There are many types of combs, with or without handles, teeth widely spaced or close together, long or short teeth, etc. While many of these are acceptable for home use, the comb most recommended is the steel half fine, half coarse comb. It is durable and can be used for all stages of grooming.
The matbreaker is a comb designed to cut through knots and tangles which would otherwise be unbrushable. The teeth are made from curved razor blades, which cut the mat into smaller and more workable sections. They can however, also cut the dog when used improperly. The use of this comb results in the loss of hair and causes some pain to the dog. Place the tips of the cutting teeth under the mat, next to the dog’s skin, and pull the comb towards yourself in a see-saw motion, with the length of the hair. These smaller sections can then usually be brushed. There are several styles of matbreakers, some of which are safer and easier to use than others.
This brush is designed for short or delicate coats, such as Shih-Tzu’s or similar dogs. It is used with a light, quick stroke, and a curved wrist action. Like all brushes, it must be used carefully over delicate areas and on sparsely coated dogs, or it may lead to brush burn. Brush burn is not technically a burn, but irritation or redness of the skin caused by scraping or poking with the bristles of a brush.
A Universal Brush differs from a slicker in that it is convex shaped, and the bristles are both more dense and firmer than the slicker. This shape and density enables the universal to pull out dead hairs much more efficiently than any other brush, but it can also pull out live hairs and should be used with care. It is more humane and causes less pain to the dog to sacrifice a few live hairs and have mats removed relatively quickly, than to tease out knots and tangles over several hours. It is used like the slicker in short quick strokes, but must never be used on smooth, short haired or sparsely coated dogs as it can more easily cause brush burn.
Natural Bristle Brush
This type of brush is used on short and smooth coats such a Doberman to keep the coat shiny. It removes dead hair and is very unlikely to cause brush burn. This brush is not useful for long or thick coats, as the closely placed natural bristles do not reach to the skin or separate long hairs.
Hound Glove/Rubber Brush
Hound gloves can be rubber or natural bristle, and like the natural bristle brush, are used to keep short coats shiny by removing dead hairs. A rubber brush can only be used on short smooth coats, as it will cause matting in longer coats, especially curly coats. It can be very useful as a bathing aid when scrubbing a dirty dog.
A pin brush is used almost exclusively on show dogs, and breeds which have long fl owing coats such as Afghans. These brushes are made of pins mounted on a rubber-backed cushion, with a plastic or wooden frame. The pins are flexible, and have rounded edges so they cannot break or pull out hair. For this reason, they do not remove mats and the coat must be free of all tangles before the pin brush is used. Pin brushes are easily damaged, and quite often the rubber-backed cushions separate from the frame. Brush the coat in long sweeping actions, section by section and layer by layer.
A rake is part brush, part comb, and is used to remove the dense undercoat from dogs. Like a brush, it is used in short quick strokes to be most effective. It is often the first step in brushing a dog with very thick hair, and once a rake can pass through a dog’s coat, it will be much easier to fully brush out.
This is a very useful tool when used correctly, but must be used with extreme care, as it is very easy to injure a dog with the Shedding Blade. It is only useful on short, dense coats such as a Rottweiler or Labrador. On sparsely coated dogs, such as Dobermans it can scrape the skin and cause irritation. It should not be used on dogs with long or very thick undercoats, as it will only skim the surface and leave the coat next to the skin to mat. Use the Shedding Blade with a light touch to avoid hurting the dog; it cannot be used in smaller areas such as armpits or inside the legs.
Pliers Style Nail Trimmer
This is the most effective type of nail trimmer. As long as the blades are sharp, it gives a nice even cut. When the blades become dull with use, they can be sharpened and you need not buy a new nail trimmer. It is also easy for most people to handle. This style of nail trimmer also comes in several different sizes, to suit the size of your dog.
Guillotine Style Nail Trimmer
This style of nail trimmer often crushes, rather than cutting the nail and can leave rough edges. It does not need to be sharpened when the blades become dull, as you can simply buy replacement blades. To prevent crushing, the guillotine trimmer should be used in one direction on a nail.
This is a tweezer type instrument used to pluck hair inside the ear on breeds that grow excessive amounts, such as poodles and schnauzers.
Shears or Scissors
These will be your most important tool when grooming your dog. It is best to keep a good pair of scissors specifically for grooming, as using them on any material other than hair can significantly dull them and reduce their cutting life. The most common lengths in grooming shears are 71/2 and 81/4 inches. Specialty shears are also available, such as curved shears for making the pompoms on poodles, or following the curving lines on your dog’s head or legs.
These are shears with either one or two serrated edges and are used for thinning out the coat rather than doing any substantial cutting. They can be very useful on thick coated dogs for blending and getting rid of unwanted hair without leaving cut marks.