Pet Deshedding Tools (cont.)

Which Deshedding Tool Should You Choose?

Most brushes and combs do essentially the same thing: They remove dead hair from your pet before it has a chance to fall out. So which is right for your pet? That depends, because different coats respond best to different combs and brushes.

  • Wide-toothed combs are Bird's tool of choice for cats. "A widely-spaced comb will remove more hair gently than a fine-toothed comb." Fine-toothed and blade-on-a-handle combs can both require more pressure to use than many cats are able to tolerate.
  • A slicker brush's fine metal bristles are best used on long-haired, dense-coated dogs. Some groomers recommend using a small slicker brush for toes, legs, face, and tail, and a larger brush for the rest of the body. Slicker brushes are also helpful at removing tangles in the coat of cats or dogs.
  • Blade-on-a-handle metal combs are ideal for plush- or medium-coated dogs, says Bird, "because they have very, very narrow teeth that seek out the fine, soft, fuzzy undercoat, and leave the overcoat alone." Steer clear of this type of brush if your pet's top coat is long, as "it's hard to get that blade to do a good job," Bird says.
  • Bristle brushes are very versatile and make a good, basic brush for both cats and dogs of all coat types.
  • Pin brushes are often used on medium- and long-haired dogs and are a good choice to help release tangles.
  • Rubber brushes are good for short-haired dogs and help loosen hair and dirt, while also stimulating circulation.
  • High velocity dryers let you up the deshedding tool ante and come highly recommended by international certified master groomer Linda Easton. "[It's] my preference for all coat types," Easton tells WebMD. For pet deshedding, "it is the fastest and causes the least discomfort," and can be used easily in the backyard.

Depending on your pet's coat and its tendency to tangle, you may want more than one deshedding tool. Bird's must-have coat-taming trio includes a blade-on-a-handle comb, a slicker brush, and a coarse-to medium metal comb.

If these suggestions mean you've been using the "wrong" brush for your pet's coat type all this time, that's OK. As long as you and your furry friend are both happy with the results, don't worry too much about which deshedding tool is recommended for which species or coat type. In the end, successful grooming "boils down to what works for you," Bird says.