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Managing the Tangle: Mat Removal

Posted by Awesome Doggies

Mats Happen!

Dog-With-Matted-CoatIf you have a dog or cat with medium to long hair, your pet is likely to experience mats in their coat at some point in their life. Mats occur because there are microscopic scales on the surface of each hair, and these act like sharp barbs, causing the fur to tangle. When fur tangles, the hairs that are sticking together hold dirty water, bacteria and debris, fail to shed normally, and form a hard mass. Air can't circulate normally under mats, so it's not uncommon to see sores or irritated skin revealed once the mats are removed. Even small mats can be a big problem.

It's important  to remove matted fur because it pulls on your pet's tender skin and causes discomfort. Remember when you were a little girl and your mom yanked and pulled your hair as she combed it? Yee-ouch! Yeah, it's kinda like that.

Removing mats is not easy or comfortable for your pet. It can be a challenge even with the most compliant and good natured of animals. Mat removal will cause your pet some pain and discomfort, even when done carefully.

Here are our best tips for de-matting your pet:

  1. Brushes-For-De-Matting-Pet-Hair

    Avoid the necessity! Keep your pet's coat in good condition. The best way to avoid mats is through regular brushing and/or regular appointments with a professional groomer. Your groomer uses professional grade products designed specifically for your pet's fur, and may also be able to recommend a haircut that requires less brushing in between grooming appointments.

  2. Assemble your supplies.To conquer the snarled mess, you'll need proper tools and supplies including conditioning spray, mat comb, mat splitter, sharp scissors, pin brush, and slicker brush. 

  3. Hold the mat in your hand at the base. You will want to hold the mat firmly to prevent pulling when you use the comb or other tools.

  4. Spray the area with the conditioning spray, working it into the mat as much as possible. 

  5. Use a mat splitter to break the mat into several smaller more manageable parts. 

  6. Dog-Hair-After-Being-Brushed

    Comb or brush the mat, one section at a time using a mat comb or slicker brush. Work from the ends of the fur up, working out the tangle. Be sure to hold the mat firmly so your pet's skin does not get pulled or irritated. 

  7. Use a pin brush to brush the pet's fur once the major tangles have been removed. This will remove any smaller remaining tangles.

  8. Finally, comb the area with a metal comb, first wide toothed, then with the small tooth side. This will help  detect any small mats or tangles that remain.

In some cases it might  be necessary to cut through stubborn knots, or remove part of the matted fur by cutting it out. Use extreme caution when cutting out mats not to accidentally slice your pets skin or your own fingers. We don't recommend trying this at home.

In cases where mats are severe, it may not be practical or humane to work out the mats using the method described above. As professional groomers, there are times we have to call a halt to the de-matting process, and recommend a "smoothie" --  shaving off the matted hair all over your dog's body. Although your pet will look different for a time after getting their buzz cut, they'll feel much better.

Dog-With-BrushHere are some other websites on matting and what you can do about it:

Matted Hair Is Dangerous For Your Pet! l Best In Show Grooming Salon

8 Steps To Untangle Matted Dog Hair l Cowboy Magic

How to Remove Mats from Your Dog's Coat l Andrea Arden Dog Training

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