Coat Care — The Long And Short Of It

The most important aspect of good grooming is regular brushing with the correct brush. Brushing removes undercoat as it separates topcoat. Brushing prevents matting as the process distributes natural oils throughout the coat, making the skin healthier and the coat shinier. Your dog will not only look better...your best friend will feel better! And you won't find as much hair on your furniture and carpets.

To do the best job, you need the right tools (see Coat Care Tools). Once you've decided which brush and comb are best suited to your breed's coat type, you will want to get your dog off the floor, out of your lap and onto a raised surface to effectively brush all parts of his body. Floor time is play- time, lap time is love time and grooming time is on a grooming table, or bath mat placed on a counter! This is the only way you can reach all parts of your dog's body to effectively brush him. Keep one hand on your dog at all times, or secure him by a grooming arm and noose to prevent him from jumping or falling.

Remember, never leave your dog unattended on a table! Beginning at a rear foot, work your way up and over the entire body by parting the coat and brushing from the skin out in short strokes. Pay special attention to friction points, behind the dog's ears, under its front legs and around the hocks on the rear legs, which are easily matted. Be sure to remove the collar or harness so that you do not miss those areas. Use a comb to test what you've brushed by placing it in the coat parallel to the skin. Do not drag the tips of the tines along your dog's skin...this can cause unnecessary discomfort. The diameter of the individual tines should be narrow with a coarse spacing. This allows the comb to penetrate the hair, instead of pushing it flat.

One, Two, Three – Groom: Now you're ready to apply the basics of good grooming to your dog. First of all, what kind of coat does he have? Please see coat types here.