Keeping your Shiba Inu's coat beautiful really doesn't take much effort.
Unlike some breeds which require a great deal of grooming (imagine what it’s like for terrier owners...they sometimes need to hand strip their dogs fur!), the Shiba Inu is relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming and upkeep.
Other than the occasional shampoo and condition, Shiba Inus really only need to be brushed. And your dog brush can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.
While getting your Shiba Inu used to being brushed in puppy-hood is the best way to ensure a stress-free grooming experience, the type of brush that you use is also extremely important.
If you head to your local pet store, you’ll likely see a bunch of different brushes for sale, from expensive metal contraptions that claim to remove all the dead fur to cheaper, plastic varieties.
But basically, we can break down dog brushes into two basic categories: slicker brushes and pin brushes.
While different coat types require different types of care, the winner between the two varieties is clear when it comes to Shiba Inus: the slicker brush is a better choice.
What Is A Slicker Brush?
A slicker brush is a pretty popular option for both dogs and cats.
Rather than a human hairbrush, which is usually composed of widely set-apart pins, a slicker brush has rows and rows of tightly packed wire bristles. These little wires, while made of metal, are slightly angled so they don’t scratch your dog’s delicate skin.
There are two types of slicker brushes: soft bristled and hard bristled.
Soft bristled brushes are best for Shiba Inu puppies, both because it’s gentler and because their juvenile fur is softer and finer than the fur of an adult Shiba Inu.
Benefits of a Slicker Brush
Slicker brushes are the ideal choice for Shiba Inus because of their thick,plush coats. While you might be able to get away with using something less rigorous with a short haired breed, Shiba Inus have plush layers of coat that require thorough brushing.
A slicker brush is perfect for this because it:
- Distributes the natural oils throughout the fur
- Can penetrate both layers of fur without too much pressure
- Won’t scratch your Shiba Inu’s skin
- Will get rid of mats and tangles
Slicker Brush Vs. Pin Brush - What’s The Difference?
Pin brushes and slicker brushes are pretty easy to tell apart.
Pin brushes are called “pin brushes” because, unlike the slicker brush, they are covered in widely set-apart “pins”, usually with a little ball of plastic at the end to protect the dog’s skin from getting scratched.
Pin brushes have large gaps between bristles and work well on dogs with long, fine hair, as it can gently graze through the hair and get rid of any tangles.
Slicker brushes, on the other hand, are covered in tightly packed bristles that are slightly angled at the ends.
Slicker brushes never have the protective balls on the end of the bristles that pin brushes have. Slicker brushes are usually rectangular in shape, as opposed to pin brushes which are generally round or ovular.
Features To Look For In A Slicker Brush
Now that we’ve (hopefully) convinced you that slicker brushes are the way to go when it comes to Shiba Inus, the next step is figuring out how to pick one out.
There are hundreds and hundreds of different types of slicker brushes on the market, and just because some are more expensive than others doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better.
That being said, not all slicker brushes are created equal. Here are some things to look out for when choosing a slicker brush for your Shiba Inu:
- A curved head. Slicker brushes shouldn’t be flat. The portion that touches your dog’s fur should be slightly curved, allowing you to gently brush through your Shiba’s fur without having to exert much pressure.
- Different sizes pins. Having a mix of longer and shorter pins is a great way to penetrate all layers of your Shiba Inu’s fur without scratching them.
- Wires MUST BE BENT. Don’t buy a slicker brush whose bristles are totally straight. It’s very easy to accidentally scratch your dog. Look for bristle wires that are fine and bent at the edges.
- Handles. The part of the brush that you hold in your hand is important, too. Because you’ll likely use the brush fairly frequently (or at least you should), you’ll want to buy something that’s comfortable to hold. An anti-slip grip, usually made of rubber, is also an important feature, as it helps prevent the brush from sliding right out of your hand and potentially injuring your dog.
Are Self Cleaning Slicker Brushes Necessary?
Having a self-cleaning slicker brush is totally a luxury. While it’s an awesome feature of some of the nicer slicker brushes on the market, it’s totally not necessary and has nothing to do with the brush’s efficacy.
It’s more important to find a brush that you can comfortably hold and that will accurately and thoroughly brush your Shiba Inu’s fur.
Don’t buy a specific brand of slicker brush just because it’s self cleaning: there are more important things to look out for!
How To Use A Slicker Brush Properly
A slicker brush is great at detangling your Shiba Inu’s fur and removing all traces of dead hair…but only if you use it correctly!
Luckily, using a slicker brush definitely isn’t rocket science. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
- Some people like to start off by spraying a bit of conditioning spray on their Shiba Inu to serve as a detangler. This isn’t necessary, but can be helpful, especially if it’s been a while since you last brushed your Shiba.
- Work from head to tail, and go over each section of the fur more than once.
- Exert GENTLE pressure.
- If you hear a scraping noise while brushing, it means you’ve found a tangle or a section of matted hair. You should tackle this mess very carefully, as simply pushing and pulling harder with the brush is likely to hurt your Shiba Inu (and good luck getting them to sit still the next time you want to brush them). Work at the knot lightly and quickly, and try brushing it from a variety of different angles until it is loosened.
- Don’t use the slicker brush on your Shiba Inu’s face or anywhere where they have very thin fur, such as their paws. Slicker brushes need a good deal of fur to cushion their spindly bristles, and dragging the brush across bare parts of your Shiba’s skin will definitely hurt.
Our Favorite Slicker Brushes
If you google “slicker brush for dogs”, you’re likely to find a ton of different options, all of which claim to be the best.
While it’s important to look for quality, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a quality, long-lasting slicker brush that is suitable for your Shiba Inu.
Here are some of our favorite picks:
Furminator Firm Grooming Slicker Brush for Clean Healthy Coats
The Furminator Firm Grooming Slicker Brush comes from the “Furminator” line of dog grooming products. Furminators are pretty popular, especially for dogs that shed a lot or dogs with very thick undercoats.
Furminators are great because they gently, yet effectively, penetrate down to the deepest layers of your dog’s coat, removing dead hair, debris, and untangling any knots or mats.
The firm slicker brush that Furminator is different than most others in that it has two types of bristles: curved and straight.
While curved bristles are almost always preferable, as they reduce the risk of scratching your dog’s skin, straight bristles can come in handy for particularly stubborn knots and mats, provided you use it gently and correctly (never push them directly against your Shiba Inu’s skin, as you will probably hurt them).
The Furminator slicker brush is comfortable to hold, easy to use, and its flexible brush head adapts to the curves of your Shiba Inus body without scraping them.
Available on Chewy.com: Furminator Firm Slicker Brush
Also available on Amazon.com: Furminator Firm Slicker Brush
Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush
The Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush is a slicker brush with bent, short metal bristles. It will detangle and remove dead fur without scratching your Shiba Inus delicate skin.
One of the coolest features of this brush is it’s self-cleaning function. Once you’re finished brushing your Shiba Inu, simply press the cleaning button located on the head of the brush. The bristles will retract into the plastic, and the fur will simply fall right off.
While it sounds like a bit of a luxury (and it’s not the only thing to consider when purchasing a slicker brush) it’s wonderful to be able to clean brush without ever having to touch the bristles with your fingers.
Have you ever accidentally pricked your finger with a slicker brush bristle? It really hurts!
The Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush has comfortable, anti-slip grip, and the head is wide enough to brush all of your Shiba Inu’s fur with minimal brush strokes.
Check the latest price on Chewy.com of the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush here.
Also available on Amazon. Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker brush
Happy Dogz Pro Slicker Brush
The Happy Dogs Pro Slicker Brush is another good choice.
While it lacks the pizzazz of some other brands, the comfortable grip and high-quality bristles make it a good option for Shiba Inu owners.
The most important featureof the Happy Dogz Pro Slicker is that the bristle are gentle enough to safely work through your Shiba Inu’s fur without hurting them, while simultaneously tough enough to actually get the job done and remove any tangles, knots, or mats.
Because some slicker brushes, particularly the very inexpensive ones, can wreak havoc on your dogs skin unless you’re very careful, it’s really great that the Happy Dogz Pro Slicker has found the sweet spot between gentle and tough.
The had of the brush, while only slightly curved, has quite a bit of “give” to it, so it will go over the curves of your Shiba Inu’s body without scratching them.
While it doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature, you can use your hand or a comb to easily comb out the dead fur once you’ve finished brushing your Shiba Inu.
The handle, while no-frills, is comfortable and anti-slip, which means your hand won’t start hurting and you won’t accidentally send the brush flying across the room.
Check the latest price of the Happy Dogz Pro Slicker dog brush here.
OUR FAVORITE: Pro Quality Self Cleaning Slicker Brush for Dogs
The Self- Cleaning Slicker Pro is definitely our favorite slicker brush this year.
We picked this particular brush because it has all the features we look for in a slicker brush without being exorbitantly expensive.
The small/medium size, which is the ideal size for a Shiba Inu, is still pretty wide (3 ¾ inches), which means each stroke of the brush will cover more fur, and has perfectly spaced, moderately soft bristles that are bent at the edges.
The bristle pins are made of stainless steel, which means they won’t rust or wear down easily, and is gentle enough to massage your Shiba Inu’s skin while simultaneously removing dead fur and eliminating tangles.
And, of course, the Self- Cleaning Slicker Pro is, as the name indicates, “self-cleaning”. All you need to do is push a button and wipe the fur right off the brush.
As far as human comfort, the Self- Cleaning Slicker Pro is pretty darn comfortable. The handle is covered in a soft, anti-slip grip, and is wide enough to give you a good grip while still being comfortable to handle.
Check the latest price of the Self-Cleaning Pro Dog Slicker Brush here.
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