Most dog owners love their dogs, but hate dealing with their dog’s hair. The best way to tackle dog's shedding hair problem is to start while the hair is still on the dog and hasn't spread all over your living room yet. One of the ways to deal with dog's hair is using dog shedding tools. But how to pick the right one?
It's common sense that a well-groomed pooch will leave less hair on the furniture, which is the primary reason to groom your dog. On top of that, dog grooming itself is a great way to bond with your pet and catch health issues like ticks, fleas, and rashes well in advance.
Dog shedding tools are one of the first items in a home groomer's arsenal. However, with the abundance of choices on these (have you taken a look at Amazon recently?!) it's no surprise that most of us pet parents are lost as to which deshedding tool to purchase. In this article, I'll try to break it down how to do your research, and find the best dog shedding tools to deal with your Fido's hair problem.
Dog Shedding Tools: Tips on Choosing the Best Dog Brush
Know what type of coat your dog has
Before you dig into the search for the perfect dog shedding tool, you need to determine what type of hair and coat your dog has. Different breeds have different coat and hair types, and require different grooming tools and even different ways of grooming (check out this article below on how to groom different dog coats).
First, let's quickly put this myth away: there are no dogs that do not shed. Such dog breeds simply do not exist. There's only a difference in the amount of hair one breed can produce over the other. But all dogs shed: some canines shed more, some dogs shed less.
For example, if you have a dog with a smooth, short coat – like a Boxer or Greyhound – he or she probably sheds less than a German Shepherd. Nonetheless, it’s still a good idea to brush your dog’s coat, to help distribute the dog’s natural oils, remove brambles and thorns, and keep the skin healthy.
Dogs with smooth, short coats as well as those with medium coats – like Golden retrievers and Huskies – can be cared for by using a simple bristle dog brush. As a general rule, the coarser your dog’s hair, the stiffer the bristles of the brush should be. Thus such dog brush wouldn't work for all types of dog hair.
If your dog has long hair – think Afghan hounds, Yorkshire terriers, and Irish setters – having a wire-pin or slicker brush for shedding dogs in addition to a bristle dog brush is definitely a good idea. These brushes for dogs address the fluffy undercoat that many breeds have in addition to their longer top coat.
Finally, some dog owners like to use a shedding blade, which is a flexible metal band with a rough edge that has been bent into a loop and mounted to a handle. These are usually the best dog shedding tools for dogs with rough coats, and with short to medium coats. These are commonly used for horses and other large animals, so make sure you’re getting the dog-specific variety.
Speaking with a professional dog groomer is another great strategy to use when deciding on the right set of dog shedding tools. Professional pet groomers regularly work with a variety of dog breeds and are usually familiar with many types of hair.
Take a look at what brushes and combs groomers are your local pet grooming salon have in their arsenal and find out what they recommend for dogs similar to your own.
Alternatively, you can educate yourself by reading some books or online, and learn more about the way groomers work and the reasons why they choose any specific dog shedding tools, dog clippers and other type of dog grooming supplies. Here, we have an abundance of articles from professional groomers on how to groom your dog yourself.
Your veterinarian is also a good source of information for which deshedding tool to pick for your dog's hair. The vet may know if your dog’s breed has particularly oily or sensitive skin, and if your dog’s hair has any unusual qualities that you need to be aware of.
In addition to vets and groomers, breeders and show dog associations can have valuable input. Simply Google a list of these within your local area, and send then a quick email, give them a phone call or even drop by These places are normally very helpful.
After you have figured out the above, and now that you’ve got an idea of what style dog shedding tool might work with your individual canine's hair, it’s time to go shopping. In addition to price and availability, below I will list another few important factors that need to be considered when picking out the best option.
How to win at shopping for the best dog shedding tools
First thing you want to know: does it come apart for easy cleaning? Ideally, your dog will be bathed and dried before you begin grooming, but there might be a few stray twigs or insects left behind that get caught in your brush. You don't want to have all that hair spread around your house when the tool doesn't come apart easily and you have to “pluck” dog's hair out of there.
Additionally, keeping your dog shedding tools clean off hair will help prevent spreading any problems between dogs, just in case you’re grooming more than one, or use the same tool to groom your cat.
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Next, if you're buying your dog shedding tool in a pet store, try and see if the brush feels comfortable in your hand. Online shopping won't allow for this, but if you have the opportunity to sort through your options in person, pick up a few different deshedding tools and hold them.
Pay attention to how easy they are to grip and if they fit nicely in your hand. A stiff, plastic handle is likely to be less comfy than an ergonomic silicone handle, but it may also affect the price. Keep looking until you find something that strikes a good balance between your wallet and your comfort zone. After all, you'll be spending many hours with this tool.
Third thing you need to know is whether the tool is the right size for your dog. In addition to fitting nicely within your hand, these dog shedding tools must also fit your dog. Most manufacturers make dog brushes meant specifically for either small dogs or large dogs. You can even choose to use a wide brush for your dog’s body and a narrower brush to address dog's leg and tail hair.
When shopping for shedding tools online, it may be difficult to gauge size and comfort. You can, however, sometimes find help in the form of product reviews. The better online shopping websites often feature a section for buyers to give feedback on the items they’ve purchased. Take a look not only at the item’s rating (how many stars or points it has), but also read a few reviews. One reviewer may have given a poor review because the product didn’t come in the color they wanted, while this might not be an important detail to you.
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Most importantly, make certain that the deshedding tool you’re considering will be safe for your pet. This is another area where you will want your veterinarian to weigh in. Dog shedding tools that break easily or are too harsh may be dangerous and should be avoided.
Once you’ve taken a new tool home and are trying it out for the first time, be gentle with your dog. Until you are comfortable with how much pressure to use, keep your eyes open. Pay attention to your dog’s skin and make sure the new tool isn’t scratching or irritating. If brushing is unpleasant or painful to your dog, he or she will want to avoid this activity in the future.
Finally, shortening your dog's hair may also be an option. Consider talking to a professional groomer and/or veterinarian about this as well. If this is something that has been confirmed as a viable option, then you can opt for a good set of dog hair clippers and easy your job by shortening your dog's hair a little.
Consider other options to decrease dog shedding
Dog brushes, shedding blades, and dog combs are certainly useful to own, but proper dog nutrition and cleaning are important aspects, too. If your dog is shedding excessively or scratching often, these could be signs that he or she is not getting the right vitamins and minerals.
RELATED: Vet Recommended Dog Food Brands
Omega-3 oils, such as those found in fish, help with keeping your dog's skin in good condition. If your dog food doesn’t include healthy oils, consider switching to a higher-quality product or consult your vet about adding a supplement (take a look at our list of recommend dog foods above, made by the vet).
If the hair is falling out of your dog’s coat more in some areas than in others, take care to examine the skin. Chances are, the dog is suffering from a localized irritant, such as an insect bite or a small wound. Allergies could also be causing itching, especially in sensitive areas like the dog's eyes, ears, and nose.
The type of dog hair product you use on your dog’s coat can trigger a histamine response. A lot of human hair shampoos contain fragrances and dyes and are unsuitable for pets. A professional groomer and columnist wrote a great article on why using human shampoo on dogs is dangerous.
In short, if you must use a hair product meant for people on your dog, use one formulated for children that indicates it will not irritate delicate tissue. When shopping for dog-specific grooming and dog care products, four of the most beneficial ingredients are:
- Vitamin E
- Olive oil
Watch out for adtditives in your dog's shampoo, such as mineral oil, parabens, chlorides, and sulfates. Products that are dramatically-colored – like bright blue, neon green, or fluorescent orange – will more than likely have some kind of chemical dye in them, which can also be harmful to your pet.
When playing the shampoo game, try to stick with something that's organic, clear or neutral in color, with simple ingredients that you can easily pronounce and preferably including those from the list above.
If you take a little time to research the best dog products, contact your veterinarian, speak to a professional dog groomer and read labels on the dog supplies that you purchase, you should end up with a toolbox of dog shedding tools and solutions that are an appropriate fit for you and your best friend.