Dealing with Dog Tangles

Image taken from

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The ordinary brushing process, as outlined above, is fine for dogs that do not have matted fur of any kind to deal with.

However, if your dog’s fur is matted then that can cause major issues.

For starters, it is likely to hurt your dog and this will make them run and hide in a convenient place whenever you pull out the brush.

As such, you have to be sure that you can go about dealing with them in the right way prior to actually getting your hands on the mats.

Getting rid of matted fur is an absolute nightmare but if you know the correct procedure then it can be much easier than you may think. If you follow the steps as outlined below then you will find the whole process a lot easier than you may think possible.

Plan Out The De-Matting Process

First of all, you need to plan the de-matting process out well depending on the size of your dog. A small dog will be fine to sit on your lap or on a cushion next to you on a sofa or on the floor if that is where you are sitting. Alternatively, you can get a large dog to lie at your feet, or again sit on the floor next to him.

Above all else, you should be comfortable and settled because your dog will mimic your behaviour. It may be that you want someone else there as well just to be on the safe side and for reassurance.

Fuss Your Dog When They Are Settled

As soon as your dog is settled, begin to fuss him or her and reassure verbally as well as with a little petting. Slowly start brushing your dog in areas that are not matted to get him or her used to the feel of the brush and the fur.

After a while, zero in on the matting and divide it into small sections as far as possible. Begin to untangle the matting with your fingers at first and then use a comb to remove any loose knots that remain on the hair. Be as gentle as possible and move on if your dog flinches at all, going back to the knots when you have untangled another area.

Use the comb to rake through an area of hair that has been completely cleared of mats because the area will be a little wiry and a little shorter as well with the knots missing. Be sure to grasp the roots if you can to limit the amount of pulling that occurs. Slowly release them as the hair starts to give a little.

Repeat this in an adjacent section until there is a larger area of hair ready for combing through.

Run your fingers through the remaining matting when it has thinned out enough to give it a little more separation that it had previously. Then use the comb to move from the roots upwards over the hair to get rid of any remaining mats when a larger section is ready.

Continue Until Your Dog is Bored or You Finish

Comb out any and all mats that you can in one session. Your dog will eventually get bored or restless and want to move. If that happens before you are done then just go back to it the next day, repeating the same performance to ensure that he or she is mat free within a couple of days.

Give treats regularly when removing tangles from the fur because this not only acts as an incentive but also reinforces it as a positive experience. As such, your dog will probably let you do it all over again.

The above will give you a very effective and efficient method of removing mats. However, there will be occasions when you cannot remove the matting with a comb and your fingers. As such, you may have to cut some of the mats out.

If this is the case then be sure that there is no other alternative. After all, cutting the fur leaves your dog’s skin vulnerable in places and this is not advisable.

Cutting Out the Matting

If you do have to cut out a little matting then use sharp scissors to do so. Carefully separate the blades and use only one to do it rather than snipping it out. Grasp the matting firmly and gently pull it up.

Slide the scissor blade into the matting and move it gently up and down to loosen the strands and remove the mat from the bottom. Never actively sip at the hair because you may actually cut your dog that way. If you use one blade then it may be possible to leave a little hair in place as well.

Separate if Possible Rather Than Removing

However, if you think that there is a chance that you will be able to save your dog’s hair and separate the matting if it were in smaller areas then use the scissors to separate it instead of removing it. You can then use the step by step guide to get rid of it manually.

Finally, when the matting has been removed, treat your dog with a huge bone or a long walk. This will reinforce the positive nature of it all and encourage your dog to look forward to the close personal attention in the future.

After all matting is gone, remind yourself never to let it get that far again and brush your dog every day. This will help to prevent it a little in the future because your dog may well be prone to it occurring. Pay particular attention to the stomach, groin, arm pits and chest to prevent really painful matting in the future.

Tips To Avoid Matting

There are certain dog grooming tips that may well help you to remove any matting a little more efficiently than would otherwise be possible. Some of the best tips around are outlined below:

Brush Before and After a Bath

You can avoid matting by brushing your dog’s coat before and after a bath in addition to applying conditioner to the coat during the bathing process. Combing the conditioner through the coat will remove any tangles and make the coat smooth at the same time.

Don’t Brush to Iron Out Knots

Never use a brush to iron out knots present in the undercoat or at the roots of the hair because it has the potential to damage the skin as well as the coat and thus cause irritation. A metal comb will work wonders on those knots and help to avoid knots in the future.

Be Careful When Petting

Always be careful during petting because rubbing the fur the wrong way can cause matting. Instead, always stroke your dog with the growth pattern instead of against it and avoid ruffling the fur.

Prevent Scratching

Anything you can do to prevent your dog from scratching should be done, and this includes regular flea treatments. Excessive scratching in a long coated dog can and will cause extensive matting to the fur. As such, this proves to be a double pain for them and takes up a lot of your time as well.

Use Metal Brushes and Combs

Finally, be sure to use metal brushes and combs when de-matting your dog’s coat because it will not bend or break like natural bristles can. Neither will it make the matting worse as natural bristles can. Metal will easily sweep through a dog’s hair and highlight any matting.