All pets benefit from regular brushing. It is not only beneficial for their looks and keeping their coat in good condition but it is also important for their overall general health and well-being.
Why you should brush your dog or cat
By brushing your dog or cat you are removing dirt, dead and loose hair, all while distributing the natural oils from the skin around the coat to keep them looking shiny. Brushing will remove tangles and prevent matting of the coat which can potentially lead to further skin conditions and be uncomfortable for the pet.
One of the greatest benefits to brushing your pet regularly is that it reduces shedding, or the amount of hair your pet will loose on the floor, couch and on your clothes. By removing this excess of loose hair it also reduces the amount that the pet is ingesting themselves. This is particularly important for cats who when self grooming can ingest a lot of hair often leading to hairballs.
Brushing is also a great bonding opportunity for your and your pet. Spending time calmly and lovingly grooming your pet will strengthen your bond, plus it is relaxing for both of you. It also gives you a good opportunity to give them a thorough body health check, identifying and monitoring any lumps, bumps, cuts, bites or even seeing parasites like fleas or dangerous ticks.
Cats are meticulous self groomers, using their tongue to clean their coat and remove loose dead hair, but they can still use some help. Dog’s aren’t good self groomers and really rely on us to keep their coats looking their best. Short hair cats and dogs do not require a lot of brushing, however a weekly brush will keep them looking their best. Longer haired, thick or double coated pets benefit from daily brushing to prevent tangles and matting.
What brush should you use on dogs and cats
There are a wide range of brushes available for pets and choosing the right one can sometimes be confusing. Selecting the correct brush will be determined by the coat length and texture, the job that needs to be done (ie clearing matts, tangles, shedding or just daily brushing) but also by taking into account how receptive the pet is to being brushed. Some of the different types of brushes available include;
Rubber brushes like Kong Zoom Grooms are ideal for gentle brushing, cleaning the coat and massaging your pet. These rubber brushes are also the perfect brush to help when shampooing. They are good for use on all coat lengths and for those that shed a lot.
Pin brushes like the Scream Oval Pin Brush are ideal for daily brushing of medium to long haired coats. They have little wire pins with rounded ends designed to keep coats tangle free.
Slicker brushes like the Gripsoft Slicker Brush have fine wire bristles which are ideal for removing tangles. These can be used on all coat types.
Undercoat rakes like the Shear Magic Coat Rakes remove tangles and loose hair from the under coat and prevent matting. They work well on thick coated pets, particularly those with a double coat.
Dematting rakes like the Gripsoft Dematting Rake are great for working through matted coats. They gently break down mats into more manageable sections. Ideal to use on all matted coats except short smooth coats.
Deshedding brushes, combs and blades like the Furminator remove large amounts of dead loose hair and gently remove the undercoat. Their a specifically designed brushes for all coat lengths and for dog and cats.
Bristle brushes like the GripSoft Bristle Brush are nice soft brushes perfect for smoothing the coat and distributing natural oils keeping coats looking smooth and shiny. Bristle brushes are generally suitable on all coat types but usually as a finishing brush after loose hairs have been removed from thicker coats.
How to brush your pet
Some pets do not like being brushed which can make the process difficult. Brushing is something you should start at a young age just as a part of general training and handling. If pets aren’t fond of being brushed start with soft brushes or even grooming mitts that are more gentle. Start by just brushing for very small periods, avoiding sensitive areas then increase the time as they become more comfortable. Always make the brushing experience a positive one using a soft calming voice, lots of encouragement and of course treats.