Pet Brushes 101

Have you ever just been at a loss for what brush your pet needs? I don’t blame you. Before I started learning about pet health and grooming I had no idea there were different brushes! As it turns out, the different brushes do serve different purposes, and using the wrong brush can sometimes be even worse than not brushing your pet at all! Below is the common breakdown of brushes and combs, and how you can decide which one(s) your pet will need.

Slicker Brushes

For dog hair that sheds – like your Labradors, Pugs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Shar Peis, and Terriers to name a few – slicker brush bristles are designed at an angle to catch and grab those loose and already fallen hairs from your dog’s coat. When picking a slicker brush you want to pick one proportional to your dog’s size, and always remember to brush softly. Those slickers can be sharp! I always love giving my guys a good brushing before giving them a bath to help minimize the clean up for me! This type of brush should not be used to remove knots or mats.


For dogs whose hair can form knots and mats, a comb would be a must for pet parents of Yorkies, Poodles, Shih Zus, Lhasa Apsos, Spaniels and other dogs with fine, long, hair. Remember (to those pet parents that had long hair as children) the horror of having a head full of knots? And your parents forcing that brush or comb through those clumps of hair? It’s the same for your pet! Now. you want to make sure that when you find a knot you place your fingers between the knot and your pet’s skin. Hold the hair at this place to make sure you aren’t tugging on your dog’s skin when you work the knot out; this will keep you from causing them too much discomfort. Always be sure to check the most common problem areas for knots and mats: (1) behind the ears and (2) under the arms. If your pet has a mat behind their ear or the under arm I highly suggest taking the pet to a groomer, so they can safely shave the mat out. Always try to comb out those knots and remove those mats before bathing. When they become wet and then dry, the knot/mat will dry tighter than it was before. This makes it more of a hassle to remove. Also keep in mind, only a groomer would know the safest blade technique to remove such mats. So don’t try to do so at home.

Rubber Brushes

This would be an additional grooming tool for those dogs that shed. This brush is not a necessarily a must-have, but it is an amazing addition if you want to get rid of as much loose hair on your dog as possible. This brush is different from the other two because you would use this on your dog when he or she is wet. Once your dog has been conditioned, pull out your rubber brush and use it in a circular motion all over your pet’s body. You will notice the hair coming out much more effectively than using a slicker brush alone! And your couch and clothes will thank you!

Want to check out a rubber brush for your pet? Click here to take a look!

What is a knot and a mat?

Knots and mats are clumps of tangled hair with varying degrees. Knots are those small tangles while mats are knots that have went un-brushed or unnoticed for so long that they have grown in severity and size. Knots can be combed out. However mats should really be taken care of by a professional groomer. Mats can be dangerous because it can be very hard to tell when the mats stops and skin starts, so never ever try to cut out a mat using scissors.

After every brushing session in my house, I make sure to give my guys some love. Whether it is taking them for a walk, playing catch, or giving them carrots, their favorite treats. Try to make brushing your pet a positive bonding experience for the both of you.