How to Brush and Comb A Havanese: A Step-by-Step Guide to Grooming

If you have a Havanese, then you will know that brushing and combing is an important part of their grooming routine. So it’s important to know how to properly brush and comb their fur. This includes knowing exactly which tools to use and when.

Why Brushing and Combing Your Havanese Is Important

Regular brushing and combing of your pupper is vital for maintaining their coat’s health and shine. If not maintained, it can lead to a host of problems, including: matting, skin irritation, and even infection.

By regularly brushing and combing your doggie, you can prevent painful matting. Brushing also helps to distribute your dog’s natural oils throughout their coat, thus keeping their skin and fur healthy. Regular grooming also provides an opportunity to check for any skin irritations, bumps, or lumps that may require veterinary attention. By catching these issues early, you can ensure that your havanese receives prompt and appropriate care by a specialist if needed.

Another important aspect that may be overlooked, is that regular grooming also provides an opportunity for bonding between your pupper and you. Take that time to forge a trusting and special bond between the two of you. This will not only bring you closer to your beloved doggo, but allow them to complete the grooming process in a safe and fulfilled way. This will create positive effects that will last a lifetime, especially when transitioning to regular veterinary or specialized appointments; where your dog will be comfortable in that type of environment.

The havanese has a thick double-coat. Brushing also helps to remove dirt, debris, and loose hair, which can reduce shedding. This also helps reduce the amount of loose hair and pet dander within your home; thus reducing the increased risk for exposure for allergy sufferers.

It is recommended that your brush daily in order to prevent/reduce matting and tangles as much as possible.

What You’ll Need

Before you start brushing and combing your havanese, make sure you have the following:

  • Brush Types
    • A pin brush with precision-machined brass with rounded tips
  • Comb Types
    • A stainless steel comb with an anti-corrosion spine and rounded pins
  • Other Tools
    • A mat table or high surface
    • A treat to reward your havanese for good behavior

Preparing to Brush and Comb Your Havanese

It is important to start the grooming process as early as possible. For pupper up to 4 months of age, you should brush several days a week with a metal pin brush in order to begin to establish a grooming routine.

After 4 months of age, you can introduce a comb after brushing. Make sure to comb to the skin. It should be able to comb smoothly through the coat. As your bichon puppy reaches adulthood, an increase in brushing is necessary. During 8 months – 1 year, the coat is transitioning from their puppy coat to their adult coat. It is moving from a single soft coat to a double-coat; a soft undercoat and a coarse topcoat. Their second coarse topcoat will start to emerge, beginning at the lower back. The coat will become hard to manage and will be prone to matting very easily. You must be diligent and brush/comb frequently, possibly daily, during this process. If left to mat and tangle, drastic measures such as shaving the dog to the skin may be required.

Always make sure to remain patient and gentle when completing. Place the puppy on an elevated surface with a non-slip mat such as a dog grooming table in order to complete the grooming routine (brushing, combing, teeth, and nails). Get them comfortable lying on their side and standing while on the higher surface. Just make sure you grab all the necessary equipment required prior to placing your pup up high, and if you have forgotten something then lower them back down to the floor so as you’re making sure not to leave them on a high surface unattended.

Bringing them to a higher work surface will not only signal to your pup that ‘now it’s time for the grooming routine,’ but will also save your back. It will allow you to have proper body mechanics, which will become especially important as they become bigger and stronger. Also, please make sure to incorporate praise and treats prior to and after completing the grooming routine. This will not only help solidify the bonding experience, but will signal to your pupper that the grooming process is a safe and loving space for them.

Ideally, you will want to brush your havanese daily in order to best prevent mats and tangles.

How to Brush Your Havanese

  1. You should start by removing all mats, dirt, debris, and loose hair from their coat. Attempt to use your fingers firstly, by gently pulling apart small sections at a time and working your way from outermost mat sections and moving closer to the skin. Pinch the tangle between your fingers so as not to pull on the hair. Start working the tangle at the tip of the hair and work your way closer to the skin. Use a detangling spray for the current section you are working on in order to ease the tangles out more freely.
  2. You will use a technique called line brushing, which is when you systematically part the hair into sections and brush small sections at a time in order to ensure that the whole length of the hair is brushed. You should be able to see a distinct line in the hair with the part, creating a visible ‘line’. Make sure to brush from the skin to the tips of the strands. And remember to hold the brush flat, as having it at an angle can rip the hair or end up scratching the dog’s skin. 
  3. To brush, you will use a pin brush with precision-machined brass with rounded tips. This will cause less static, as opposed to steel tips, which can increase risk for pulling and splitting the hair. And not with bobbles, since those are prone to splitting the ends of the hair. And using a grooming spray when brushing each section will also help to reduce static.  A bristle brush with nylon bristles, helps to distribute natural oils in the coat. But never use an undercoat rake on this breed. They are specifically designed to pull out the softer undercoat when there is a harsh topcoat. 
  4. Start at the body. You can brush the back, working your way closer to the spine. Remember to brush section by section, and in the direction of hair growth. When brushing, always work your way to the skin, being especially gentle the closer to the skin you get. Be extra gentle when moving towards the chest, as this is usually a sensitive area. 
  5. When brushing the legs, they can lay on their back or in standing; whichever you prefer and works best for you and your pupper. If laying on their back, you can hold the leg up in the air. When brushing the legs, lift the top leg and brush the underside of the bottom leg and repeat until all four legs are brushed. Start at the intersection where the leg meets the body. Brush in small sections, brushing away from you. Brush in the opposite direction of the hair growth, so you will brush opposite how it naturally falls along the body in standing. This will create a fluffy look. Pay special attention to the armpits, as this area is prone to matting. Make sure you brush to the skin with every brush stroke, but be mindful not to scratch the skin. 
  6. For the tail, you will start at the base and work your way to the tip. Remember to be gentle, as this is a sensitive area.
  7. Gently brush the face. Pay special attention to the eyes and ears, making sure not to get too close as it could be painful if you accidentally poked them in the eye. 

How to Comb Your Havanese

  1. Start with the head. Using a stainless steel comb. Start at the bottom of the chin and work your way up the face. Remember to comb in the direction of hair growth.
  2. Next move to the ears. Comb down vertically in the direction of the hair growth.
  3. Then the chest, starting at the closest point to the chin and working your way down. Continue to comb down in the direction of the hair growth. Make sure to be gentle around the sensitive belly area. 
  4. Then the sides, while alternating laying on each side. Remember to comb in the direction of the hair growth.
  5. Then the front legs and then the back legs, starting at the furthest most point of the toes and working your way up to the thigh. Pay special attention to the intersection where the legs meet the body, as this area is prone to matting.
  6. Lastly, the tail. 

Tips for Maintaining Your Havanese’s Coat

To keep your doggo’s coat healthy, you should brush and comb it regularly. Here are some tips:

  • Brush their entire coat at least a couple of times a week
  • Use a pin brush or *slicker brush to remove tangles and mats. (Slicker brushes should
  • only be used by professionals, because if used incorrectly, it will be very painful)
  • Use a comb to remove loose hair and debris.
  • Be gentle and avoid pulling or tugging on the coat.
  • Pay special attention to areas that are prone to tangles, such as behind the ears and
  • under the legs.
  • If you encounter a mat, use your fingers first. A detangling spray and/or dematting tool or
  • scissors to carefully remove it are also options.
  • Always give a treat and praise for good behavior.

By following these tips, you can maintain your Havanese’s coat and keep it looking healthy and shiny.

As long as you are able to maintain regular brushing, shedding will be minimal.

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