“Hi, I have a question about brushing. I have a medium sized Pomeranian Mix with long, thick hair. Every time I go to the groomer she has to get cut short because of “matting”. I don’t understand how she could be matted when I brush her at least 3 or 4 days a week. My groomer says I am not bushing close enough to the skin and that’s where the mats are. Please help! I want her to stay long and I hate having to shave her down.” ~Amanda, Stockbridge
Amanda, what you have is a common problem. It sounds like what you are doing is called “surface brushing.” This is where you are brushing just the surface of the dog and not getting down deep through that entire long, thick coat. So now that question is, how do I avoid surface brushing?
First, you need to make sure you have the correct type of brush for your pet’s coat type. Just like people have different types of hair and brushes for each type, so do pets. You could get lost in all the different types of brushes you can find on the internet or at one of those commercial pet stores. A good slicker brush, with the correct type of bristles for long, med or short hair, will do the trick.
When starting to brush you dog (or cat for our other readers), start at the feet. The feet? Yes, the feet. Brush up the dog, taking it one section of hair at a time. This way you are getting all the way down to the skin and not compacting tangles on top of tangles. Work your up to the ankle, then to the knee, and up to the hip on each leg. The tackle the belly and sides, which are both very sensitive areas so be gentle and take it a little bit slower here. After all four legs, the stomach and the sides are brushed out start on the back. Work your way from tail all the way to the neck and the chest, making sure you overlap a little on the areas you already brushed. Finally do the head and face. If you have a dog with a bead, be very gentle and use the same principle. Start at the neck and work your way to the chin, then move up the snout.
The first few times you brush your pet this way, it will feel daunting; however, you will get the hang of it and soon it will be a breeze. This is great bonding time for you and your beloved pet. It’s like a full body message and your pet will be grateful for the time and love you are investing in him or her.
Another added bonus to brushing this way is you should see a drastic decrease in the amount of fur in your home. The fur that would be on your floors and furniture is now in the brush. It would be helpful to either have a grocery bag or a trash can next to you while brushing your pet.
Do you have a question you would like answered? Please feel free to email me at Rachel@talltailspetsalon.com . Every Thursday I will publish a new question and answer.