Grooming Tips and Tools for Small-Breed Dogs

From Yorkies to Chihuahuas, small-breed dogs delight us with their petite size, fun personalities, and, of course, adorable looks. But just like these compact canines need smaller harnesses, collars, and coats, it’s also crucial to use grooming tools sized just for them. Brushes and combs designed for larger breeds may scare a smaller dog and will be too cumbersome to maneuver around their little bodies, making the process more stressful for you and your dog.

Here are a few other tips to keep your small dog’s fur in top shape while making the process less stressful for you both.

Top 9 Tips to Keep Your Dog's Fur in Top Shape

  1. Because small dogs are energetic, Animal Planet recommends playing for 15 to 20 minutes before the grooming session to tire them out a bit; alternatively, conduct the grooming session after a day at doggy day care.
  2. If a puppy or small dog is new to grooming, introduce each tool with treats as a reward, recommends The Spruce Pets. Also, for puppies, keep grooming sessions short but frequent.
  3. Brush from the head, moving toward the tail and down the leg.
  4. Always brush in the direction of hair growth. Exception: When it’s time to fluff the fur, for those breeds that require it, comb in the opposite direction.
  5. To detangle, use a comb like the Li’l Pals® Double-Sided Comb. Start with the wider-spaced teeth until the comb runs through smoothly. Then comb small sections of the coat until the fur is tangle free. Finish with the other side of the comb, where teeth are spaced closer together.
  6. De-shedding can enhance your dog’s look and comfort as well as keep fur off your furniture. With the Li’l Pals Shedding Comb, comb starting at the head and working toward the tail. Then, comb behind the ears, at the base of the tail, under the legs, at the nape of the neck, and the abdomen. Repeat the process until all loose hair is removed.
  7. To remove mats, use a special brush like the Li’l Pals Slicker Brush With Coated Tips. Brush one section at a time in long, gentle strokes that continue beyond the ends of the hair. Pay attention to areas where matting typically occurs, such as behind the ears, on the loins, and under the legs.
  8. Keep their coat smooth by using a bristle brush. Begin brushing at the head, working toward the tail and down the legs. Use long, flowing strokes to distribute natural oils from the skin.
  9. When bathing your dog, brush them first, Animal Planet advises, otherwise the fur will tighten up and be hard to brush afterward.

Tools of the Trade

Grooming is an important step in properly caring for your pet, and many dogs enjoy the process. To make it easy on both of you, Coastal Pets’ Li’l Pals line includes brushes and combs designed specifically for smaller breeds. Each comes with an easy-grip handle.

To see these tools in action and see more tips for brushing your smaller dogs, check out our Petite Pet Grooming video series.