How to Brush a Small Dog's Tail

Medium
5 - 10 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

There are so many different breeds of small dogs, and so many variations of small cross breed dogs, that there are literally thousands of different small dog tails. Short, long, furry, hairy, sleek, soft, wiry, and everything in between--all are characteristic of small dogs. Before brushing your small dog's tail, you will need to figure out what his tail brushing needs are, based on the type of hair on his tail, propensity to tangle or mat, whether his tail is trimmed or partially clipped, and what you would like your dog's tail to look like. Fluffy? Sleek? Or just not a scraggly mess!

Whatever your little dog's tail brushing needs, you will need to have the right brushes and tools and provide support to the tail, skin, and hair when brushing. Your small dog does not want his tail or tail hair pulled, so working to remove tangles and debris and style your dog's tail will need to be done thoroughly, but gently and with care.

Dog's Perspective

Small dogs may be pretty protective of their tails. Small dogs tend to be house dogs, and are close to the ground. As a result, it is easy to accidentally step on them or close their tails in doorways, if you aren't looking where you are going or your little dog darts through a door unexpectedly.  If your dog's tail has been injured in a household accident, he may be extremely sensitive about having his tail handled. Dogs use their tails to communicate; up, down, wagging, between the legs, all indicate your dog's mood and interest. So far from being a useless appendage, your dog is very aware of his tail, and as part of his spine, he may not appreciate it being pulled, squeezed or held, which is necessary for brushing. Handling your dog's tail gently and firmly, and providing support while brushing, will be important for your small dog's comfort.

The Hold and Support Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Dematter
Comb
Step
1
Support the tail
Grasp the base of your small dog's tail with one hand. Wrap your hand around the tail with your fingers splayed, so that the tail hair lays on your splayed fingers.
Step
2
Work in sections
With your free hand, use a slicker brush to brush tail hair from root to tip. Work in sections and make small strokes with your brush.
Step
3
Move to end of tail
Move your hand down your small dog's tail. As you complete brushing each section, take a new section, working to the tip of the tail. Continue holding the tail bone with your hand and thumb, and resting fanned tail hair against splayed fingers, as you brush each section.
Step
4
Work out mats
If tail hair is tangled or matted, use a mat splitter or your fingers to work out the mat or snarls. Continue holding and supporting the tail.
Step
5
Check with a comb
After brushing, use a comb to check your work and locate any knots you missed with the slicker brush.
Recommend grooming method?

The Detangler Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Scissors
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Step
1
Use detangler
Spray your small dog's tail with a detangler or sprinkle with cornstarch. This will lubricate tail hairs and make them slide against each other when brushing and detangling, which will reduce pulling.
Step
2
Grease tough tangles
If your small dog's tail is snarled, you can rub on dog conditioner, peanut butter or coconut oil to provide more lubrication and help you work out tangles.
Step
3
Work with your fingers
Use your fingers to loosen tangles and remove obvious debris like grass, burs or sticks.
Step
4
Brush out sections
Hold your small dog's tail straight up and brush against the direction of growth with a pin brush to loosen knots and remove fine debris. Hold each section of hair you are brushing with your hand between the brush and skin to reduce pulling.
Step
5
Remove difficult knots
If necessary, use a mat splitter or scissors to cut out difficult mats or knots. Finish with a comb to locate any hidden small knots. Hold the tail hair between the skin and the comb to avoid pulling.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Support hair you are brushing or combing, so as not to pull skin and tail. Hold hair between the skin and where you are brushing.
  • As much as possible, use your fingers and products that allow hair to slide before brushing.
  • Remember your dog's tail is sensitive, especially if injured. Work carefully.
  • If your dog is sensitive to having his tail handled, practice petting and handling the tail so your dog will be more cooperative during brushing.
  • Use brushes that are in good condition to avoid snagging hair.

Conclusion

Small dogs have a variety of different types of tails, but they all need to be dirt and tangle-free. Brushing your small dog's tail to remove debris and keep it tidy is important to avoid mats that are both unsightly and can trap moisture and cause sores. Because tails are sensitive and part of your dog's spine, brushing your dog's tail will need to be done carefully to avoid pulling. Supporting the tail and holding hair between your grooming tool and your dog’s skin to reduce pulling will be appreciated by your little guy.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!