Dogs with long coats are likely to develop mats in their fur, however, there are some breeds that are more prone to matting in comparison to others. Matted patches are created when the fur gets tangled and begins to wrap around itself. If you have noticed that your dog has matted fur, there are several steps that you can take to untangle and dematt these clumps.
First, you will need to ensure that you have all of the necessary grooming tools to hand. You will require a detangling brush, such as a slicker brush. This type of brush will be effective in locating and getting rid of the knotted sections. Depending on the severity of the knots you may require grooming clippers and a detangling product.
Once you have all of your tools assembled, you will need to get your dog in a comfortable position ensuring that they are not overwhelmed or scared as this will make the task much more difficult. Then you will need to find the matted patches.
Massage the knot with your fingers as this will encourage it to loosen. When inspecting your dog’s coat be sure to pay close attention to their ears, the back of their legs, and the sections below their belly and necks because these areas are prone to matting.
Now you can brush through your dog’s coat using a slicker brush or a detangling comb. Depending on how bad the mats are you may need to use a combination of both. You can then apply a detangling product until your dog’s coat feels slightly damp. This step isn’t a necessity but it will make it easier to combat tougher matted patches.
When you are confident that the majority of mats have been removed you can then bathe your dog. This will give you another opportunity to double-check that all the mats have been removed. If your dog has severely matted patches, you may need to clip their fur.
You should always try to tackle these knots and mats as soon as you notice them rather than allowing them time to worsen.
How do I stop my dog’s hair from matting?
Certain dog breeds have coats that require extensive maintenance to keep them in the best condition. If this maintenance isn’t provided, their coats are going to be much more susceptible to knotting.
To prevent your dog’s hair from matting you must make sure that you cater to their grooming needs. Most dogs will need to be brushed at least once a week, however, breeds with particularly curly coats will likely need to be groomed around 2 to 3 times a week.
If you have walked your dog out in wet weather which is likely to have caused their fur to get knotty, make sure that you comb their fur through as soon as you return home to stop them from developing into more severe knots.
Upon noticing any knots in your dog’s fur you should react straight away. Ignoring them will only give them time to grow into bigger matted patches. Regularly checking your dog’s fur for any small knots before cutting them out will also reduce the amount that builds up in their coats so when the time for a thorough grooming session approaches you will have less to tackle.
It is also important to pay attention to what you feed your dog. Certain dog foods will promote a healthy coat that isn’t as likely to get matted. If you are uncertain as to which food is suitable for your dog, it is worth consulting your vet for some advice.
If you own a breed that is known to suffer from matted coats, it is worth taking them for an occasional appointment at the groomers. They will be able to groom and cut your dog’s coat so that it is matt-free and in great condition.
When not in use, you should also remove your dog’s collar. This is because many dogs are prone to developing mats around their neck. If they constantly have a collar pressing against this section of their body these mats are likely to get worse. By removing the collar, you are reducing the severity of the build-up.
You can also give your dog supplements that contain fish oil and Omega-3 fatty acids. Not only will this supplement reduce flaky skin, but it will also promote a silky and healthy coat. Again, if you are uncertain as to how many you should be giving your dog, it is worth speaking to a vet.
Ultimately, your dog depends on you to keep their hair in good condition, free of mats. If you fail to groom them regularly, then there is a greater chance that their coats will become severely matted.
Should I shave my matted dog?
If your dog’s fur is matted, you may be questioning whether you should shave it to get rid of the matts. Whilst it is possible, the need to do so will depend on several factors. Some dogs do not have a very good tolerance towards brushing and will find the whole process of being brushed rather distressing. Because of this, they may cope better if their fur is shaved.
Dogs with coats that only have a few knots and matted patches can be brushed as there isn’t necessarily a need to shave them completely if the problem can be rectified by attentive grooming.
For dogs that have severely matted coats, shaving them may be the most humane option. Otherwise, you are going to subject them to a long grooming session where each mat will need to be brushed out and for many, this will not be a very comfortable experience.
If you are uncertain as to how you should shave your dog’s matted fur and what tools you should use, you may wish to speak to a groomer who will be able to advise you on the best tools. Alternatively, if you do not feel confident to do it yourself, you may take your dog to a professional to get their coat shaved and groomed.