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Dog Grooming Tips (3 of 10) - Basic Grooming Equipment & Tools



Basic Grooming Equipment & Tools
When used correctly, grooming equipment and tools contribute significantly to the health of the skin and hair and enhance a dog's general appearance.

Brushes come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. The bristle brush is an all-purpose brush that may be used on short-, medium-, double-coated and long-coated breeds. The bristles can be made of nylon, natural material or a combination of the two. The last is the most popular variety. It combines reasonable price with flexibility, as it can be used on many different coat types. All-nylon bristles are quite hard. They may break fragile hair or cause static electricity, so they are inappropriate for some types of coats. The softest type of brush is a natural bristle brush. It is also the most expensive.

Pin brushes are usually used to groom long-haired breeds such as Afghans, Lhasa Apsos, Shih Tzu and Yorkshire Terrier They are also good for double-coated breeds like the Old English Sheepdog. A variety of sizes are available for easy brushing of small, medium and large breeds. The pin palm brush, oval rubber pad with pins that have rounded tips to prevent coat damage, is a special brush used to groom the face and legs of hard-coated terriers.

A common type of brush is the slicker brush. The bent-wire teeth of the slicker brush are set close together to help remove mats and dead hair. Most come in three sizes: small, for Toy breeds; medium, for average-sized breeds; and large, for heavy coated or large breeds. Slicker brushes will take out large amounts of coat, which is good if you want to reduce the around-the-house accumulation from shedding. A slicker may not be the correct choice if you're trying to keep the maximum amount of coat on your dog for the show ring.

All-rubber brushes have flexible, short, soft bristles with rounded ends. They are fine for polishing the coat of smooth coated breeds or for removing dead hair without scratching the skin.

Helping you find the right grooming tools and supplies for your dog and showing you how to use them is the business of your puppy's breeder. Add another reason to the growing list of why it's smart to buy from a breeder.

Combs come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, with different tooth lengths and spacing. In general, fine-tooth combs are best used on soft, silky or sparse hair. Medium-tooth combs are used for average coat textures and coarse-tooth combs are good for dense or heavy coats. Some combs have close-set teeth on one end and wide-spaced teeth on the other end. The length of the teeth should depend on how far the comb needs to penetrate to reach the skin. Some combs have handles; others do not. The best combs are made of stainless steel or chrome-plated solid brass and have spring-tempered teeth with rounded tips to prevent skin irritation.

Stripping implements are used to groom show terriers and other harsh-coated breeds. In the broadest sense, stripping involves the removal of dead hair using a specialized grooming technique. Many purists insist on plucking with finger and thumb and use stripping tools only to fine tune their work. Clipping these breeds, which cuts off the ends of the hair without removing the dead undercoat, is undesirable because it tends to soften the texture of the coat and sometimes leads to faded coat color.

There are also stripping combs, knives, dressers and undercoat knives. Proper coat stripping is done over a period of weeks, depending on the coat texture, growth pattern, climate and humidity, among other things. For a better explanation on using stripping tools, consult your breed experts.