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There is little in this world more exciting (and adorable) than a new puppy. They’re cute, curious, and always learning—which is why puppydom is a great time to introduce your new pal to the routines that will become part of his daily care. One of the most important of these is daily brushing. Not only does it help get your puppy used to handling, it’s also a great way to bond. The best brushes for puppies are those that can help you with a gentle introduction.
Even if your puppy will grow into a big dog, it’s good to begin with a “starter kit” of sorts. A collection of smaller-sized brushes will be easier for you to handle with a squirmy puppy and give you an idea about what will work best on your pup’s coat as he matures.
Plus, an assortment can give your puppy the chance to tell you if he really doesn’t like certain brushes. When you find the ones that work best, you can upsize as needed—or, if your puppy is a small breed dog, you’re already set!
This is the entry level of puppy brushes—soft, non-threatening, and eco-friendly to boot! Soft bristle brushes might not seem like they do much, especially if your puppy is long-haired or has a double coat, but they actually do serve some important purposes.
First, they can move oil around the coat, making sure there’s no build-up anywhere. This redistribution of oils helps keep hair shiny, so a soft bristle brush is sort of like a “polisher.” Plus they just feel good.
Because the bristles aren’t too scratchy, you can also use a soft bristle brush in more delicate places, like around the face and on the belly. This also helps your puppy get used to being touched and handled in different ways. And, as we all know, puppy teeth are a thing—when learning to be brushed, they might bite a lot. The thicker design of this brush helps to ensure there’s something between those wee daggers and your hand.
If your puppy is super fuzzy or thick-coated, a self-cleaning slicker brush will serve you both now and forever. Slicker brushes get deeper into thick fur or undercoats, where they remove loose hairs as well as any foreign objects (like burrs or stickers) before they can tangle or create painful mats. The self-cleaning versions make getting rid of hair easy—just a click of the button and fur comes off of the brush in a tidy little clump. Slicker brushes do their jobs well, so they can be quite effective during the squirmy puppy stage.
A comb is ideal for getting the “stuff” out that gets caught in a dog’s coat‚ whether it’s stickers, bark, food, or dried-on mud. Because puppies get into a lot of things, you might find it necessary to comb more than once per day. These stainless steel combs are great because they can be washed in the sink or dishwasher and the no-slip grip gives you confidence if you need to get into more delicate areas, such as muzzles, chins, or leg feathers.
Soft curry combs are great options because they come in many sizes and levels of flexibility. If your puppy is, and will remain, dainty-sized, you can get a smaller one that is flexible for tiny curves and contours. If your pup is or will be big, you can opt for a bigger size and also decide if you want a more flexible or sturdier construction.
These are great for an all-over massage, and they pull out stray and dead hairs while you’re at it—the best kind of double-duty! If these easy-to-clean combs somehow become teething toys, they’re affordable to replace.
This might be the most important of all the brushes you can introduce your puppy to. Good dental hygiene, just like with people, is a must for dogs. Not only does it help you avoid expensive vet bills later in life, it ensures your pup grows strong, healthy teeth and has great breath for kisses. Your puppy may fight you at first, but after a few tries, they should relax into it. (If your puppy is super small, you might opt for a finger toothbrush to start.)
An added bonus is that dog toothpaste is tasty (to dogs). Once your puppy realizes the brushing feels good, teeth cleaning should become something enjoyable for you both. Just imagine that gleaming smile—ding!