Best Dog Brushes

Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for Best dog brushes

Grooming, feeding, walking, playing – caring for a dog is a big responsibility. A good dog brush will make grooming your pooch a breeze. In some cases, it can help you avoid the need for an expensive professional groomer.

The question is, which is the best dog brush for your four-legged friend?

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It can be useful to have a second person involved during grooming. Your assistant can hold him and ply him with treats while you brush him.

Do you need to brush your dog?

All dogs should be brushed regardless of coat length. However, long-haired dogs require more frequent and extensive grooming than some other types of dogs.

Brushing your dog brings about many benefits, including the following.

  • Brushing helps get rid of tangles and prevent the formation of mats, especially for long-coated dogs.

  • Brushing helps redistribute the natural oils in your dog’s fur, thereby promoting a healthy coat and skin.

  • Brushing can help remove dead hairs during shedding season. For you, it’s much easier to clean the hairs up with a brush than it is with household cleaning supplies.

  • Brushing sessions can help form a closer bond between you and your four-legged friend.

Types of dog brushes

Bristle brushes

Bristle brushes feature closely packed bristles, either natural or synthetic, and are generally used on dogs with short coats and smooth hairs. They're not good for detangling fur, but they're ideal for removing loose hair on shorter coats and stimulating the skin.

Wire pin brushes

With widely spaced wire pins and rubber tips, these brushes look a lot like human hair brushes. They don't do much for short-coated dogs, but they can work wonders on wiry or wooly fur. Despite their popularity, a wire pin brush shouldn’t be the only brush you use. Instead, use a wire pin brush for finishing off a grooming session.

Slicker brushes

Slicker brushes are made up of short thin wires positioned closely together on a flat surface. They're excellent at removing tangles and mats; dogs with medium and long coats are good candidates for this type of brush. Be careful, though: a slicker brush could scratch your dog’s skin if you use too much pressure.

Deshedding brushes

Deshedding brushes are specifically designed to help remove loose hair that hasn't yet worked its way out of your dog's coat. With a deshedding brush, you can collect the fur rather than wait for it to slough off onto your furniture and floors. Deshedding brushes exist for dogs with short and medium/long coats. Those designed for long and medium coats can usually get right into your dog's undercoat.

Rubber brushes

You can use a rubber dog brush or grooming mitt on dogs with all kinds of coats. These products are designed more for massage and skin stimulation than they are for brushing, so a rubber brush shouldn’t be the only brush you use. However, a rubber brush can help remove some loose fur, and most dogs love the sensation of a rubber brush.

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Caution
Keep an eye out for any lumps and bumps while brushing your dog. If you find anything suspicious, get it checked by a vet.
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What to consider when buying a dog brush

Brush size

While many dog brushes come in just one size, you can find some larger and smaller brushes, too. It’s important to choose a brush size that’s appropriate for your canine companion. A brush that is too large could be awkward to use on a small dog. A brush that is too small could be frustrating because it takes a long time to cover ground on a larger dog.

Coat type

Your dog's coat type impacts what type of brush (or brushes) you should buy. A dog with a short coat may need only a simple bristle brush, but a dog with long hair and a dense undercoat will have much more complex needs. Refer to our descriptions of brush types above to help determine which brushes would be best for your dog.

Ease of cleaning

It's important to clean your dog brushes after each use to prevent bacteria from building up, but some dog brushes are easier to clean than others. With most brushes, you'll need to pull out any hair that is trapped between the bristles or pins. This is a time-consuming chore, especially with slicker brushes. Notably, there are some dog bushes with a button that pushes the hair out or retracts the pins for easier hair removal.

Dog brush prices

Basic bristle, wire pin, and slicker brushes start around $5. The priciest of dog brushes cost around $30.

If you’re in the market for a deshedding tool and/or a dog brush from a well-known manufacturer, plan to spend closer to $30.

Tips

  • Use care when brushing your dog. Don't exert too much pressure with the brush or pull on his tangles. If you dog experiences discomfort during grooming, it may turn him off to future brushings.

  • Choose durable grooming tools. You'll be brushing your dog regularly for the rest of his life, so it's worth spending a little more on durable brushes that stand up to wear and tear.

  • Always brush in the direction the coat grows. Dogs don't like the sensation of their coat being brushed the wrong way. Go with the grain.

  • Learn how to tame tangles. Rather than just pulling at tangles, use a dematting spray or a leave-in coat conditioner to get rid of tangles more comfortably. Your dog will appreciate it.
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They might look similar, but you should never use a human hair brush on a dog. Human hair brushes aren’t designed for dog grooming and could actually hurt or damage your dog’s coat.

FAQ

Q. Should I buy more than one type of dog brush?

A. Most people find they need more than one dog brush in their arsenal, but it depends on your dog’s coat and how much she sheds. If you have a short-haired dog, you may get away with using just a bristle brush. For dogs with long fur, we recommend at least a slicker brush, a wire pin brush, and a deshedder.

Q. How can I help my dog become accustomed to grooming sessions?

A. Dogs who aren’t used to being brushed can find the ordeal a bit daunting. However, most dogs grow to love it. Just make sure you’re using gentle techniques that don’t hurt the dog.

Start slow, especially if your furry friend is unsure about the brush. Let her see it and sniff it; then give her praise and treats. If she’s comfortable with the brush, give her a few strokes and praise her some more. Then, put the brush away for the day. Over time, you can gradually increase the length of your brushing sessions.

Q. How often should I brush my dog?

A. That depends on her coat length. Dogs with long coats should be brushed daily or once every couple of days. If you go longer than this between brushings, mats or tangles will start to form, making the grooming process harder for you and more uncomfortable for your dog.

Dogs with medium coats should be brushed at least once or twice a week to prevent tangles and remove loose hair from the undercoat. Dogs with short coats only need to be brushed once a week or even once every couple of weeks, although you may want to brush your pup more often while she's shedding.

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