Grooming tools for Australian Shepherd?
March 13, 2023 4:39 AM   Subscribe

I have found myself caring for a miniature Australian Shepherd. I've got most of the basics covered, but am looking for some experienced advice on the best brushes for keeping the shedding under control + her coat looking decent.

Hoping to get up to speed on keeping her clean / not matted, and getting at least some of her hair out of the house. Thanks in advance, hivemind.
posted by ryanshepard to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Furminator might be a help.
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 6:19 AM on March 13

You can buy a pet brush, but when I had a collie/ golden retriever mix, I used a hairbrush like this. He would shed his entire undercoat in fall and more in spring, and he would lie patiently as we pulled out huge tufts of fur. It's ready to shed and not like pulling hair. Grooming is a sign of affection and respect for dogs.
posted by theora55 at 7:45 AM on March 13

For a double-coated dog like an Australian Shepherd you will want both a pin brush and a slicker brush. The pin brush will do for ordinary brushing (the pins will be able to move through the thick coat) and the slicker is what you will use for more thorough brushing out to remove loose undercoat. Google "line brushing" to learn the proper technique.
posted by HotToddy at 8:01 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]

I would avoid the Furminator because it can damage the coat. Daily brushing helps a lot, and it only takes a few minutes. If you live in a dry climate or where it's winter right now, consider a fish oil supplement to keep the skin healthy.
posted by answergrape at 9:03 AM on March 13

On my Aussies and my Sheltie (all RIP) we used an undercoat rake to great success.
posted by tomierna at 1:34 PM on March 13

Depending on how long you'll be caring for this Aussie and how full her coat is, you may need a selection of brushes. Aussies will tend to "blow" their coat--shed out all the undercoat--twice a year, spring and fall, although if the coat is very full or if the dog is older, you may see more continuous shedding. If the coat is starting in good shape, a pin brush (basic hairbrush) and a slicker brush used regularly will keep it in good order.

If it's been a while since there was dedicated grooming, an undercoat rake will get out large amounts of shed hair very quickly, but some dogs find this brush overstimulating. Also, definitely use an undercoat rake outside, unless you'd like to do a lot of vacuuming later. Bathing can help loosen a stuck undercoat, but Aussies generally should not be bathed very often, as the undercoat can take a very long time to fully dry. I don't recommend furminator-style deshedding combs for Aussies, as there is too much risk of mechanical damage to the outer coat.

For smaller mats, a metal comb, particularly one with rotating teeth will detangle without too much pulling. For a bigger mat, or for a dog who won't tolerate their hair being pulled at, you'll want round-tipped safety scissors to clip it out. Mats are more likely to form around the ears or near the tail; prevent them by regularly brushing these areas.

Some people clip/shave their Aussies, particularly the minis, but this is very much not recommended as it can seriously damage the coat and disrupt their ability to thermo-regulate. If you are in a very hot or humid climate, you can trim the leg feathers or use thinning shears sparingly on the belly and hindquarters to reduce the bulk of hair without too much disruption to the coat structure.

Whatever brush you choose, make grooming time an enjoyable time to spend with the dog; be patient and give plenty of praise and treats. Remember that Aussies want to work with you and help you, if they can.
posted by radiogreentea at 6:11 PM on March 13 [2 favorites]

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