You don’t always have to take your dog or cat to the groomer. If you have the best brushing and combing pet tools, you can definitely do most of the basic tasks yourself, at home.

A shedding blade is ideal for harsh types of coats Credit: Photo by Mickey Samuni-Blank
A shedding blade is ideal for harsh types of coats.
Photo by Mickey Samuni-Blank

The choice of brushes and combs is quite extensive so it’s necessary to know the best ones to pick depending on the type of coat your pet has. Each has a specific purpose and won’t disappoint if used correctly.

It’s Not Only About Esthetics

Did you know that grooming pets brings benefits of another kind?  In fact, in this blog we’re not just discussing an enhanced and visually pleasing exterior appearance. 

Regular brushing, combing, trimming and bathing will, of course,  keep your pet clean, matt-free, and help reduce the likelihood of external parasite infestation. On top of that, these actions assist in minimizing the amount of fur your dogs and cats can dump in your home, on floor surfaces and furniture.

Grooming pets brings benefits such as improved blood circulation Credit: Photo by Fluter
Grooming pets brings benefits such as improved blood circulation.
Photo by Fluter

Below The Surface Benefits

So, grooming has below the surface benefits, too. And by that I mean they can promote general well-being as well as detect health risks.

By passing your hand over the skin and doing a visual examination before brushing, you can notice things you may not otherwise. For example, scratches, skin issues, swelling and lumps that may require veterinary attention.

In addition, when you touch a limb from top to bottom, you may notice tenderness which could be an indication of arthritis or injury.

You may already know this but it’s worth highlighting here. The action of brushing actually stimulates blood circulation and helps the secretion and distribution of natural oils. As a result, your pet’s skin gets a health boost and a nice, shiny coat.

A metal comb is particularly useful in sensitive areas Credit: Photo by Bordercolliez
A metal comb is particularly useful in sensitive areas.
Photo by Bordercolliez

Some Of The Best Brushing Combing Pet Tools

The selection is extensive and what you’ll see at your local pet store are at-home grooming tools. They cater to the needs of all breed types and the diversity of coats they exhibit. Most online pet stores have helpful descriptions of the products they sell. Consequently, it’s a lot easier for pet parents to choose the best items for the job at hand.

To give you an idea of what these tools do, here’s a list for quick reference.

Cat being groomed with a long-handled rubber brush Credit: Photo by Jiaqian AirplaneFan
Cat being groomed with a long-handled rubber brush.
Photo by Jiaqian AirplaneFan

Bristle Brushes are widely used for all coat types. They remove surface debris and leave a nice shine on long-coated dogs.

The Slicker Brush has rows of thin wire pins which are good for dematting, detangling and removing loose fur. It’s ideal for long and curly coats.

Pin Brushes are similar to the slicker brush but have plastic or rubber tips on the wire pins for a gentler brushing experience. They are very practical for wavy and curly coats.

The Undercoat Rake has longer, fewer pins than a pin brush. This device is designed to untangle and remove dead hair from the lower layer of double-coated dogs.

Similar in style to the brush used for horse grooming, the Curry Brush is ideal for most short-haired dogs. When gently rubbed over the coat, its short rubber teeth loosen dirt and are able to remove large amounts of shedding hair.

More Useful Grooming Accessories

Grooming Gloves are currently getting a lot of publicity and pet parents find them very practical. They can be used on both dry and wet coats in long, firm strokes, typically to drag off loose hair from short-coated dogs.

Flea combs remove live and dead fleas as well as their eggs
Flea combs remove live and dead fleas as well as their eggs

The very basic Metal Comb helps manage tangles and is particularly useful in sensitive areas such as the ears, toes and tail. Some styles even have teeth with rounded tips for extra safety.

Flea Combs, used mostly for cats, feature narrowly spaced teeth for the effective removal of live and dead fleas as well as their eggs. Areas worthy of special attention are the face, neck and just in front of the tail.

The FURminator is a patented, highly effective de-shedding tool. It comprises a metal comb with a button to release the collected fur, and works on nearly all coat types.

The FURminator is an example of how brushing and combing pet tools have evolved
The FURminator is an example of how brushing and combing pet tools have evolved

A Shedding Blade is a curved metal strip where the two ends join together at the handle. The lower edge has zig zag teeth and as you drag it across the flat, short or combination harsh types of coats, it effectively removes loose hair.

Here’s why you should resist shaving double-coated dogs
Here’s why you should resist shaving double-coated dogs

Warning Against Shaving Double-Coated Dogs

This is so important, I felt compelled to add it to this blog about grooming tools. Please don’t do this yourself or ask your groomer to, either. It is a big mistake that has long-term consequences.

Single- And Double-Coated Dogs

So, let’s start off differentiating between the two groups. A poodle, for example, has a single coat that requires clipping and/or shaving depending on a particular chosen style. Moreover, the fur will grow back the way it was before.

Double-coated dog breeds include the Husky, Golden Retriever, Pomeranian, most herding breeds and terriers, and others. They have two layers of fur that needs to be kept intact. The purpose is not just to protect the body from the cold, but from the heat, as well. 

In the spring, these dogs will naturally shed a lot of their undercoat. And, this will be replaced by one that is considerably lighter yet still protect the sensitive skin.

A Lesson Learned

The poster you see here shows how a dog’s temperature is adversely affected as a result of shaving. Instead of providing relief from the summer heat, it has the opposite effect. It makes them less tolerant. And, might I add, a previously sleek, soft and shiny top coat will typically become coarse, frizzy and dull.

To Sum Up

Now that you have a better idea of what’s out there, you are in a position to choose the best brushing and combing pet tools, that are perfect for grooming your dog and cat at home. And, not only that, think of the health benefits it provides and the enjoyment of bonding even more with your furry companions.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

If you want to have details and hard facts about pet grooming services, click on the links below. I guarantee you will be surprised.

Qualifications of grooming staff:

Regulations for business owners:


Does Safe Pet Grooming Exist?

Still on the topic of pet groomers, today I ask another question. Is the pet grooming profession regulated? 

Since many of you regularly use this service, hopefully you read last week’s blog introducing the topic of pet groomers. It deals with training and certification and why a good skills set is of the utmost importance.

Now today, the focus is on risk and dangers, mistakes and mistreatment and, of course, licensing and regulations.

If the pet grooming profession were regulated, fewer pets would suffer mistreatment at the hands of pet groomers who work unchecked
If the pet grooming profession were regulated, fewer pets would suffer mistreatment


The Stark Reality

So, let’s take a deeper look into this profession. In actual fact, it doesn’t take much to call yourself a pet groomer and start charging clients for grooming services. Anyone can do that. 

You don’t even need to take a course. What’s more, you can study online and not get any practical experience. That is, no real life training at all before actually coming into physical contact with a dog or a cat. The bottom line is that many pet groomers work unchecked.

I find this absolutely mind blowing. In fact, I’m dismayed that there are little or no regulations in place to protect pet parents and their pets from potentially harmful situations. And, I’m talking about scenarios where a pet can actually lose its life because of negligence.


It’s hard to believe that an individual can obtain a pet grooming license without being certified. And what’s more, without having acquired any formal pet grooming skills whatsoever.

While most states in the USA call for pet groomers to be licensed, others do not. Most licensing requirements apply to operating practices at grooming facilities and may also include employees working at that location. In addition, some groomers need to have a domestic animal pest management license if they provide flea baths. 

So, if we look at this across the country, it would not be accurate to say that the pet grooming profession is regulated.

Not All Pets Enjoy Going To The Beauty Salon

Some pets will refuse to cooperate with grooming staff and actually put up physical resistance. This is unacceptable and should never be allowed to happen. On the other hand, even the gentlest and most experienced groomer can make a mistake. Also, their fur client could move unexpected, resulting in just a tiny nick. However, when a pet is belligerent, something far worse can happen quite easily.

Pet Peeve – This Really Happened

I was staying at a client’s home providing 24/7 care for several pets. This particular incident involved a mix breed dog, with a double coat, short stubby tail, and a nervous disposition. I noticed that he had a cut on the tip of his tail. I immediately reported this to my client who told me that his dog had gone to a new pet salon and that it had taken three members of staff to control him. 

To this day I am shocked that the groomers had insisted on providing the clipping service. In the first place, they knew how distressed the dog was. And second, they hadn’t notified their human client of the nicking incident. Was the owner, or manager, of the business present at the time? Who exactly was in charge? It certainly looks like a case of the pet groomers working unchecked.

In my opinion, this attitude is fraudulent and unethical. So, what do my readers think about this? I’d really like to hear from you. 

The Human Element, The Risks

This is not an attempt to scare you. It’s just a wake up call and a reminder of a devastating act of negligence. Yet it happens far too often at brick and mortar groomers all over the country. Dogs have died and continue to die because of this. Hyperthermia. 

Hyperthermia occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. It affects brain function, damages internal organs and can rapidly cause unconsciousness, coma and death.

This medical emergency occurs when staff do not operate drying cages correctly and leave them running unattended. An example of another likely situation is when they leave a pet outdoors to dry in sunny and humid conditions.

Unfortunately, these tragedies are more frequent than you may think and, sadly, have happened to several clients of mine.

To Sum Up

Please do your homework and be cautious. Check out as thoroughly as possible the reputation of any grooming facility you contemplate using. Better safe than sorry.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  

NOTE: Rather than post a disturbing video showing pet groomers mistreating dogs and cats, I decided to publish this photo. We must not tolerate animal abuse of any kind and we need to hold accountable those who commit such acts.

If you think you’re up to taking on part or all of your pet’s grooming routine yourself, this will be a great help:


Is Your Pet Groomer Certified?

If you have a dog, or a cat, you need a qualified groomer you can trust. That’s why pet grooming requires proper training, just like any other profession. After all, a good skills set is what really matters.

Let’s see. There are great groomers and there are terrible groomers. Then there are those that are somewhere in the middle. And, as we would expect, it’s the bad and the really bad ones that enrage pet parents everywhere. Unfortunately, those are the stories that make the news. However, they do serve as a warning. And if we learn from them, we can take precautions ourselves to avoid sad and tragic outcomes.

So, let’s take a look at some basics. Is your pet groomer certified? Here’s what you need to know.

Like any profession, pet grooming requires proper training. Is your pet groomer certified?
Like any profession, pet grooming requires proper training. Is your pet groomer certified?

Training To Become A Pet Groomer

By acquiring an education to become a proficient pet groomer, an individual can gain respect in the community. He, or she,  can either be an employee in someone else’s business or work independently.

And, how does a pet groomer get certified? Well, firstly, training programs are often available at a local community college. You can also attend a career school, take an online and/or blended course, or else serve an informal apprenticeship with a licensed groomer. The duration of a course varies, but the longest is 480 hours (16 weeks).

The Course Broken Down

The study program covers how to handle cats and dogs of varying sizes and temperaments, as well as bathe them, style their hair and trim their nails. Students are also taught how to recognize the signs of certain health issues or diseases and take the necessary precautions. Extremely important, too, is knowing how to sterilize equipment and maintain a hygienic work environment.  

The ultimate achievement in this chosen profession is to become a Master Groomer.

How Groomers Get Certified

Like all professions, becoming certified is proof you have learned the basic skills to begin a successful career in your field. Pet groomers are no exception and, in the USA, they can obtain certification through one of these three organizations.

National Dog Groomers Association of America.

International Professional Groomers, Inc.

International Society of Canine Cosmetologists.

To Sum Up

Don’t miss next week’s blog for more on the pet grooming profession. The risks and dangers. Mistakes and mistreatment. Licensing and regulations.

If you did happen to miss the above-mentioned blog, not to worry. Here’s the link:

And, if you think you’re up to taking on part or all of your pet’s grooming routine yourself, this will be a great help:

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!