For those who own a lovely dog, you know that hair mats do really happen. In as much as it’s a friendly disposition, the long and silky coats present a nightmare of a challenge to keep tidy.
The long coats develop into tangles and mats, which provide an unpleasant experience for both dog and the owners. The matted hair becomes even more aggravated when the dog gets wet. Unless these are not brushed or removed, they introduce a number of skin problems to the dog.
On occasions, the fur tangles up to your dog’s skin and this eventually results in itchy sores. The sores are masked by the mats, leading to skin infections which spread throughout the dog’s body. It is, therefore of utmost importance that you get rid of matted dog hair as soon as they develop.
- What is Matted Fur
- What Causes Matted Hair
- Matted Dog Hair Problems
- How to Get Mats Out of Dog Hair
What is Matted Fur
Matted dogs are dogs that have sticky and hard coats. You’ll know if your dog is matted by running a comb through their fur or hair. Though you might at first just use your hand to run through their coat, it still isn’t recommended because this isn’t enough to thoroughly flow through every strand of hair on their skin.
Use a comb, and you can smoothly go through their coat. It should easily glide through it. But if ever it gets snagged, then that's a strong sign that you've got a matted dog. The best thing to do when this happens is to stop brushing, as forced brushing might improperly pull out their hair from their skin. That would surely be painful! Instead of continuing brushing, you might as well shave it to your dog’s ideal hair length.
What Causes Matted Hair
There are a lot of reasons on why your dog's coat and hair gets matted. However, the usual reason is that of friction. A dog's matted hair is usually found at the back of their ears, under their neck, in between their armpits, and even sometimes on the lower portion of their legs. These places are the spots where their body usually comes in contact with soil, grass, or other rough and dirty surfaces.
2. Posture and Position
A dog's posture and position also play a huge factor in why they might be matted. Dogs that always sit down or dogs that are left or right hipped are the ones that are usually matted. This is because air doesn't dry up their coat if it happens that their coat is wet. It becomes moist and it absorbs dust and dirty due to it being in contact with the surface it's sitting on.
3. Lack of Grooming
The most important thing about being a dog owner is always to put grooming above anything else. Ensuring that your dog is groomed well also isn't just about cleanliness, but it's also about making sure that they stay fit and healthy. Groom them regularly, bath them if they give off foul smell or if they look dirty. This way, you'll avoid them from getting unnecessary knots and tangles that then lead to matted coat.
Matted Dog Hair Problems
A lot of serious problems can happen if you don’t do anything about your dog’s matted coat. One of the usual problems that might happen is that they might have a pelted coat. A pelted coat is when the entire coat of your dog is matted, all the way from their neck to their tails, and even their legs and feet.
This then creates a large dirty mat over your dog’s body which can harbor parasites, pets, and other harmful microbial life. And not only that, because this will also make it impossible for you to brush out the mat.
A dog that has matted coat will also feel constant pain because the hair would always be pulling their skin. A slight movement that your dog makes would always result in pain because the hair sticks into their skin's surface. Their skin surface will then be a breeding ground for bacteria. In worse cases, it can even lead to fungal growth.
How to Get Mats Out of Dog Hair
Fortunately for you, matting in non-shedding dogs can be prevented through regular care and grooming of your dog’s hair. Matted dog hair removal requires that you be patient with your dog, more so when she does not fancy standing still. To prevent a bad dog hair day, you need the best way to get mats out of dog hair. The following methods should come in handy.
1. Use Dog Detangler Spray
Before you start the detangling process, you need to first of all use a detangler spray. The spray makes the whole detangling and dematting process a lot easier on you and the dog. In this way, you can detangle heavy mats easily since the spray softens the hair for an easier process.
However, if the mats and tangles are not that severe, you can skip this step. But I would highly recommend using the spray no matter the severity of the problem. It would enable you to detangle matted hair painlessly.
Before you bath your dog, remember to first of all remove all the tangles and mats that may be present on the dog’s hair. If you might have realized, bathing the dog before makes the problem worse by creating more mats. In other instances, the water makes the tangles tighter. This makes them harder to remove even with the application of a detangler spray. What this means is that if you have a long-haired dog breed, then get rid of all the mats first before you can bath her.
You can choose to also use a detangling shampoo or a detangling conditioner for detangled hair. There is a catch though as these do not provide a lasting solution to this hair problem.
For my dog’s detangling spray needs, I usually use the Stuff Conditioner and Detangler. I find it to be the best when it comes to removing the severe mats and tangles that my dog experiences. This product is good at both coat protection and also removal and prevention of tangles. If you are looking for a dematting solution that is easier and safe for your dog, then you could try out this product just like me.
2. Use A Slicker Brush and Wide-Tooth Comb for Soft Mats
Just in case your dog has soft mats, a better option would be to use either a slicker brush or a wide tooth comb. Alternatively, these two can be used one after the other by first loosening the mats with the slicker brush.
When done, you can then use the wide-tooth comb for picking the tangles and combing them out. You need to first of all get ready with a good quality slicker brush. It is the only way you will be able to effectively remove the tangles.
Are you wondering what the best option for a wide-toothed comb could be? My choice for this product is the Andis Pet Steel Grooming Comb. It is a low cost yet powerful dual sided comb. Other features I find appealing about this product are its fine and coarse teeth that are sturdy enough to remove mats on a dog’s coat effectively.
Other brushes and combs work out great too, but a slicker brush always does the trick for me. To ensure that you always buy the best, properly asses the qualities of the slicker brushes available before you make any purchase. You should not buy one just for the sake of it.
One that’s neither too hard nor too soft to brush out any tangles should be the best choice. This type can be used on almost any type of dog skin without introducing further problems. For the best choice, I would recommend you go for a self-cleaning slicker brush for more efficiency.
Because of the hundreds of slicker brushes on the market, you might be spoilt for choices. So, if you ever find yourself in this situation, I would suggest you choose the Hertzko Self Cleaning Brush. It is my choice because of its fine, deep penetrating bristles that are capable of grooming my dogs’ undercoat without causing scratches on her skin. Additionally, I like how it cleans itself. Just a simple click and the brush rids itself of dog hair, readying it for next time.
When dematting tangles, the best practice with either the slicker brush or the comb is to work with a small patch of hair at a time. The best practice is to start with the head area under the ears as you work the mats towards the tail. Hold the part of the matted fur closest to the skin and comb the tangles upwards. It is imperative that you do this to prevent skin damage or brush burns.
Proper comb care necessitates that once any pin is missing, twisted, crushed or pointing in the opposite direction then it should be discarded. I am not the type to blame my tools, but a damaged tool is bad for your dog’s lovely hair cuticles. Always make sure that the brush pins are smooth, polished and that they do not have rough edges.
3. Use a Dematting Rake for Hard Mats Area
A dematting rake is a hand-held tool with a row (s) of sharp bladed teeth. If used with extreme care and caution, this tool can be great at removing even the severest of mats. To use it, you simply apply it directly albeit with small strokes onto the mats and tangles.
With every stroke, the mats loosen and open up then you can use the slicker brush for a final finish. The key to a smooth dematting process is to take care not to inflict pains on the skin since the blades of this dog mat remover can easily inflict cuts on the dog’s skin, tail and ears.
The rule of thumbs is to hold the patch of mats close to the skin with your fingers so that unnecessary pulling is avoided. Once you have gently held the matted area, start the dematting process from the upper parts as you work your way through to the bottom of the hair follicles.
There are cases where the mats are too severe, with a thick undercoat under the mats. In case this is the case with your dog, I would suggest that you use a dematting rake for dogs comprising of curved blades. These have a better penetrating power than the normal ones. When it comes to their usage, remember not to over rake on a single area of mats. The blades might end up cutting some hair, leaving your dog with a bald patch.
The GoPets Dematting Comb provides the best solution for a dematting rake if you ask me. It works great as a versatile tool for various dematting needs. First, it can be used as a dematting brush, then as a detangling comb and lastly as a de-shedding rake or an undercoat comb. I usually give it to friends as gifts (they later appreciate it) when they need something to sort out the mats on their furry friends.
4. Thinning Shears to the Rescue
Just in case all of the above methods don’t work in solving the matted hair problem, then you could try using blending shears as a last resort. The first step is to lift up a small area of matted tangles. Then use the blender to detangle the area underneath the held hair.
When using the shears, tilt its blade from the skin so that you don’t accidentally sprain the skin. Afterward, make a number of cuts through the tangled patch of hair or alternatively cut behind the mats, closest to the skin.
You can then brush the blended area so that it doesn’t look like a whole patch of hair was chopped from it. One thing I love about blenders is the manner in which they make the hair appear natural. They also have the ability to get rid of any choppy marks left behind.
The key to a neater looking blended matted hair is to use the blender in a vertical position. Otherwise, the hair will not blend in with one another that quite well. Rather than chopping down the matted hair with shears, you should blend the whole body for a more natural look.
A fuller, dematted coat results in the process. With blenders, you can give your dog a look makeover more so the long-nosed breeds. Use the blender to eliminate the excess hair on their cheeks and ears for a more beautiful Shelty or Collie look.
Another use of blending shears could be to trim the skirts of a Spaniel. It creates a natural and soft trimming even if the dog were to be clipped. They can be used on the hocks and feet of dogs for removing any wispy hair. Basically, a blending thinner or shear will have an array of uses once you buy one.
If you are looking for a new shearing blender, then I would suggest the Pet Magasin Pet Thinning Shears. Its serrated comb teeth (28 in number) make for a great general-purpose de-matting tool.
Word of Advice
There are times when all of these techniques might fail to work for your best friend. In as much as I wouldn’t want you to find yourself in this scenario, it is sometimes inevitable. If the mats and tangles situation does not improve, then I think it would be time to consider giving your long-haired friend a complete shave.
She will not look great at first, but the problem will have been solved. After all, the hair will grow back after a while. For the best guidelines on how to shave your dog, I would suggest you check out the guide provided in this post.
Getting rid of matted hair on a long-haired dog can seem like a tiresome task, particularly if it's severe. However, with the right tool for the job, it can be a fun activity so long as you take care not to over rake on the skin or accidentally bruise the dog’s skin.
I hope these techniques and tools have in a way solved your dog’s bad hair days. If you have any comments and suggestions, kindly get in touch with me in the comments section below.