It’s easy to let our pet’s grooming routine sit on the back burner. Life gets busy, seasons change, and we forget that our pup’s coat needs brushing.
But failing to keep up with your brushing routine can cause your dog’s fur to become matted. When matting gets really bad, the dog’s coat needs to be shaved – which is bad news for pups with insulating undercoats.
Mats can and do happen, so don’t be too hard on yourself if your pup has a few mats here and there. There are many ways to fix matted fur.
Best Way to Remove Mats from Dog Hair
Before you tackle your mat problem, there’s one thing you should know: Never use scissors to remove mats.
Mats are usually really close to the dog’s skin, which makes it easy to accidentally cut the skin. Also, it’s best to try and work out the mat than cut it. Damaging the undercoat will reduce the coat’s insulating properties.
If the mat is small, you may be able to apply some oil to it and loosen it with your fingers. If you can’t remove it with your fingers, you have a few options.
Let’s take a look at two of the best ways to remove mats.
A Steel Comb and Oily Spray
A steel comb and an oily spray is the best way to remove small and medium-sized mats. Never attempt to brush or remove a mat from a dry coat because you’ll break the hair and damage the fur.
Start by applying the detangling spray to the mat, and hold the fur closest to the skin. Next, use the end of the steel comb to work out the mat. Use short and quick strokes, and don’t pull too hard.
Be as gentle as possible when removing the mat. Your dog should not feel any discomfort. Do all that you can to make the experience as positive as possible.
When you’re done using the steel comb, go over the mat with a slicker brush to remove any last tangles.
A steel comb and an oil-based detangling spray is your best bet for removing small and medium-sized tangles.
For larger mats, you’ll need a more serious tool. But if the mat is very large or your dog’s fur is severely matted, it may be time to toss in the towel and bring him to the groomer.
When a dog’s fur is badly matted, shaving is usually the only real solution.
Now, if the mat is larger but not too big to handle, you can use a de-matting comb. These are sometimes called de-matting rakes, de-matting tools or mat splitters.
These combs have sharp edges that cut through the knot in the mat. High quality de-matting combs will have a rubber grip to prevent slipping while you work through the mat.
When using, you want to carefully move the comb through the mat. Hold the hair close to the skin to avoid pulling the mat and causing pain.
Again, it’s important to be as gentle as possible when using this type of comb, and you’ll want to use short, quick strokes. Have plenty of treats on hand to make the experience as positive as possible.
If your dog’s matting is severe, it may be time to see a groomer. Removing badly matted fur can be extremely painful to a dog, and it can also be a traumatic experience.
In cases of really bad matting, you will want to book an appointment with your vet or a groomer who has experience with severe matting. These professionals will have the right tools and knowledge for the job to make the experience as stress-free as possible.
Post De-Matting Grooming
Once you have successfully removed the mats from your dog’s fur, you can continue brushing his coat.
Use a slicker brush to remove as much dead fur as possbile. If your dog is still in a happy mood, you can go over his coat one last time with a regular bristle brush. Be gentle and stop if your dog gets irritated. Remember, you want grooming to be as positive of an experience as possible.
If need be, you can also give your dog a good bath to loosen up any other dead fur that may be hiding in his coat.
If your dog had a lot of mats or was stressed out by the experience, you may need to stop brushing and call it a day. You can brush again the next day after your dog has had time to rest and relax.
Great job on removing your dog’s mats. With the right grooming routine in place, you can prevent future mats and keep your dog as happy as possible.
The best way to avoid mats is to brush your dog regularly. Pay attention to breed grooming recommendations. Some dogs, like Huskies, need to be brushed daily during shedding season and weekly any other time of year.
Also, make sure that you never brush a dry coat. Always use a detangling spray or wet the dog’s coat prior to brushing. You don’t necessarily have to give your dog a bath before brushing, but the coat should be moist.
Use an undercoat rake, de-shedding comb, shedding blade or a slicker brush to remove dead fur from the dog’s undercoat. This dead fur is typically what causes the matting.
Another way to prevent mats is to dry your dog’s coat when he comes in from the snow or rain. Dogs with double coats and long fur often get snowballs stuck in their fur, which can cause mating if the coat is not brushed or dried properly.
Remember, mats can and will happen from time to time. Some breeds are particularly vulnerable to matting, which can make it difficult to keep under control. Tackling the problem before it gets out of hand will save your dog a lot of discomfort and keep his coat looking its best. Taking the time to brush your dog often will help keep mats a bay and your pup happy.