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.

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!  


More regulations are needed in the pet grooming sector
Too many pets suffer mistreatment at the hands of pet groomers

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 have to have taken a course. What’s more, you can study online and not get any practical, real life experience at all before being actually coming into physical contact with a dog or a cat.

I find this absolutely mind blowing and 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 actually get a pet grooming license without being certified and without having acquired any formal pet grooming skills whatsoever.

While most states in the US require pet groomers to be licensed, others do not. Most licensing requirements apply to operating practices at grooming facilities and that may also include employees working at that location. Some groomers are required to have a domestic animal pest management license if they provide flea baths.

Not All Pets Enjoy Going To The Beauty Salon
Some pets will refuse to cooperate with grooming staff and actually put up physical resistance which is unacceptable and should never be allowed to happen. Even the gentlest and most experienced groomer can make a mistake when their fur client makes an unexpected movement, probably just a tiny nick. However, when a pet is belligerent, something far worse can easily happen.

PET PEEVE: While a mix breed dog, with a double coat, short stubby tail, and a nervous disposition, was in my care, 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 provided the clipping service in the first place knowing how distressed the dog was, and, second, that they hadn’t notified their human client of the nicking incident. In my book, this attitude is fraudulent and unethical.

The Human Element, The Risks
This is not an attempt to scare you. It is just a wake up call and a reminder of a devastating act of negligence that 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.

Incidents where this medical emergency has occurred are when drying cages are inappropriately regulated and left unattended as well as when a pet is left to dry outdoors in sunny and humid conditions.

Unfortunately, this is not as infrequent as you may think and, sadly, has happened to several clients of mine.

So please be cautious and 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. Animal abuse of any kind must not be tolerated and those who commit such acts need to be held accountable.


Pet groomers can obtain certification through one of three organizations
An experienced pet groomer beautifying a Yorkshire Terrier

There are great groomers. There are terrible groomers. And there are those that are sort of in the middle.

The bad and really bad ones are what enrage pet parents everywhere and their stories are what make the news.

So, let’s take a look at some basics which I’ll be presenting today and next week.

Training To Become A Groomer
By acquiring an education to become a proficient pet groomer, an individual can gain respect in the community they serve either as an employee or by working independently.

Training programs are often available at a local community college, a career school, online and/or blended course, or one can serve an informal apprenticeship with a licensed groomer. The duration of a course varies, the longest being 480 hours (16 weeks).

Besides learning how to handle cats and dogs of varying sizes and temperaments, as well as bathe them, style their hair and trim their nails, they should be able to recognize the signs of certain health issues or diseases and take the necessary precautions. To this list we must also add knowing how to sterilize equipment and maintain a hygienic work environment.

The ultimate achievement 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 chosen field.
Pet groomers are no exception and they can obtain certification through one of three organizations. These are…

National Dog Groomers Association of America
International Professional Groomers, Inc
International Society of Canine Cosmetologists.

Watch out for next week’s blog that highlights how the pet grooming profession is regulated.

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