How Do I Brush My Dog?

When you adopt a puppy, you take on a world of responsibilities similar to a human baby. (That’s why you’re now known as a “pet parent.”) As with a baby, you need to do quite a few things to ensure your puppy stays safe and healthy and matures into a well-adjusted adult dog.

You need to feed them healthy food, of course, and make sure they get plenty of exercise. Bringing them to the veterinarian for their immunizations is essential, and, unless you plan to breed them, having them spayed or neutered.

If you don’t think there’s a lot to do when you have a puppy, think about this; an entire industry is built on dog grooming, dog walking, dog sitting, watching dogs while parents go away, etc.

I thought about this the other day as I dutifully groomed my dog and clipped her nails. When I started to brush her, I thought about today’s question, how do I brush my dog? 

After removing any mats from your dog’s hair or fur, the answer is that you should brush it in the direction their hair or fur grows. If you have a long-haired puppy, it might be helpful to work in sections. Working in sections means starting close to your dog or puppy’s skin and working outward. 

Now that you know how to brush your dog and puppy, I would bet that you have more questions about how, when, and why to brush them. 

If you do, please read on. I have the answers to those questions, and several more, below.  If you want your dog and puppy to stay healthy, look beautiful, and get an extra opportunity to bond with them, the information below will be very helpful.

How Often Should you Brush a Dog?

The thing about brushing your dog or puppy is that, as long as you don’t use too much force, it’s almost impossible to overbrush them. 

You should keep an eye out for skin irritation like redness or dryness, but you can easily brush them every day if you like. As I mentioned earlier, brushing your dog is a fantastic way to increase your bond.

Below, I list the types of coats that a dog or puppy can have and how often veterinarians recommend you brush them:

  • Hairless. Once a week on the part where your pup has hair. (Usually the head.)
  • Short and smooth. Once a week
  • Short and wiry. 2 times per week
  • Curly. 2 times per week
  • Shirt with a double coat. 2 times per week
  • Long and silky. 3 to 4 times per week
  • Long and coarse. 3 to 4 times per week.
  • Long with a double coat. 3 to 4 times per week

Can I Use a Human Brush on my Dog?

You can certainly use a human brush on your dog or puppy with no problem. There isn’t much difference between human hairbrushes and dog hairbrushes.

Of course, you might not want to share a brush with your dog because of hygiene reasons and getting dog hair in your own hair. However, pin and vent brushes are excellent for use on puppies and dogs.

Also, many people keep an old brush handy for use at the dog park or after a day at the beach. If the brush gets nasty or messy, it won’t matter.

Is It Good to Brush Your Dog’s Hair?

Brushing your dog’s or puppy’s hair is good for them for several reasons. First and foremost, it keeps their coat looking beautiful, shiny, and healthy. 

Regular brushing also helps to release all the dead hair trapped in their fur and helps cut down on excess shedding around your house.  Regular brushing also removes mats from your dog’s fur or hair.

Another excellent benefit of brushing your puppy or dog’s hair is that the natural oils in their skin are distributed when you brush it, which keeps their skin moisturized and healthy.

Lastly, as I touched on already, brushing your puppy or dog’s hair is a fantastic way to bond with them, giving you one-on-one time together that will go far in strengthening your relationship.

Is It Better to Brush My Dog when Wet or Dry? 

Veterinarians and dog experts recommend brushing your dog’s coat or hair when it is thoroughly dry. The reason is that, when wet, brushing their hair can increase the chance of matting and make mats more difficult to remove from their coat.

Some pet parents feel that brushing their puppy or dog’s hair is easier when it’s wet because, when dry, it gets very tangled. If that’s the case with your puppy, you can use a pet-safe detangling product before you brush them.

Why Do You Brush a Dog’s Coat Before Bathing?

The main reason to brush a dog or puppy’s coat before bathing is to remove any loose fur stuck in their coat. Some puppies have an awful lot of hair and fur that gets caught in their coat and will make a mess in the bath. (And possibly clog your drain.)

Before bathing, brushing your puppy’s coat also ensures mats and tangles are brushed out. (Mats and tangles can be more difficult to remove from your puppy’s coat after it’s wet.)

Should you Brush Against a Dog’s Coat?

When it comes to a dog’s coat, you should always brush in the direction it grows. Most dogs do not enjoy it when their coat is brushed backward (and will let you know about it in no uncertain terms).

It’s also essential you’re as gentle as possible for several reasons. First, just like a human, pulling on a dog’s hair or fur can be painful. Also, it can stretch their hair until it gets to the point where it breaks or tangles badly.

Does Brushing a Dog Help with Dry Skin?

Veterinarians agree that brushing your puppy or dog will prevent dry skin. That’s because brushing removes dead skin and hair and, at the same time, distributes the natural oils onto their skin.

However, one thing to remember is that if your dog or puppy has dry skin, it’s best to determine what’s causing it rather than simply relying on brushing.

For example, do they have an underlying skin condition, or are you possibly bathing them too often or with the wrong shampoo? Using a mild, high-quality shampoo is best to prevent dry skin. A moisturizing conditioner can also minimize drying water’s effect on their skin after a bath. (Ironically, when the water dries after a bath, it can dry out a dog’s skin.)

How Often Should I Brush my Dog to Prevent Shedding?

How often you should brush your dog to prevent shedding is one of those “it depends” questions. For example, it depends on your puppy’s hair or fur, their breed, the time of year, and several other factors.

Earlier I laid out the brushing schedule, if you will, for the different types of dog hair and fur. Following that schedule will likely be the best way to prevent the most shedding. (For most pups, it’s 2 times a week.)

Final Thoughts

In answer to the question, “how do I brush my dog?” the best way is to first remove any mats from their hair or fur. Then, brush it in the direction that their hair or fur grows, not the opposite.

For most puppies and dogs, brushing them once or twice a week is the best way to get rid of excess dead fur and skin, distribute natural oils to their skin and prevent mats and tangles. 

Brushing is also a fantastic way to bond with your puppy. For many puppies, being brushed is something they enjoy thoroughly and makes them happy and content.

I hope today’s blog answered all of your questions on how to brush your dog or puppy. If you have more questions or want to learn more about being a pet parent, I recommend reading my other blogs.

I do my best to bring you real-world advice, tips, and information that will help you be an excellent puppy parent and ensure that your puppy is always happy and healthy. Until next time, enjoy brushing your dog and the bond it creates between you.