What Brush Should You Use For Your Australian Shepherd?
With summer right around the corner, controlling your Australian Shepherd’s shedding has never been more crucial. Choosing the correct brush to use on your Aussie can require a bit of research, but I have compiled all of the best tips and products here for you.
Overall, the best brush to reduce shedding on an Australian Shepherd is a double-sided shedding blade. This will take out the dead hair lying in their undercoat with also protecting their topcoat from damaging bristles.
Given the Australian Shepherds have a double-coat, there is a lot that goes into maintaining their silky sheen while also reducing the dust bunnies floating around in your house. It’s also important to use the right brushes for the correct areas of your dog you are looking to brush (behind the ears, around their back legs) as the hair grows differently all over their body. Below I have outlined what brushes to use where and also have some tips to help you get all of that shedding under control.
What Is A Double-Coat?
Since you’re here, I can assume you currently have or have had an Australian shepherd in the past. So, you know all about the shedding, dust bunnies, and ear mats. It’s important to understand the coat structure that makes these Aussies so fluffy so that we can properly groom them without damaging their fur or skin.
All Australian Shepherds have a double-coat, which basically means they have two sets of fur. The topcoat is more coarse and protects the dog from moisture and debris. You may notice that it can be an exercise in patience to get your dog wet in the bath, and this topcoat is exactly why. The outer coat layer acts as a repellant to keep the undercoat safe.
The undercoat is the dense, softer fur that insulates your dog against hot and cold temperatures. This hair is usually the culprit for major shedding and can fall off in clumps during their shedding periods. Most Aussies “blow coat” twice a year, roughly when the seasons change. They lose their winter coat going into spring and lose the summer coat going into fall.
Best Brushes for Australian Shepherds
For de-shedding, I highly recommend using a double-sided shedding blade. This will take out dead-hair in their undercoat while keeping the topcoat undamaged. Furminators are a good tool as well but have been known to damage the topcoat with their sharp blades.
For brushing the backside of your Aussie (the infamous butt curtains), the best brush to use is a slicker brush. This will pull out the dead hair will be gentle enough to brush out any tangles or mats. You can also use this behind their ears and on their chest as some dogs are more sensitive in this area. I also use the slicker brush on their stomachs since there is not much shedding in that area.
In regards to how often to brush your Australian Shepherd, it can greatly depend on your individual dog as well as their age. Working Aussies tend to have thicker, more dense coats than the silkier “pet” varieties so in the end, find what works best for your situation. To keep up with mine, I generally brush every couple of weeks and do a thorough de-shed session before bath time.
In terms of bath time, getting the right de-shedding shampoo will save you a ton of time and frustration. With my Aussies, the Furminator brand shampoo really kicks the shedding and helps with overall dead-hair build up over time.
Shaving & Other Tips
There is a lot of discourse surrounding the topic of full shaves for Aussies or any other double-coated breed. The general consensus is that the process of shaving alters the undercoat of your dog and can make it difficult for the new fur to grow back incorrectly. This can lead to issues such as overheating as your dog’s temperature regulation can get thrown out of whack.
For my Australian Shepherds, I trim the “butt curtains”, if you will, with a shaver but only take off about an inch or two. This keeps a lot of “debris” off of them but is truly just optional. You can also trim up the areas around their paw pads to lessen the risk of stickers getting caught around their nails but again, this is really up to the owner.
All in all, keeping on top of your Australian Shepherd’s shedding can be easily accomplished with the right tools and a little bit of time. Remember to be gentle in introducing your dog to brushing, similar to getting them used to having their nails trimmed.