Maltese dogs have beautiful white coats that shed little but tend to tangle quickly and so require regular brushing. Mats will inevitably form; removing them is a test of patience, both yours and your dog's. But with perseverance and the right tools, you should win the battle.
Saturate the mat with a detangling spray or some baby oil to make it easier to work with. Besides possibly making it worse, trying to work out a dry mat will do nothing but frustrate you and possibly make it worse. Massage the liquid into the mat, making sure to coat the entire tangle. Let it sit for a few minutes to completely saturate each hair, and keep the mat wet as you work to avoid breaking the hair as you work it out.
Use your fingers to pull the mat apart and separate the hair as much as possible. You wouldn't take a brush to your own head if you had a bad tangle, so don't subject your Maltese to that. Work slowly, using as much detangler as necessary to keep it wet. Keep working through the mat to encourage it to loosen.
Separate as much of the mat as possible using the end of your comb. Slow and steady wins the race, as the saying goes. Work in small sections and comb through a few hairs at a time until they are untangled. Move from one section to the next, repeating the process.
Use your pin brush to go through the entire area and make sure the mat is gone. Brush small sections at a time, using more detangler if necessary. Do not yank the brush through the hair — if it doesn't move through easily, go back to your comb and smooth it out.
Cut the mat out if no amount of careful detangling will remove it. Some mats appear to be spawned from the pit of the underworld, and nothing you can do will get them to loosen. Use your scissors and carefully snip the mat into sections, then try to detangle the separate sections. If it still doesn't work, cut the mat off as close to the skin as you can get without harming your pooch.
- Brush your Maltese regularly to prevent mats from forming.
- Work as much of the mat out with your fingers before attempting to brush, to avoid hurting your dog.
- Have your Maltese trimmed in a shorter puppy-style cut to keep brushing to a minimum and avoid mats.
- Take breaks if necessary to let your dog rest if there are numerous mats or if the mat in question is large and tight.
- Never bathe your dog if she has a mat. The water will only set the mat tighter and make it nearly impossible to get out.
- Keep your dog's comfort in mind as you work on a mat. Never tug or yank on the mat as you attempt to brush or comb it out. Work slowly and gently to remove the mat and avoid hurting your dog.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.