12 Best Dog Grooming Tools

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Grooming makes our dogs look good and the simplest home grooming can leave them feeling good, too! Check your pet supplies to see if you have any of our list of the 12 best dog grooming tools–each basic grooming tools designed to help tame those tangles.

12 best dog grooming tools

We all know that good feeling we get after a professional hairstyling session. We feel clean, we feel confident. The same holds true for our dogs. Grooming not only makes our dogs look good but even the simplest home grooming can leave our dogs feeling good, too!

Even more importantly, grooming can help our dogs stay healthy. We use our grooming time to look for lumps and bumps on our dogs—as well as pesky hitchhikers like ticks and fleas that may have hopped onboard on a recent walk.

Although our grooming skills aren’t going to win any prizes, even the basic brushing, de-tangling and nail clipping that we perform on our dogs Barli and Tiki serves not only to keep their coat and skin healthy but also as a special bonding time.

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What Type of Coat Does Your Dog Have?

Our dogs have very different coat types so the grooming for each is different.

Barli’s curly far is extremely curly–so much so that we have to watch for mats especially in his tail and rear feathers if we don’t keep it brushed out. His coat is primarily a single coat, though; it’s thin on most of his body and his belly is almost bare.

On the other paw, Tiki’s grooming needs are quite different. Tiki has long fur with a double coat on her hips and rear legs. As a mix of Poodle, Doberman, Shetland Sheepdog, and Bulldog, her fur is also wavy and prone to matting. Her tail grabs stickers and debris, making it important to keep it groomed and tangle-free.

And our previous girl Irie had short Hound hair thanks to her Labrador Retriever, Coonhound and German Shorthaired Pointer heritage. That ancestry meant her coat was somewhat oily so she gets frequent baths. Her Pointer heritage also meant that her toes were arched, and her nails very heavy—a recipe for broken nails if not kept trimmed.

Just which tools do you need for your dog? The answer will depend on your dog’s breed, fur, activities and even the weather conditions.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular dog grooming tools:

Rubber Friction Brush.

The rubber friction brush is an easy-to-use brush with rubber nubs is a win-win for you and your dog, ranking as a top tool among many dog lovers because there’s no need to worry about hitting a tangle.

“For dogs that shed, we recommend a good soft rubber friction brush,” explains Mitch Horowitz of Furballs Pet Grooming.

“No matter how hard you brush, you cannot hurt your dog, and it gets off more unwanted hair than its metal counterparts.”

Bristle Brush.

Like a natural bristled human brush, bristle brushes are soft and gentle on fur.

Because they’re made from natural material, they don’t create the static buildup of many nylon brushes, and they distribute the oils throughout your dog’s coat while smoothing out the fur, especially on longhaired breeds.

Metal comb.

Do you have a non-shedder? Single coat dogs may just need a metal comb to help work out the kinks. (Need more info on selecting a comb? Don’t miss our post on how to choose a dog comb.)

“For dogs who do not shed, we recommend metal combs over brushes,” points out Horowitz. The Bayville, New Jersey groomer instructs dog owners to “comb small sections at a time to get the tangles out.”

DeShedding comb with blade.

The blade combined with the short comb helps remove shed fur, especially important during the spring months when your dog may “blow” his coat.

Don’t miss our review of the FURminator, a popular line of deshedding tools.

Shedding blade.

Resembling a looped hacksaw blade with a handle, the shedding blade brushes over your dog’s coat to remove loose fur. It’s important not to apply too much pressure with this type of tool.

Shedding rake.

Like the name suggests, the shedding rake features widely-spaced, downward facing tines that rake through your dog’s coat and remove the loose undercoat. Again, don’t apply too much pressure with this tool.

Pin Brush.

Useful for grooming the coats of longhaired and double-coated dogs as well as wire-haired breeds, pin brushes are designed to work through tangles.

Slicker Brush.

Most often used for curly coated dogs or breeds with medium to long fur, the slicker brush is made of fine wires spaced close together to remove mats and shed fur.

These brushes must be used with care so as not to scratch your dog’s skin.

Hound Glove.

Are you all thumbs when it comes to brushes and combs?

The Hound glove might be just the answer; all you have to do is slip this rubber glove over your hand and pet your dog!

The glove helps brush your dog’s coat and add shine to his coat.

Dog Shampoo.

Part of good grooming is a bath—but don’t reach for your own shampoo.

Human shampoos are too acidic, and using them will dry out your dog’s skin and strip the coat of needed oils.

Dog shampoos are specially formulated for your dog’s skin.

Ear Cleansers.

Our Irie’s long Hound ears always provided the perfect environment for yeast buildup. We used gentle ear cleansers and cotton balls to keep her ears clean and dry.

Nail Trimmer.

Nail trimming isn’t a favorite task for dogs or dog lovers but it’s a very necessary one. Nail trimmers with a safety guard can make the task quick and easy.

Long nails aren’t just hazardous for your floors and upholstery but they’re a health hazard for your dog as well. Long nails can become bruised as your dog walks or, even worse, they can snag and be torn from the nail bed.

This happened to Tiki as a puppy; her long nail snagged in Irie’s collar as they played. The blood loss was alarming, and Tiki had to have her nail removed with minor surgery at the vet’s office.

Perhaps the most important tool to have when grooming your dog is one you cannot buy, however: patience. Take your time grooming your dog, talk in happy tones, share a special treat, and transform grooming from a chore into a positive bonding experience!

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