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There’s nothing worse than waking up one day and realizing that the mats in your dog’s fur have gotten too much to handle. It’s sometimes tricky to constantly manage your medium or long-haired dog’s coat. Plus, if your dog has had a rough-and-tumble day playing outdoors, those knots and mats can appear out of nowhere. If that seems to be your current reality, you can utilize some of these easy ways to eliminate those annoying mats before they lead to skin irritation or worse – skin infections.
The Comprehensive Brushing
The most obvious method that you can use to get rid of matted fur is to brush them out. There are a few kinds of brush you might want to use – these largely depend on the type of fur your dog has and the severity of the mats. Generally speaking, you’ll want to go with a slicker brush. Wire-bristle brushes are perfect for breaking into both large and small mats that seem to have no end to them. A steel dematting comb is also suitable for breaking up strings of mats that have clumped together.
When brushing out mats, you want to be gentle to not hurt your dog. However, you also need a firm hand to prevent hair breakage and make sure you actually get the mats out. You should always try to remember to hold the mats from the base as close as possible to your dog’s skin when working them out. This will prevent excess pulling and pinching and save your dog a lot of suffering.
Shampooing and Conditioning
Remember, you don’t have to tackle matted fur dry. Dry fur that’s filled with mats can also be filled with other stubborn particles like dirt, dust, and various kinds of debris. These can contribute to a mat’s overall strength and persistence, so a good, long bath can do wonders for loosening up those mats in your dogs coat. Make sure to shampoo and condition thoroughly while using your fingers to eliminate debris.
You’ll also want to do your best to break up any clumps of knots with your fingers during the bathing process. Try your hardest to separate mats into distinct individual clumps to make them easier to separate later. In other words, turn that massive mat into a bunch of little ones! You can also try the cornstarch trick – this little tip will help break up the mats. Just rub a bit of cornstarch into each mat once you’ve given your dogs fur time to dry. It works wonders every time.
Make Sure Your Dog is Comfortable
As any dog owner knows, dogs aren’t always the best at handling grooming situations. Anyone who has ever had to trim the nails of an untrained dog knows this. If you’ve trained your dog well, then you won’t have to worry about this at all, but if your dog is a little more squeamish, then here are a few tips that you might be able to utilize.
First of all, make sure your dog is in a positive state. You can help get your dog there by taking them on a long walk before tackling the matting to help them eliminate any excess energy. You’ll also want plenty of treats on hand to reward them for when they’re being well-behaved. It’ll likely be easier to remove matted fur if you aren’t the only one attempting the procedure, but if you are, then firmly hold your dog in your arms in a position close to your chest. This will let them know they are safe while also telling them that you are in charge and the dematting is commencing – whether they like it or not!
When In Doubt, Cut it Out
Sometimes, the mats win. They might be too robust, full of gunk, or too big to comb, brush, or shampoo out. If this is the case for your dog’s matted hair, don’t despair. You didn’t do anything wrong – sometimes they get too big to deal with alone. If this is the case for you, then there’s no shame in getting yourself a good pair of scissors or clippers and getting to work. When you cut out the mats with scissors, don’t worry about keeping the haircut too even. Just work to cut the stubborn mats out, and that’s it. Let your dog groomer worry about how the dog’s finished coat will look.
However, something is to be said for not cutting out every mat – it is still recommended that you brush out all the matted fur you can. Cutting your dog’s matted hair should be a last resort, as your dog likes having fur! They were born with it. We don’t advocate for people shaving their dogs down entirely to prevent mats. Not only can this lead to temperature control problems for your dog, but it can also cause sunburn and reduce their efficacy at preventing themselves from getting hurt when playing outside. Fur is an exceptional protector from scratches, cuts, and punctures, and we all know how much dogs love to roll around in questionable areas.
Good Luck Dematting!
If you have a long haired dog like a Shih Tzu or a Golden Retriever, you’ve almost certainly encountered the issue of matted and tangled fur. We hope that some of these tips will prove helpful to you if you ever need to eliminate your dog’s matted hair. While it can be tedious and stressful, that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Good luck, and if it gets too much for you to handle, then just grab the shears or call a professional groomer.
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Welcome to Spike’s Dog Blog by Acme Canine. Throughout the site, you will find a variety of helpful dog training articles, insightful dog behavior tips, and truthful product reviews from nationally-recognized canine trainers and professionals.