Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ask Billy: Do I really have to brush my short-haired dog?

At least 3,453,897 times a week, Billy (and now Jill) comes across someone who claims that his or her short haired dog "never needs to be brushed."  Hearing this type of blasphemy is our cross to bear, but we feel truly sorry for all those dirty, furry short-haired dogs out there. Moreover, (solely for emphasis) Billy has been known to lift up the owner's pant leg and check the socks for the tell-tale fur coating.  Fur covered socks are always a dead giveaway that you've been neglecting your brushing duties.  

ALL dogs except, of course, the truly hairless must be brushed regularly. And by regularly, we mean several times a week--at least.  It's good for Fido and for you.

In addition to the emotional satisfaction of basking in your attention, the benefits of brushing are numerous.  Brushing removes Fido's dead fur, which dulls the coat, distributes the fur's natural oils and simulates blood flow to the skin.  As a result, your regularly brushed pooch will have a clean, healthy, sleek, shiny coat just like the beautiful Bella shown above.  Besides, proper brushing feels really, really good--like a massage.  Just be gentle and don't brush over the same spot too many times.  (In our book, you'll learn all the proper brushing techniques.) Your best friend certainly deserves some pampering in exchange for all that unconditional love. 

The benefits of brushing don't stop there.  You get to relax and enjoy quality time with your best pal.  In addition, you'll see much less fur on your furniture, clothes, floor and socks; brushing removes the dead fur before it falls off your dog.  Just think of all the money you'll save on lint rollers and dry cleaning!

The appropriate brush to use depends on how short Fido's fur actually is.  Dogs with very short coats like the Dalmatian, Boxer, Pit Bull, Smooth Chihuahua, Great Dane, Whippet, Greyhound, Bulldog and Smooth Dachshund require a "rubber curry."  If your dog's coat is a bit longer, like a Lab, Mastiff, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd or Long Haired Dachshund purchase a good quality "slicker."  Always check the wire bristles on your arm to determine if they are too sharp.  Clean your curry or slicker regularly and throw it away the moment it is damaged or just gross.

Photo of Bella by: Michael Vistia, Vistia Designs

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