You already know that your Poodle is special. But if you want even more affirmation on how great they are, I’m about to give it to you.
Poodles are unique because they’re one of the few breeds of dogs that have hair instead of fur. That means their hair grows continuously like a human’s. It’s also susceptible to changes due to hormone imbalances, which can cause them to have patchy hair growth.
As a result, caring for a Poodle’s coat is different from most other dog breeds and requires more work. But there’s no need to despair because, in this article, you’ll learn the essential things you need to know about how to brush a Poodle.
Tools for Brushing a Poodle
Here’s the good news: You don’t have to spend a fortune to brush your Poodle. However, you’ll need to head to the store to buy the following two types of brushes:
- Pin brush
- Bristle brush
Furthermore, if you want to get really fancy, you can purchase or make a grooming table, which will help safely secure your Poodle as you work.
Finally, I recommend purchasing a spray conditioner. You can even buy one with sunscreen to help protect your Poodle’s soon-to-be brushed hair.
Step-by-step Guide for Brushing a Poodle
Now that you have the right tools on hand, let’s dive into how to brush a Poodle.
Step 1: Apply Conditioner
Since you won’t be bathing your Poodle, a leave-in spray conditioner is ideal for this step. Doing so will make it easier for your two different brushes to move through your dog’s coat in the following steps.
There’s no need to go overboard when applying spray conditioner—a light coating is all you need.
Step 2: Use a Pin Brush
A pin brush is always the first type of brush you’ll want to use on your Poodle. That’s because it has wider spaced teeth, offering you the chance to pick through the inevitable tangles that you’ll find in your Poodle’s coat.
As a word of warning, I recommend investing in one of the relatively more expensive pin brushes. Otherwise, a cheap pin brush may not have enough cushion, and it can create an abrasive effect against your Poodle’s hair and skin.
Step 3: Move On to the Bristle Brush
A bristle brush will help give your Poodle the finishing touch of a professional groom. It has a series of bristles packed closely together, helping to make your Poodle’s hair fluffy.
Bristle brushes also remove any last detached hairs so that they don’t fall on your floor (not that you have to worry about this often, given the Poodle’s hypoallergenic coat).
Tips for Brushing Your Poodle
Yes, three steps are all it takes to give your Poodle a good brushing. However, below are some other pieces of advice to help make the process smooth.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Most Poodles love brushings because it feels good, and they get to spend time with their beloved owner. They like it so much, in fact, that they might get a little too energetic, making it hard to keep a steady hand while brushing them.
So, use treats and a soothing voice to reward your Poodle when they cooperate how you want them to. The moment they get too rambunctious, stop the treats and praise, waiting for them to settle.
It’s easy to go overboard when brushing, especially given how thick a Poodle’s curls are. Nevertheless, it’s vital that you avoid brushing too deeply on the skin or pressing excessively hard.
Instead, let the leave-in conditioner do the work of helping the brush’s bristles move through your Poodle’s coat. And if you encounter a massive knot, try working it through with your hands first.
Aim for Daily Brushing
It might sound excessive to brush your Poodle daily until you see the difference in ease of brushing them every day compared to letting a day or more pass.
Of course, animal control won’t come knocking on your door if you skip a day or two grooming your Poodle. However, it’s easy for a Poodle’s hair to matt, and regular brushings are one of the best ways to prevent this.
Use Scent-free Products
The only product you need for brushing your Poodle is a spray conditioner. However, these conditioners often come in strong scents.
Poodles tend to balk at such scents. So, try to find an unscented—or at the very least, a lightly scented—conditioner to make them feel more comfortable.
Avoid Sharp Slicker Brushes
Slicker brushes are what professional dog groomers use instead of pin brushes. The difference is that they don’t have round tips.
While slicker brushes make getting knots out of Poodle hair easier, it’s also a fast-track way to accidentally injure your dog’s hair, skin, or both. Therefore, unless you have previous experience with dog grooming, I encourage you to take the slightly longer route and use a pin brush.
Look for Skin Infections
Brushing your Poodle is an intimate time for bonding. It’s also an opportunity to check on their skin health. Since Poodles have such thick hair, it’s easy for many owners not to realize they have a skin infection until it’s too late.
Signs of skin infections in Poodles include:
- Flakey or crusty skin
- Smelly odor
- Change in pigmentation
Set up a vet appointment if you notice anything off with your Poodle’s skin. Skin infections can often result from external parasites or an injury, and it’s usually easy to treat them.
Getting Your Poodle’s Hair in Tip-top Shape
So, there you have it. Despite Poodles having a dense set of ever-growing curls, learning how to brush a Poodle isn’t rocket science.
Furthermore, it doesn’t cost much money, although I recommend investing in more expensive products upfront for your dog’s comfort.
Even though you should brush your Poodle daily at home, it’s also necessary to clip their hair. Therefore, you should aim to bring them to the groomer about every six weeks for a trim.