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The care and maintenance of your pet's fur includes more than just occasional brushings. Like humans, dogs have all different kinds of hair - long, short, thin, thick, curly, straight, etc. - Assuming your dog is groomed professionally once a month or two, what should you do at home to keep up the health of his fur and skin, ears and eyes?
First, you need the best shampoo to keep your dog's fur clean and healthy. I cover the best shampoos and rinses for your dogs and cats in another blog (10+ Best Pet Shampoos For Healthy Skin And Fur), so I guarantee you'll find the perfect one for your pet right there.
Once you bathe your dog, you're going to need to find the right products to brush, de-tangle, remove undercoats, de-shed and, simply, to brush his fur to keep it healthy and your dog comfortable. This is especially important in summer, as healthy fur allows air to pass through it and skin to breathe. Of course, if you have a short haired dog, like a Basset or a Beagle, you don't have to worry about too much care; they are pretty much wash and wear, but you still may have to worry about shedding, so read on!
Before I start off with the best de-tanglers, let me clear up the distinction between dog fur and dog hair: 1) most experts say there is no difference between dog hair and dog fur (i.e.,you can use either); 2) some experts make the distinction that humans have hair and animals have fur; and 3) groomers often distinguish between a dog with a single layer of hair, and a dog with an undercoat as having fur. Mostly, fur and hair are terms used interchangeably, so don't pull your hair out over it.
Okay. On with the products that help you groom your dog after bathing and conditioning their fur.
You may not think of a product in a spray bottle as being a tool, but this one is. TropiClean Detangler is tool number 1 because it's the first thing you should use before you start with the more difficult stuff. Why? Because it will make every other step in the grooming process easier.
Most customers swear by TropiClean; even dog groomers love it! They say that when you rub it through your dog's fur, it makes it much easier to work through tangles and matts. Poodle, Schnauzer, Maltese... you name those matting dogs! This tool let's you get through that fur. Some customers even use it for their matted cats.
Soap and detergent free.
The Stuff, a conditioner and de-tangler, is similar to TropiClean, but it includes ingredients like silicon that repels dirt, dust, and urine from your dog's fur, keeping it cleaner longer. It is also hypoallergenic and non-toxic. Especially good for allergy-prone dogs, The Stuff also contains a sunscreen, so you will want to use this one if your dog has a fine coat or has white or light-colored fur.
Spray this product thoroughly over your dog's fur, wet or dry, and work it into her fur. It should continue working for several brushings.
Self-cleaning brushes employ a mechanism that withdraws the bristles of a brush into a shell. Once the bristles are gone, the surface of the brush is smooth and only your pet's fur remains, so it can be removed easily. Once your pup's fur is almost or completely dry, you can brush it gently, being careful not to yank on any knotted or matted fur. Self-cleaning pet brushes are the rage right now and the most popular on Amazon is the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush. This is a great brush because it's easy to use and it's the right design to keep your hand pressure close to the dog's coat where you want it. The Hertzgo works on cats too!
Aside from providing a good brushing, the Hertzgo will remove some mats, especially if you have used TropiClean or The Stuff (above), but if you've got a severely matted dog, best work with a dematting tool after brushing (see below).
The Slicker Pro, by Pro Quality, is another excellent self-cleaning brush. It comes in two sizes: one for small to medium dogs and another for medium to large dogs. The larger one covers more territory!
Another crowd-pleaser, Slicker Pro is especially effective for thick-coated dogs, like Alaskan Malamutes, American Eskimos, Akitas, Keeshonds, Great Pyrenees... dogs bred to live in cold weather, some of whom have undercoats or double coats of fur. Owners of large and thick coated dogs swear by the Slicker Brush. It is a great all-around brush, capable of removing a dog's undercoat and small tangles. And yes, you can use it for your cats.
Against the fancier tools below, the Master Grooming Mat & Tangle Splitter looks pretty primitive. But, for one or two mats or tangles, it's perfect. You don't need a rake to break up one mat, after all. I use this more than any other tool, as my dogs have very fine hair, and don't get too matted up. After I find I can't get through their fur with a brush, I'll find the mats and slice through them lengthwise with the Mat & Tangle Splitter, holding the fur with one hand at the base (part closest to your pet's body) of the fur, so there's no pulling on the skin. Even when you are using a de-matter, there are usually a couple of stubborn tangles you'll need to handle this Tangle Splitter.
Though the Rubold is advertised as a de-matting tool, it is essentially a rake that de-mats as it removes layers of a pup's undercoat. For those dogs with undercoats, this will thin out their fur, which is especially important in warm weather. Though the Rubold looks dangerous, the blades are rounded, so they don't scratch the skin. This is a very popular device for dogs with multiple coats. One Amazon customer described her experience with the Rubold tool as having "removed a whole other dog" from her dog!
Another very popular de-matting tool is the GoPets Comb. This tool has a two working sides; one with 12 teeth for lower density work on individual mats and tangles, and the other with 24 teeth for all-over de-shedding and thinning. Like the Rubold, GoPets has sharp but curved teeth, so the sharp parts don't come in contact with your dog's body. This makes grooming much more tolerable for your dog.
And, reportedly, cats and rabbits love the GoPets Comb too!
Pets who shed can get all kinds of ailments, not the least of which is HOT! Cats get hairballs from loose hairs and dog fur can provide hiding (and biting) cover for bugs. As a de-shedder, the Chirpy Pets product gets 5 stars from Amazon customers.
I use the Chirpy Pets for my cat and he loves it. It's very gentle and doesn't spook him. According to customers, the Chirpy Pets Dog and Cat Brush For Shedding is even good for pets with fine fur. It only pulls out loose fur, not the whole undercoat!
For those of you who remember the Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie, The Terminator, you'll find the FURminator was appropriately named. Watch out that your dog doesn't wind up bald! Seriously though, the FURminator deShedding Tool is an action tool and is great for dogs who shed a lot. It is the number one best dog shedding tools on Amazon, according to customers.
Though I personally prefer the Chirpy Pets, what I like about Furminator is that it comes in different sizes for various size pets, and it also has a long hair and short hair option. Furminators are also available for other pets; that ought to attract your interest! Also, the FURminator guarantees that it will reduce shedding better than any brush, rake, or comb.
I need to take my dogs to a professional groomer. If I even trimmed them, they would be made mockeries at the dog park. Even other dogs would laugh at them. But some of you might want to give this reportedly easy trimmer a try. Customer say the Scaredy Cut Silent Pet Grooming Kit makes trimming your dog or cat easy, and if you want to try out your styling skills, it's a good tool to start with. At the very least, you can use it to trim your pet between professional groomings. The very clever device has a scissors that attaches to one of the combs so you can cut the fur exactly beneath where it lies under the comb. Several combs make it easy to cut your pet's fur depending on its thickness and texture.
Another big deal about the Scaredy Cut Silent Pet Grooming Kit is that the scissors is silent - made that way as to not add to the fear your pup may have when being groomed. There are instructions for use in the box and plenty of YouTube videos to get you started.
"Grooming tools for the layman" have become easier to use and cheaper to purchase. Hopefully the above list will give you the incentive to try one or two.
That's the buzz for today!
For bathing and nourishing your pets' fur, skin, eyes and ears, visit 10+ Best Pet Shampoos For Healthy Skin And Fur.