would have far less work if more pet owners
regularly brushed and combed their pets between
professional grooming appointments. The wise
groomer will offer maintenance brushing and
combing training to interested clients, and even
the public in general as a way to attract new
customers. Ironically there are owners that
regularly brush and comb their dogs, but when the
dog comes in for its next appointment you still
find matts, plenty of undercoat and a chore to
is that? Unless owners have had proper instruction
to brush and comb long coated dogs, they typically
brush and comb the outer coat and leave hair shed
to gather and matt in the undercoat. Welcome to
the wacky world of brushing and combing dogs.
brushing and combing contributes to the health of
skin and coat, but it is the responsibility of the
pet owner. To groomers brushing and combing is
necessary to clean and style pets on grooming day.
Proper brushing and combing does contribute to pet
health in the end though as coated pets with matts
and tangling are uncomfortable, and may have
organic matter like weeds poking at their skin
under the coat. In general, matted coats are
uncomfortable and prevent healthy air circulation
from reaching the skin.
and Combing Frequency During Grooming
long coated pet's may have repeat brushing
periods as part of:
- Fluff-drying procedures.
- Start of finish styling procedures as needed.
breed and mixed breed has coat characteristics
known to professional groomers. You can use the
breed information links in the column to the left
to learn more about coat characteristics for over
and combing before the bath has three purposes. First,
it loosens dirt and dander, and foreign matter. Second;
it removes hair shed. Third, it stimulates the skin and
allows natural hair oils to circulate. Fortunately,
brushing and combing brings the professional groomer's
focus to the whole of the dog's body and many
of pet conditions are made. These include potentially
serious conditions that require veterinary attention.
For example, scabs, cuts, sores and various skin
conditions hidden by medium or longer coats can be
discovered by keeping a keen eye on the dog during
brushing and combing procedures.
styling pets require that all undercoat is
removed, the pet is clean and the coat properly
dried and final combed before the art of styling
begins. If it isn't, the styling cannot be
successful; that's how important brushing, combing
and bathing procedures are to the finished
product. A skilled pet bather (bather-brusher) is
a joy to full-charge stylists.
and combing tasks increase with matted
coats. If the problem is severe, brushing and
combing ceases and groomers may have to advise the
pet owner that the task of de-matting would
require excessive brushing and combing not
advisable for the comfort of their pet. Severely
matted coats are then "removed" (clipped
short) with clippers equipped with the proper blade.
brushing and combing (and de-matting as necessary)
is usually done before the bath. Dogs freed of undercoat
before their bath are more quickly bathed. Also,
the advantages of a bath are greater without
undercoat because shampoo, conditioner and rinse water
is reaches through the coat down to skin far more
water can start the matting process immediately
undercoat is still present, especially on the Bichon
Frise. Only highly-skilled bathers should opt
to bathe a pet without the undercoat already
Brushing and combing
after bathing. Most don't seem to mind
Day in a Pet Grooming School Photo Exhibit
There are practical reasons for brushing, combing and de-matting (as needed) pets before their bath from an operations point-of-view.
Bathing releases some undercoat and debris that
can block drains. Tubs should be equipped with
drain traps, but you can over-work them
unnecessarily by not removing more
undercoat before bathing.
you wait to remove undercoat after the bath, while the pet is being fluff-dried,
the blow dryer will help eject a lot of bothersome undercoat.
for hair flying around the bathing area
may be annoying and
increase cleaning chores. Finally, you actually slow down the
fluff-drying time by not removing undercoat before the bath. The delay
may mean that other areas of the pet's coat not yet
fluff-dried will curl and dry before being brushed
dried. This type of curly hair not appropriate for
finish styling. Curly dry areas must be moistened with
water from a spray bottle, and then fluff-dried by hand until the hair is
again dry but straightened.
most common grooming brushes are the
"wire slicker brush" and the "pin
brush." They are usually used on medium to
heavy coated pets. Rubber brushes work well on
short-coated dogs. Your professional training
should include choosing the right brush for the
right coat and skin type.
too much downward pressure on a brush and thereby
pushing it against the dog's skin can result in
"brush burns." Wire slicker brushes
applied this way scratch the skin, and even break
small blood vessels and further redden the skin.
They are noticeable, especially on light color
skin dogs, and you can expect pet owners to ask
there is no reason for wire slicker brushes to
make harsh contact with skin. The key to brushing
with them is to angle the brush near the skin, not
against it, grasp the coat just about the skin,
and then brush outward usually with the grain of
coat growth. On all dogs the skin around the
stomach, anus, and male sheath is very sensitive
to any kind of brushing. Brushing techniques vary
with coat types; you need experience brushing and
combing all major coat types as part of your school
training or apprenticeship.
done before the bath removes tangles and undercoat
broken up from brushing. Start with wide spaced
tooth combs in matted and tangled areas, and
follow-up with finer tooth combs thereafter. After
bathing, combing in the direction of the hair
growth sets the coat back in its normal lay and
uncovers any tangles or matts you may have missed.
At the end of a professional bathing procedure, a
comb should easily glide through the coat. Combing
before finish styling lays the coat in order for
cutting and scissor styling.
short smooth coated dogs don't require pin or wire
slicker brushes or combs. Instead, rubber brushes
for hound breeds are excellent on these types of
coats. They loosen hair shed and dirt, and
stimulate coat oils and skin circulation. Groomers
with advanced training may use shedding blades to
remove excess hair shed on some short smooth
more information on grooming tools and supplies click
here. See also grooming