Brushing Your Dog's Fur
Brushing is especially important in the summer, when dogs lose their winter coats. Of course, most dogs seem to shed constantly, no matter what the season (especially breeds with a soft undercoat, like huskies and German shepherds).
Brush the dog before you bathe it. If the fur is tangled, bathing will make the matted places worse - the knots tighten as they dry.
Start on the big tangles by snipping with thinning shears (the kind that look like one side is a comb). Never use regular scissors: "We're always suturing up animals whose owners were trying to trim them," says Sheldon Rubin, a Chicago veterinarian and spokesman for the American Veterinary Medical Association.
(For dogs that require more elaborate haircuts, see a pro the first few times. Don't just drop off your pooch; see if the groomer will give you specific instructions and equipment recommendations. Chances are, though, if you want your standard poodle to resemble topiary, you'll need to go to a pro.)
Then use a smoothing brush (like the Slicker Brush by MiracleCorp, $10 to $12, available at petsmart.com), starting with the fur on the dog's belly and working up.