How to Deal With Knotted & Tangled Fur on a Dog

Brush your pooch when he is relaxed.

Brush your pooch when he is relaxed.

Knotted and tangled fur on medium- and long-haired dogs is common, especially if they don't shed or have a heavy undercoat. Tangles and knots can lead to heavy mats requiring the expertise of a groomer. You can remove tangles and knots with grooming tools and patience.

Place your pooch on a grooming table or any table that allows you to reach him easily. To begin the process of untangling his coat, have him stand up. You want to inspect the legs and hindquarters first.

Brush the legs with a pin brush to loosen dirt and discover any tangles. Brush from the skin out to the end of the hair. Once you work the legs, move on to the tail, the body and finally the ears. When you brush the body, have your dog lie down on his side.

Divide the coat into small sections. Spray the tangled area with a conditioning spray. Use your fingers to untangle any loose hair.

Pick at the tangles with the end teeth on the metal comb. Start from the edges of the tangle and work toward the middle. Lift the teeth in and out of the hair. Do not pull.

Brush large tangles with a slicker brush. Brush in different directions to loosen the mat. Once the mat is loosened, pick at the tangles with the metal comb.

Comb the whole coat with the metal comb. This will loosen any small knots you missed. Once you have finished combing your pup, you may want to shampoo him. Use a quality shampoo and a conditioner to limit future tangles.

Items you will need

  • Grooming table
  • Pin brush
  • Conditioning spray
  • Metal comb
  • Slicker brush


  • Hold the tangled or knotted hair with one hand and comb with the other hand. This will eliminate pulling and discomfort for your pet.
  • Adding cornstarch or grooming powder to the tangles can lubricate the hair shaft for greater ease of untangling or removing knots.


  • Do not try to cut out heavy mats. The mats may be close to the skin.

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About the Author

Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.

Photo Credits

  • veterinarian with dog image by Jaimie Duplass from Fotolia.com