What is a Slicker Brush Used For?

If you’ve just welcomed a new pet into your family, there’s a good chance that someone told you to buy a slicker brush.

While this is a useful tool, these brushes aren’t ideal for every pet.

Slicker brushes are best suited for dogs and cats with thick coats. Double-coated dogs and cats with long coats will benefit from these brushes.

You can use a slicker brush on a dog or cat with short hair, but you risk hurting your pet. The bristles on these brushes are very different from a regular brush.

What Does a Slicker Brush Do?

What is a slicker brush used for? What makes it different from other brushes? Let’s take a closer look at the brush’s design and how you can use it to improve your pet’s coat.

Remove Debris and Loose Hair

Instead of conventional bristles, like the brush that you use for your own hair, slicker brushes have bent metal bristles. These bristles catch and help remove debris and loose hair from the coat.

If your pet has a thick coat, a slicker brush is a must-have item for this reason. If loose fur is left in the coat, it will eventually cause matting. Matting is something no pet owner wants to deal with, especially bad mats. These need to be cut from the coat very carefully and cannot be easily removed even with a de-matting brush.

While a slicker brush may sound like it’s painful to use, it’s not. The metal is thin and flexible, and the ends are slightly bent to avoid scratching the skin.

Distributing Oil Throughout the Fur

Just like with human hair, brushing helps distribute oils throughout the coat to make it shiny and healthy. Slicker brushes also help distribute oils in the cat’s thicker undercoat.

Cats are excellent self-groomers, but if you don’t brush their fur regularly, their coats will eventually start to look dull.

Improving Blood Circulation for a Healthier Coat

Slicker brushes have slightly harder bristles than conventional brushes. When used properly, they gently graze the skin (without hurting the cat) and stimulate blood flow to the coat.

Improved blood flow to the hair follicles keeps the coat healthy while improving hair growth.

How to Use a Slicker Brush

Because of its unique design, a slicker brush needs to be used very carefully. If used too aggressively, it can hurt your pet.

With a regular brush, you can move in the direction of the growth or the opposite direction. Moving in the opposite direction will help stimulate hair growth and get rid of knots,

But you can’t do this with a slicker brush. It is crucial that you brush in the direction of the growth when using this type of brush.

So, before you get started with your brushing session, check the direction of the hair growth. This is the direction you will want to move the brush.

You may also want to spray your pet’s coat with a conditioning spray before you get started. These sprays help loosen tangles that might otherwise get caught in the bristles and hurt your pet.

  • Start at the shoulders, and slowly work your way down to the tail.
  • From here, move on to the belly and then the legs.
  • Next, work on the face and feet. You might want to use a smaller slicker brush for these extra-sensitive areas.

You may come across some mats or tangles when brushing the coat. If you do, gently untangle the hair with short and smooth strokes.

Keep in mind that slicker brushes can only tackle mild mats. If there’s serious matting, you will need to use a de-matting tool or cut the mats from the coat. Do not attempt to cut the mats yourself. Have a groomer do it, as you can hurt your pet if you do it wrong.

Mats are commonly found in the thighs, armpits, belly and the insides of the ears.

Be sure to clean the brush regularly while you’re working on the coat. You will be surprised by how much fur a slicker brush removes. The brush will fill up quickly.

When you’re done, use a soft cloth to remove any leftover dead hair. You may also want to go over the coat once more with a regular soft bristle brush.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Slicker Brush

There are some advantages and disadvantages to using a slicker brush. Consider them all before making your final decision.


  • Easy to use
  • Removes tangles and loose fur
  • Can be used on both dogs and cats
  • Removes dead skin
  • Stimulates blood flow
  • Distributes oil throughout the coat


  • There’s a chance the brush may hurt your pet
  • Detangling can be painful if the knot or mat is serious
  • Some pets don’t like the feeling of the slicker brush bristles

Most slicker brushes are perfectly safe to use on dogs and cats, but you should take some precautions before buying one.

  • Gently test the brush on your arm. If the brush scratches your arm, do not buy it.
  • Make sure that you purchase the right sized brush for your pet. If you choose a brush that is too large, your pet may find it uncomfortable. If you use a brush that is too small, it may take too long to get through the grooming session.

Once you have found the right slicker brush for your pet, make sure that you keep it clean. Slicker brushes need to be cleaned after every single use.

Make sure that you:

  • Remove fur from the brush while you’re brushing.
  • Clean the brush head with warm soapy water.

We recommend soaking the brush in a bucket of warm, soapy water for 10-15 minutes. Rinse the brush thoroughly and allow it to dry completely before using it again.

Slicker brushes are one of the most popular pet grooming tools out there, and it’s easy to see why. They remove loose fur and debris better than just about any other brush you can buy, and they’re so easy to clean.

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