How to Untangle Matted Dog Hair

Long-haired dogs require daily grooming to avoid matted fur.

Long-haired dogs require daily grooming to avoid matted fur.

Just like humans, dogs can get tangles in their fur that lead to mats. It's important to remove them quickly to avoid skin sores. While severe grooming cases may require a professional to cut or shave fur, you should be able to get most tangles out at home yourself.

Brush away any fur around the matted area to get a clear picture of what is involved in your dog's tangle, and what you need to remove first.

Cut away a small part of the matted fur that is the farthest from your dog's skin using a small pair of grooming scissors. Sometimes this will loosen the tangle and allow the rest of the mat to be brushed out easily. If not, a bit more work is required.

Section the matted fur into smaller areas, using a comb or credit-card sized letter opener with a sharp blade. Working on smaller portions of the tangle at a time will make it easier on you and cause less uncomfortable tugging for your dog.

Apply a small amount of pet detangling spray or conditioner to the matted fur. Rub it in gently with your thumb and forefinger, working it into the hair but not making the tangle worse. The goal is to make the fur slippery so that the tangle will comb out easily.

Hold a portion of the matted fur in one hand and a dog grooming comb in the other. Starting at the farthest point of the tangle away from the skin, gently begin running the comb tip through the tangle, separating the hair gently. Add additional detangler or conditioner as needed to keep the fur slippery. Continue moving up the tangle as the hair loosens and separates until that section is completely combed out.

Move to the next portion of tangled hair and repeat the process, beginning with the bottom of the tangle and moving up to the skin, until all of the matting has been brushed out.

Items you will need

  • Small grooming scissors
  • Dog grooming comb or plastic letter opener
  • Pet detangling spray or conditioner


  • Brush your dog's hair daily to prevent tangles and mats from forming.


  • Do not give your dog a bath until after you've combed out the mat; hair can become further tangled when wet.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by Cuteness
Brought to you by Cuteness

About the Author

Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."

Photo Credits

  • Collie Dog on Dog Bed image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com