You may have fallen in love with your chow chow for her regal, leonine coat ... but oy! Those mats! Never fear, though: With a little hard work you can remove your pup's unwanted dreadlocks, and, with some advance planning, she'll keep her newly neat coiffure.
Part your puppy's fur around the mat all the way down to the skin, isolating the matted area and separating it from all unmatted fur. Spray the mat thoroughly with the coat dressing or detangler.
Hold the handle of the dematting comb firmly with your thumb on the thumbrest. Work the blades into the mat on the side nearest you, beginning about a centimeter or so from the edge of the mat, while holding the base of the mat firmly near your dog's skin. You want to stabilize the mat as much as possible as you saw through it so you do not yank on it painfully and send your pup howling for the hills.
Saw through the mat toward yourself, away from your chow. As you cut through the mat with the dematting comb, you will free dead hairs and debris while preserving as much of the still-attached fur as possible.
Comb through the freed hairs with wide-tooth and fine-tooth combs as needed as you break the mat apart. Apply more detangler as necessary. You can also further break the mat up with your fingers as you saw through the toughest parts with the dematting comb.
Move about a centimeter closer to your pup's skin at a time with the dematting comb as you gradually break the mat up, working from the outside in. When you reach the skin, carefully comb away any debris with the fine-tooth comb, checking for irritation or hot spots.
Thoroughly wash any irritated skin areas or hot spots with dog shampoo and rinse abundantly until the water runs clear. Dry completely and apply a zinc-based diaper cream.
- When you groom your chow chow, make sure you get all the way down to the skin. These guys have a long, glossy, rough overcoat, and a very thick, wooly undercoat. Mats develop from unnoticed tangles and debris over the course of weeks and months. If you have adopted a very neglected chow baby, you may need to use a grooming rake to get the old undercoat out before you begin regular grooming.
- To prevent future issues, institute a monthly bathing and blow-drying ritual and a weekly brushing regimen. Chow enthusiasts recommend using slicker and pin brushes, brushing against the direction of fur growth, and applying coat dressing at each brushing.
- If your pup has skin irritations or hot spots that do not clear up with regular grooming, see your vet. Do not use human conditioners, de-tanglers or shampoos on your doggy, as they will cause his magnificent coat to dry and break.
Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.