How to Brush a Tangled Long Haired Dog

Maltese are one breed that can tangle easily.

Maltese are one breed that can tangle easily.

Brushing tangles from your dog's hair brings the spa experience to your canine friend. Your pooch feels pampered and relaxed until the dreaded bath, but most dogs forgive you by the time the blow drier starts and the fun begins.

Allow the dog to see and smell tools used to remove tangles and mats. Use treats and lots of praise to make the experience positive for a puppy or young dog. Older dogs accustomed to grooming often enjoy the one-on-one time spent with you.

Use a plastic letter opener to split matted fur lengthwise into smaller sections. Plastic letter openers look like business cards and are often free gifts from businesses. Start towards the end of the hair and work away from skin to avoid cutting the dog. Pick apart tangles with your fingers or a V-shaped comb. Hold the base of the tangle to reduce pulling on the skin and start picking the hair apart. Start at the end and work towards the skin.

Use scissors or blending shears to remove a small length of tangled hair. Point the scissors away from the dog's skin and only cut at a safe distance from the ears, skin and nails. Blending shears have one notched tooth blade and one straight blade, making them less dangerous.

Apply a thick dog conditioner directly to the tangle. Conditioner makes the knot slippery and easier to break up with your fingers or a V-shaped comb. Gently use a slicker brush on the entire dog. Follow the slicker brush with a close-tooth comb to ensure you don't miss any tangles near the skin.

Bathe your dog. Do not lather shampoo in a circular motion or rub shampoo repetitively from the neck to the buttocks since this friction promotes tangling. Apply a liberal amount of dog shampoo directly to your dog and gently use downward motions with your fingers to lather the shampoo from the dog's back to the stomach. Thoroughly rinse the dog. Apply a light dog conditioner and use your fingers to brush the conditioner throughout the fur. If you find a knot, use a comb to work through the knot while your dog is in the bath. Thoroughly rinse the conditioner with clean water.

Blot excess water from your dog's fur with a clean towel. Spray a leave-in dog conditioner throughout your dog's fur. Blow dry your dog using a low setting, keeping the heat at least six inches from the skin. Spray a doggie detangler on your dog and brush his entire fur. Use a close-tooth comb to ensure there are no knots close to the skin.

Items you will need

  • Plastic letter opener
  • V-shaped comb (optional)
  • Blending shears or scissors
  • Thick conditioner
  • Slicker brush
  • Close-tooth comb
  • Bath area
  • Shampoo
  • Light conditioner
  • Towel
  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Blow dryer
  • Detangler

Tips

  • If it's difficult to keep your dog's fur from matting, try a puppy-cut hairstyle or another low-maintainable style.
  • You can purchase many high quality dog hair products as a set of shampoo, conditioner and detangler. Other products are sold separately.
  • Brush your dog's hair daily to distribute natural oils for a clean and healthy coat.

Warning

  • Never use scissors on fur matted to the skin since there is a high risk of injury to the dog. The only option when tangles are this severe is to shave the dog.
 

Photo Credits

  • Funny doggie image by Alina Chiannie from Fotolia.com