The 3 Best Dog Brushes for Shelties
Here are the three best dog brushes to keep your Sheltie's thick double coat tidy and healthy.
SUMMARY: The double coats of Shelties demand specialized dog brushes to de-shed the loose undercoat, untangle mats, and groom the coarse outercoat. Here are the best dog brushes for Shelties:
- 2-in-1 Detangling Comb by Poodle Pet for the undercoat
- Fine-Toothed Comb by Safari for sensitive areas
- Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush by Hertzko for the outercoat
1. Detangling Comb
A detangling comb is great for stripping out the woolly undercoat as well as handling moderate knots. It's a solid all-round tool for Shelties while also being budget friendly. I recommend the 2-in-1 Detangling Comb by Poodle Pet. It's extremely effective at loosening the undercoat with minimum fuss.
Start off by combing through the outer layers and see what you're dealing with. The long teeth will get into the undercoat too, so light-colored fluff will start to emerge. If your Sheltie is shedding heavily or it's been more than two weeks since you last brushed him, expect to accumulate a lot of fur.
The most efficient way to groom a Sheltie is called line brushing. Starting at the back of the neck, part the fur horizontally so you can see his skin and use your detangling comb in small strokes. When there's no more resistance and no more fur coming out, move down an inch and repeat the process. With this technique, you can target all the undercoat on the body, rump and legs. It's a systematic process of reaching right down to the skin and teasing out the loose fur.
Work through all the thickest parts of the coat in sections until you've line brushed the top and sides of the body. If your Sheltie is squirming, you're pulling too hard. It helps to grip the fur at the base when you brush out the knots as this reduces the pull on the skin.
The only places you don't want to use your detangler on sensitive areas like the arm pits and behind the ears. There's a better tool for that:
2. Fine-Toothed Comb
Take a fine toothed comb—also known as a flea comb—and gently tease out any mats from behind the ears, under the arm pits, and around the belly and groin. There are plenty of fine-toothed combs to choose from; I suggest the Fine Toothed Comb by Safari. Use it where you want precision. The smaller teeth make it much easier to get in to tight nooks and target only the knotted fur.
You're going to encounter the most fine mats between his joints and behind his ears, as these areas tangle easily and often. Tight mats near the skin can be painful for your pooch, so take it easy. The best approach is to pinch the fur at the base so you take the tension in your fingers rather than pulling at his skin.
Fine toothed combs are good for line brushing around the troublesome neck area too, where the fur can mat under the collar. And while you probably don't want to think about it, this is also a good tool to have handy when you need to manually remove fleas, flea eggs, and dry skin.
3. Slicker Brush
Once you've removed all the mats and the loose undercoat, switch to a slicker brush to finish the outer coat. Hertzko's Self Cleaning Slicker Brush has retractable bristles for cleaning and storage, so the pins aren't liable to break and scratch your Sheltie's skin.
This is quick and painless for your Sheltie, as all the heavy mats are gone. The purpose of finishing with a slicker brush is to perfect the outercoat, massage your dog's skin, increase blood circulation, and distribute the natural oils. This leaves the coat soft and shiny, and your dog's skin healthier.
And that's it—you're done! Aim to groom your Sheltie every week with all three brushes in the sequence described above, or more frequently if your furball is shedding heavily and your carpets can't take it.
Bathing Your Sheltie
About once a month, you'll want to clip your Sheltie's nails and give him a bath to clean his skin and deodorize his fur. You can actually put off bathing for a couple of months if you prefer; Shelties generally aren't the kind of dogs to roll around in poop and other nasty smells. Plus, they keep themselves clean by licking their fur. But if he develops blocked pores (hard lumps under the skin) or itchy and flaky skin, you know you need to bathe him more often.
Don't use human shampoo on your dog. As a different species, their skin has different acidity levels and is vulnerable to different parasites. TropiClean's PerfectFur Dog Shampoo is designed for dogs with double coats, exfoliating the skin and loosening the undercoat to reduce excess shedding.
Thoroughly soak your Sheltie in the tub, line parting as you go to get the water right into the undercoat. The phrase "water off a duck's back" springs to mind. The best strategy is to drench to lower half the body first with the shower head right up against her skin. Shampoo that half, giving your Sheltie a nice scratch and some kind words of encouragement, then rinse it all out thoroughly. Try not to leave any shampoo residue behind as it’ll itch and irritate her skin later.
Rinse thoroughly. This will take much longer than washing human hair because there's just so much of it. It's worth it though: your Sheltie's skin and fur will be spotless and he'll smell delicious.
After bathing, gently pat your dog dry with a towel. Don't rub her or you'll damage the undercoat which, like human hair, is more prone to breakage when wet. Then allow her to dry off naturally indoors, or outside if the weather’s warm. If your furniture can't take a wet Sheltie rubbing herself all over it, carefully blow dry the coat on a low setting, parting the hair as you go. Wait until the coat is fully dry before brushing.