Pet Grooming 101 | Adams™

One of the best ways to protect dogs from fleas and ticks—and the menacing illnesses they can cause—is to stay on top of grooming. Performing simple tasks like brushing and bathing regularly will help you identify these tiny yet dangerous pests that can lurk in your dog’s coat.

Brushing and Combing

Before you can begin the brushing process, make sure that you have the right tools for the job. A slicker brush and a flea comb are best for dogs with long or thick fur—you want to reach beneath your pet’s top coat when brushing. Soft-bristled brushes work fine for most shorthaired pets, but they simply aren’t up to the challenge when it comes to dogs with fuller coats. Do be careful that you don’t scratch your pet’s skin with a slicker brush, though. Gentle, meticulous brushing always works best.

Brushing a Longhaired Dog

Where you start or finish matters much less than doing a thorough brushing job on a longhaired dog. You may begin by brushing your dog’s head and ears before moving on to his chest, back, and belly. Once you have finished these areas, you can end the session by brushing the fur on his legs, rump, and tail. Pay close attention to the areas where your pet’s legs meet his body; these spots are notorious for mats.

Here’s how to brush your longhaired dog:

  1. Wherever you start, first separate a small section of your dog’s fur away from the rest, creating a makeshift part in the hair.
  2. Next, carefully brush this fur against the direction of the hair’s growth.
  3. Inspect your dog’s hair and skin as you brush, keeping an eye out for fleas and ticks.
  4. Brush the hair back in the direction of its growth before moving on to a new section of hair. This technique is called “line brushing.”
  5. When you have finished brushing your pet, go over him again with a flea comb. Once you are done, wipe the comb on a wet paper towel. If it leaves behind red or brown stains, your dog is likely suffering from a flea infestation.

You must brush a longhaired dog often to prevent snarls from forming. Depending on the length and thickness of his hair, daily brushings may be necessary. Frequent brushings will also bring out the natural oils in your dog’s skin, making his coat shine.

Brushing a Shorthaired Dog

Because shorthaired dogs don’t get snarls, you might assume that brushing these animals is less necessary. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Pets with smooth coats are prone to all the same hair and skin problems as longhaired pets, minus the mats, of course. Redness or dry flaky skin can signal an issue, but you may not even know these symptoms exist unless you reach for your soft-bristled brush, the tool of choice for a smooth-coated pet.

You won’t be able to separate a shorthaired dog’s fur into sections, but it is still important that you cover every inch of his coat. It can be difficult to see fleas and ticks on dark-colored animals—even shorthaired ones—so be especially vigilant when working on these pets. Once again, a flea comb can come in handy for this purpose.


Bathing is as important to your dog’s good health as brushing. Always brush your dog before running the bathwater, though. Untangling mats from a pet once they have been saturated with water can be nearly impossible. If you make this mistake, shaving your dog may be the only practical option for removing the knots.

Use a Dog Shampoo Only

You will find a wide variety of dog shampoos at your local pet supply store. Never use your own hair care products on your pet, as they are too harsh for canine hair and skin. If you find any fleas or ticks while brushing your pet, using a flea killing shampoo will take care of them, along with any eggs that the fleas leave behind. If your pet is prone to dry or itchy skin, opt forAdams™ d-Limonene Flea & Tick Shampoo. It will condition your pet’s coat and leave behind a wonderful citrus scent.

Lather, Rinse, and Rinse Again

To keep shampoo out of your dog’s eyes, use only a warm, damp cloth to clean his face. Next, wet him completely before applying shampoo to his entire body. Refer to the product’s label for the proper amount of time to leave the shampoo on your pet. When it is time to rinse, bear in mind that you cannot overdo this important step. Any soap that is left behind in your pet’s coat can cause him to itch and scratch, even once the fleas and ticks are long gone. Thorough rinsing will keep this from happening.

Grooming Time = Flea & Tick Prevention

Grooming time offers pet owners a vital opportunity to find fleas and ticks. Identifying a flea or tick infestation early can reduce the chance of your pet getting sick, but preventing the infestation in the first place is even better. Adams™ Flea and Tick Spot-On® products are available with the award-winning Smart Shield® Applicator. This innovative device puts the treatment where you need it—on your pet, not on your hands. One application will protect your dog from fleas and ticks for up to 30 days. Adams™ Flea and Tick Control Collars kill fleas, ticks, flea eggs, and larvae. They also keep eggs from hatching for up to seven months.

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