up loose hair, but they do not provide any other benefits, such as stimulation of your dog’s skin or the distribution of oils.
Slicker brushes have fine, short wire bristles that help remove matted fur and dead skin while fluffing the hair. Use care when using a slicker brush. Because the wire is so stiff, applying too much pressure when using a slicker brush can cause significant discomfort to your dog. The Animal Humane Society notes that these brushes are generally too harsh for everyday brushing.
The rake brush resembles a garden rake in that it contains a long handle with a wide head that contains a row or two of pins. The main purpose of a rake brush is to remove dead undercoat close to your dog’s skin. Rake brushes also help untangle fur on dogs with thick coats. Like the slicker brush, rake brushes should be used with gentle pressure. Hartz.com notes that when choosing a rake brush, you should choose a pin size based on your dog’s coat. Thick coated dogs need longer pins, while short-haired dogs need short pins.
Lindsay Boyers has a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Framingham State College and a certificate in holistic nutrition from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. She is also a licensed aesthetician with advanced training in skincare and makeup. She plans to continue on with her education, complete a master's degree program in nutrition and, ultimately, become a registered dietitian.