There's nothing good about matted dog fur. In fact, besides looking unsightly and dirty, if your dog's fur is matted, he's probably uncomfortable or even in pain. Try to de-mat his fur yourself, but if it proves too difficult, have a professional groomer complete the job.
Purchase a metal comb, slicker brush and small shears as well as detangling spray or conditioner. Using the right tools will help de-matt the fur and cause less pain for your dog. Avoid large shears and plastic combs which may be too difficult to use and cause pain.
Locate each area of matted fur gently with your hands. If the mats are loose, try separating them with your fingers or a metal comb. Work on one mat at a time and do not force the mat to come out if you cannot separate it with your fingers or the comb. Do not yank or pull on the mats if they are not easily separating.
Spray mats that are difficult to untangle with a detangler or conditioner spray. These sprays will help loosen the hair so it is easier to comb out. Leave the spray on for several minutes so it has time to sink into your dog’s fur. After spraying, the mats should become easier to tease out with a comb. Comb gently through each mat until they separate and use a brush to remove remaining pieces out of your dog’s fur.
Cut out mats with small shears. If the mat is very tangled but not too close to your dog’s skin, try to hold it steadily and cut it out of his fur. Do not position the shears between the skin and the mat. If you cannot cut the mat out without directly touching your dog’s skin, do not attempt to use shears. The mat will likely require your dog to be shaved. A professional groomer with the appropriate tools should handle the shaving.
Brush your dog frequently to prevent mats from occurring. As some breeds and coat types are more prone to matting than others, know where your dog’s mats tend to form and brush these areas at least weekly. This will prevent tangles and remove dead and shedding fur.
- Leave de-matting a rescue or stray dog to a professional. The dog can be unpredictable or very matted and react aggressively.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.