Are Dog And Cat Brushes The Same? (Simply Explained)

If you have both a dog and a cat in your home (or multiple of each) you might wonder if you can use the same brush on each of your furry friends. Is there any risk of sharing brushes between your dogs and cats? Do you need different brushes for dogs and cats?

For the most part dog and cat brushes can be used interchangeably. However, some differences do exist between dog and cat brushes. Pets with thicker than usual coats require a more specialized brush to help maintain their coat without causing them pain during their grooming sessions.

In this post we’re going to dive deep on the differences between dog and cat brushes, which brushes are best to use on certain animals, why they make brushes for specific pets and much more!

Without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Are There Any Real Differences Between Dog And Cat Brushes?

Having a dog and cat at home means you have to do some grooming now and then. Grooming keeps their coat soft and free of any tangles. It also helps your pet feel comfortable and have a shiny coat.

However, as a pet parent, you might be tempted to use the same brushes for your cat and dog.

Honestly, there isn’t much of a difference between a cat and a dog brush apart from its size. 

For instance, you might need a bigger and stronger brush for a large dog breed. In this case it might be too big for your cat with a thinner coat and be an uncomfortable experience for them.

Therefore, as you contemplate purchasing their brushes, consider the size that you need. If your dog breed isn’t large with a thick coat, the two furry family members can likely get away with sharing a brush.

Some brushes are interchangeable, while others are specific for certain pets. Let’s break down each brush and determine use it’s best used for:

Slicker Brushes

A slicker brush has thin teeth and a curved appearance. It’s one of the best brushes to have at home for pets with thick, curly, and long coats.

The good news is this is an interchangeable brush that you can use to groom your cat and dog. Its design works through mats and leaves the coat tangle-free.


No not the rake you use in your yard! There’s a special rake for pets that you can use to work on thick coats and get rid of nasty tangles. All you have to do is apply a little pressure, similar to when you use a razor to shave.

Rakes suit dogs since their coats catch all sorts of debris that gets stuck, so you need it to pull out the dead hair.

Bristle Brush

After getting rid of the mats on your pet’s long and thick coat, you need some brushes to finish the job.

One of them is the bristle brush that suits your cat and dog. It has soft bristles that work through the coat, leaving it with a nice and lasting shine.

Double-Sided Brush

A double-sided brush is among the essential grooming items you have to get for your cat and dog. It suits all breeds of dogs and cats, no matter how thin or thick their coats are.

On one side of the brush are pins that you can use to detangle your pet’s hair. The next side is for the finishing touch of smoothing the mat to leave it soft and shiny.

What Are The Differences Between a Dog And a Cat Coat?

Dogs and cats have coats that you have to maintain to keep them soft and smooth. And these coats have certain differences between their hairs that you should know about.


The most obvious difference between a dog’s coat and a kitten’s coat is in their length. Most dog breeds have long hair, while cats have shorter hair.


Cats tend to have thinner hair than dogs. If you pay close attention when petting both their coats you should be able to notice that your cat’s fur is much more fine/thin. There’s quite a distinct difference between the thickness of their coats.


Long and thick dog coats tend to tangle easily. As your dog runs and rolls on the ground, they trap all sorts of debris and dirt in the tangles.

As for cats, they make grooming much easier. Even for cats with thicker fur as they do a lot of self-grooming.


Dogs can have quite coarse fur coats. When a dog has fur instead of hair, their coat is usually less soft. Poodles and poodle mixes tend to have softer coats because they have hair instead of fur.

In general, cat hair feels soft and smooth. However, both dogs and cats can have damaged coats if their diet is poor or don’t receive any grooming.

Will I Harm My Cat By Using My Dog’s Brush On Them?

Some brushes are interchangeable. The good news is slicker brushes work on dogs and cats. All you have to do is check the coat of the cat and compare it with the brush.

For instance, if your dog brush suits a thick coat, it’s better to use it lightly on a cat with a thinner coat. With care and attention, you won’t harm your cat if you use your dog’s brush on them.

If you find the dog brush is a little harsh on your cat and they don’t like the experience, you should opt for a different, more gentle brush for your kitty.

What Types Of Brushes Can Work On Both Dogs And Cats?

Most breeds of dogs and cats shed which means you’ll have to brush them frequently to control how much of their fur spreads around your home.

It’s best to have a few different types of brushes available for you to use at home. Such as:

  • Slicker Brush
  • Pin Brush
  • Rakes
  • Bristle Brush
  • Mitt Brush
  • Double-sided Brush

Some brushes specialize in handling certain coat conditions which will make your life easier and provide a better grooming experience for your furry friend.

Why Do They Make Brushes For a Specific Pet?

There are specific grooming needs for each pet that you have at home. For example, a cat with a thin coat and a dog with a thick coat need different brushes. Manufacturers design and produce different brushes for this reason.

For instance, rake brushes have a specific purpose of breaking thick mats that form on a dog’s coat. The design and size of the brushes are for varying coats’ texture and length.

On the other hand, you can wear a mitt brush like a glove and use it on your cat. It’s softer and easier for cats with a thin coat.

Check what suits your dog or cat, depending on the size and nature of their coats. What works for a thin coat will likely not suit a pet with a thick one.

Best Brush For Both Dogs And Cats

HERTZKO Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush


  • Brand: HERTZKO
  • Type of Brush: Slicker Brush
  • Recommended for: Dogs and Cats
  • Color: Purple
  • Meant For: Fur


The HERTZKO self-cleaning slicker brush is a high quality brush that both your dog and cat will enjoy being groomed with. It’s the best brush to help you remove all those nasty mats that form on their coats over time.

It helps to remove tangles, mats, dirt, and debris trapped in the coat of your dog or cat. What’s also great is that it’s designed in a way where it can be used on small cats and dogs as well as bigger dog breeds.

The bristles are bent wires that easily penetrate their coat. That way, you can work out knots and tangles from the undercoat of your dog or cat but it’s gentle enough to not scratch or harm their skin. Many dogs and cats have sensitive skin so this is important.

Another positive note about this slicker brush is how easy it is to clean after each use. All you need to do is click the button at the top to retract the bristles. Once you do so, remove the hair with ease and wipe down the brush.

Final Thoughts

In some instances cats and dogs can use the same brushes at home, but not all of them. Some grooming brushes are interchangeable but some are designed for a specific pet. Many labels will say whether or not the brush should be used on a dog or cat without any issues.

However, always keep in mind the breed and coat of your pet.

If you have pets with similar coats at home, you can use the same brush on them.  But, those with different coats require different brushes for safe and effective grooming. What you use on a pet with a thick, long coat might not suit a pet with a thin and short coat.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Top 28 Best Dog Brushes (100+ brushes analyzed!)

Goldendoodle Grooming Guide: Top 10 Best Brushes

Alec Littlejohn

Founder and Reviewer at Pawscessories. He is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! He grew up in a family of vets and to this day he helps out around the family clinic and shares his learnings on Pawscessories. Learn more about Alec's story here

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