How To Get Mats Out Of Dog Hair: Your Dog’s Hair Care Guide

How To Get Mats Out Of Dog Hair

Dealing with mats in your dog’s hair can be challenging and frustrating, but it’s a crucial aspect of responsible pet care. Mats not only make your furry friend uncomfortable but can also pose health risks if left unaddressed. Whether you’re a seasoned pet owner or a new dog parent, learning to get mats out of your dog’s hair is a valuable skill to ensure your canine companion’s well-being and happiness. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step, providing expert tips and techniques to make the task as easy and stress-free as possible. Your dog’s comfort and health are worth the effort, so let’s dive into the world of mat removal together.

What Are Mats, And How Do They Form In Dog Hair?

Mats in a dog’s hair are stubborn, tangled clumps of fur that have become tightly interwoven and difficult to untangle or comb through. They can vary in size and severity, from small, localized tangles to larger, more extensive clusters that cover a significant portion of a dog’s coat. Mats are not only a cosmetic concern but also a matter of your dog’s comfort and well-being. 

Here’s a more in-depth look at how mats form in dog hair:

Neglected Grooming: One of the most common reasons for mat formation is a lack of proper grooming. When a dog’s coat is not regularly brushed or combed, loose hairs and shed fur accumulate and become entangled. Over time, these tangles can develop into mats. Dogs with long or dense coats are particularly susceptible to this issue.

Long And Thick Coats: Breeds with long, thick, or double coats, such as Afghan Hounds, Maltese, and Old English Sheepdogs, are more prone to matting. Their abundant fur effortlessly intertwines, making them susceptible to mats if not groomed frequently and thoroughly.

Moisture And Dirt: Exposure to moisture, mud, or dirt can make a dog’s fur more prone to matting. When wet fur dries without proper brushing or combing, it can form mats as the individual hairs stick together. Dogs that enjoy water activities or play in muddy areas may experience this issue more frequently.

Friction And Movement: Active dogs that run through the underbrush, roll around, or engage in vigorous play can experience mats due to the friction and movement of their fur. These mats can form where the fur rubs against itself or other surfaces.

Natural Shedding: Dogs undergo shedding cycles, losing old fur for new growth. Loose hairs from shedding can entangle the remaining fur, leading to mats as new hair grows. Breeds that shed heavily, like Huskies and German Shepherds, may be more susceptible.

Health Issues: Some underlying health conditions can contribute to mat formation. For example, dogs with skin allergies or itching may scratch and bite at their fur, leading to mats. It’s essential to address any health issues promptly to prevent matting from recurring.

The Tools And Supplies Needed To Get Mats Out Of Dog Hair

To effectively remove mats from your dog’s hair, you’ll need essential grooming tools and supplies. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Dog Brush: The right dog brush is paramount for successful mat removal. The choice of brush should align with your dog’s specific coat type. For long-haired breeds like Shih Tzus or Maltese, consider using a slicker brush or a pin brush, as they can penetrate deep into the dense coat to remove mats. Conversely, short-haired breeds may benefit from a bristle brush. Quality is key here; investing in a high-quality brush with sturdy bristles or pins will not only be more effective but also last longer, saving you money in the long run.
  • Detangling Spray Or Conditioner: Detangling sprays or conditioners are a valuable ally in the battle against mats. These specially formulated products are designed to soften and loosen mats and tangles in your dog’s fur. By applying a detangling spray or conditioner to the mat and allowing it to sit for a few minutes, you can significantly improve your ability to comb or brush through the mat without causing discomfort or harm to your dog’s coat.
  • Comb: A suitable comb is an indispensable tool for mat removal. Look for a wide-toothed comb with rounded teeth, preferably crafted from metal. Metal combs are not only durable but also highly effective at untangling mats without bending or breaking. When selecting a comb, ensure it is appropriate for your dog’s breed, size, and coat length.
  • Scissors: Rounded-tip scissors, specifically designed for pet grooming, are a crucial addition to your toolkit. These scissors feature blunted tips to prevent accidental injuries while cutting mats. It’s imperative to keep your grooming scissors sharp and well-maintained to prevent hair pulling and discomfort during the mat removal process.

The Step-By-Step Guide To Removing Mats

Here’s a step-by-step guide to removing mats from your dog’s hair:

Step 1: Create a calm and comfortable environment for your dog. Choose a well-lit and quiet space for grooming. Ensure that your dog is relaxed. Use gentle strokes and soothing words to reassure them. If your dog has severe matting or is prone to anxiety during grooming, consider seeking professional assistance.

Step 2: Carefully examine your dog’s coat to identify the mats and their locations. Note the size and tightness of the mats. Assess whether the mats are superficial and can be easily brushed out or if they are deeply tangled and require cutting or splitting.

Step 3: Start by gently brushing your dog’s coat with a dog brush, starting from the tips of the fur and working toward the skin. Use short, gentle strokes to avoid causing discomfort to your dog. If you encounter resistance, stop and work on that area more slowly. Apply detangling spray or conditioner to mats as you encounter them. Allow the product to sit for a few minutes to soften the mats.

Step 4:  Use a wide-toothed comb to comb through the mats carefully. Start at the outer edge of the mat and work your way inward. Hold the hair above the mat close to the skin to minimize pulling on the skin. Be patient and gentle, using a downward motion to separate the hairs in the mat gradually. If the comb doesn’t easily pass through the mat, switch to a smaller section and work on it until the mat is fully untangled.

Step 5: For mats that cannot be combed or brushed out, use rounded-tip scissors to cut them out carefully. Ensure you see the skin beneath the mat to avoid cutting your dog. Cut the mat into smaller sections and work slowly to avoid accidental injury.

Step 6: After successfully removing the mats, continue brushing and grooming your dog regularly to prevent future matting. Establish a grooming routine that matches your dog’s coat type and needs. This will help maintain a healthy and mat-free coat.

Step 7: If you encounter extensive mats, too tightly woven or too close to the skin, or if your dog becomes too distressed during the grooming process, consider seeking assistance from a professional groomer or veterinarian. Professional groomers have the expertise and tools to handle severe matting safely and effectively.

Step 8: Throughout the process, offer treats and positive reinforcement to reward your dog for good behavior and cooperation during grooming. This will make the experience more pleasant for your furry friend.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When You Removing Mats From Dog Hair

When removing mats from your dog’s hair, you must be aware of common mistakes that can harm your dog or make the grooming process less effective. Avoiding these mistakes will help ensure a safer and more comfortable experience for you and your furry friend. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

Rushing The Process: 

One of the most significant mistakes is rushing through mat removal. Removing mats too quickly can cause discomfort, pain, or even injury to your dog. Take your time and proceed patiently, working on a tiny section at a time.

Pulling Or Tugging On Mats: 

Pulling or tugging forcefully on mats can be painful for your dog and may cause them to become anxious or resist grooming. Always use gentle, downward motions when working through mats to minimize discomfort.

Using Inappropriate Tools: 

Using the right tools for mat removal can lead to effective or beneficial grooming. Make sure you have the correct brushes, combs, and scissors for your dog’s coat type, and avoid using tools that are not designed for pet grooming.

Neglecting Regular Maintenance: 

Regular grooming and maintenance can help prevent mats from forming in the first place. Neglecting your dog’s coat can lead to more severe matting issues. Establish a grooming routine that suits your dog’s needs and stick to it.

Ignoring Signs Of Discomfort: 

Pay attention to your dog’s body language and vocalizations during the grooming process. If your dog appears uncomfortable, stressed, or in pain, take a break and assess the situation. Pushing through when your dog is distressed can lead to negative associations with grooming.

Cutting Too Close To The Skin: 

When using scissors to cut out mats, be extremely cautious not to cut too close. The skin underneath mats can be sensitive, and accidental cuts can lead to injuries or infections.

Neglecting Professional Help:

If mats are extensive, tightly woven, or too close to the skin, it’s best to seek professional assistance from a groomer or veterinarian. Handling severe matting alone can be risky and potentially harm your dog.

Not Using Detangling Products: 

Detangling sprays or conditioners can make the mat removal process significantly more accessible and less uncomfortable for your dog. Skipping the use of these products can result in unnecessary tugging and discomfort.

Final Thoughts

Removing mats from your dog’s hair is a crucial aspect of responsible pet grooming. It involves careful attention, patience, and the use of appropriate tools to ensure your dog’s comfort and well-being. By taking the time to address mats in your dog’s coat, you not only enhance their overall health but also strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion. Approach the task carefully, prioritize gentle techniques, and establish a regular grooming routine to prevent future matting issues. This ensures your dog enjoys a happy and comfortable life with a well-maintained coat.


Is Matted Fur Painful For Dogs?

Yes, matted fur can be painful for dogs. Mats can pull on the skin, causing discomfort and even irritation or sores. It’s essential to address mats promptly to prevent discomfort or pain for your canine companion.

Is It OK to Wash A Matted Dog?

No, it’s not advisable to wash a matted dog. Washing can worsen the mats and make them more challenging to remove, potentially causing discomfort to your dog. Address mats before giving your dog a bath for a better grooming experience.

Can I Use Coconut Oil On My Dog?

Yes, you can use coconut oil on your dog.

Can You Use A Human Hair Conditioner On A Dog?

Using a human hair conditioner on a dog is not recommended.

Douglas Underwood

Douglas Underwood is a freelance news writer who specializes in writing about current events and politics. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and has been working as a journalist for the past five years. He is an avid reader and loves spending his free time exploring new places.