It's almost bed time. Kids are in bed and it's time to catch up on that one show before calling it for the day. Before you totally zone out, make sure to call over your sleepy dog and grab their brush for a few minutes of brushing before bed. Brushing your dog's coat has many benefits to them and some unexpected ones for you too.
Dogs aren't natural cleaners like cats who can bathe themselves and keep their coats healthy by spreading around their oils through licking. Unlike their furry friends, dogs can't remove the dirt, dander and loose fur on their own. Brushing helps to do this job for them. The brushing spreads around the oils on their skin to stay healthy. Brushing a dog that sheds works to remove loose fur, dander and undercoat to further keeping the skin free of hair buildup which can lead to skin irritations. Plus, brushing a dog that sheds means you can collect the hair from your brushing session and not find so much to clean off the floor later.
Brushing a dog with a continuously growing coat is crucial to keeping the hair tangle free. Tangles may seem harmless but a tangle or mat can be very painful and pull at the skin as a dog moves. Mats are tangles left to get large and typically cannot be brushed out. Tight mats lead to loss of blood-flow and painful bruising on the skin. When a dog is matted, grooming can become extra expensive since many salons charge a brush or demat fee if you bring in a matted dog for grooming. Often groomers will have to shave down a dog with mats to relieve the stress to their skin. Brushing your pups longer coat a little bit each night will stop any mat related problems before they start and possibly save you some money at the groomers.
Taking the time with your furry family member can also give you a chance to see what is going on with them. Sometimes we don't notice possible signs of an illness or injury until it's too late. In a few minutes of brushing you can see if there are any new lumps, soreness, skin irritations, odors or abrasions that could pose a health issue. Keeping up with skin conditions while they are mild and easily treatable with over the counter products, diet change or other inexpensive lifestyle adjustments, can save a lot at the vet's office down the road.
Brushing your dog may do even more for your health as well. A study shows that after 15 minutes of spending time with your dog, both experience high levels of oxytocin. This stress relief could prolong the life of you and your pet as long as your dog enjoys the brushing and you don't mind it either. Spending time with your pet right before bed to relax and unwind might even make it a little easier to fall asleep. And look at that, you didn't even have to miss your show.
If you need to find the right brush for your dog's coat, here's a guide.