Top Tips To Help Save A Matted Dog Coat

Whether you’re a professional groomer or you’re caring for your dog’s coat at home, there’s nothing worse than feeling their coat and discovering a whole load of mats. Mats can cause so many problems for your dog, from skin irritation to stress and discomfort and can result in their entire coat needing to be shaved. At Groomers, we want to keep your dog looking and feeling their best, so we’ve pulled together our top tips to hopefully prevent your dog’s coat getting matted.

matted dog

Table of contents:

Can matted dog hair be saved?

Dogs with long fine hair or a thick undercoat are the most susceptible to matting if their coats aren’t regularly groomed. A good grooming routine and the correct products and tools can prevent these mats from occurring or worsening.

The best way to avoid ending up with a matted dog is to introduce a grooming routine into your dog’s life from an early age. A preventative grooming regime not only gets your dog used to the practice both at home and in the grooming salon, but it also helps to keep those nasty mats at bay. 

If you notice mats in your dog’s coat, it’s best to try and remove them before they get bigger. Here are our top tips to saving your dog’s matted hair;-

1 Start with treats

To avoid stressing your dog, spend time reassuring them before you jump in and start removing mats and pulling at their hair. Tangled hair can be painful for them, so take time and care whilst grooming and always have some treats to hand to reward them for their excellent behaviour.

2 Have your essential tools to hand

The tools required to remove mats from your dog’s coat will depend on how severely matted it is. To make sure you have all of the essential tools and products in place, we’d recommend the following:

  • A mat breaker or de-matter for cutting through really stubborn mats. When using this tool, take care not to nick the skin and always seek professional advice if in doubt.
  • A slicker brush and a comb for grooming through tangles.
  • A good detangler spray to work through mats
  • A good shampoo and conditioner (for bathing after the mats have been dealt with)

3 Start by locating any tangles

Using a slicker brush, work through the main coat areas prone to tangling, such as the ears, below the neck, under the belly, and the back of the legs, to eliminate easy tangles and identify the most problematic mats.

4 Apply your detangle spray to the problem areas

Spray detangling spray on the matted areas and rub it into each mat in turn. Using your fingers, gently work through each mat individually by easing the hair apart, a little at a time. If your dog feels any discomfort, reassure him and move on to a different area so as not to put too much pressure on the same place. Remember to reward your dog for its excellent behaviour.

If you struggle to separate a mat with your fingers, use your de-matter to split it, cutting in the same direction as the hair growth. Take care when working near the dog’s skin, as creating an opening wound can cause infection and further skin irritation for your dog. If in doubt, consult your groomer.

5 Once the mat is split or removed, finish with your slicker brush and comb

Once you’ve removed as many of the mats as possible, separate any remaining tangles with your slicker brush then go over the coat with your comb. Never apply water directly to a mat, as this can force the hair to pull tighter, making it more difficult to separate.

6 Once all mats are removed, bathe your dog

Now their fur is tangle-free, bathe your dog with a gentle shampoo to clean and soothe their skin. Follow with a good detangling conditioner once the shampoo is rinsed off to prevent further problems from occurring. When blow-drying, blast the coat and pull any moulting hair away from the skin using your slicker brush.

7 When your dog is dry, finish with a spritz of detangler spray 

Matting is often caused in friction areas such as under the armpits and behind the ears. Once your dog’s hair is completely dry, apply some detangling spray to these problematic areas to prevent other mats from forming then brush through. 

What do you do for a severely matted dog?

matted dog

A severely matted dog certainly won’t be a happy one. Matted coats can lead to severe skin problems and irritations for your dog, as the tightly matted hair prevents the skin from breathing and stops oxygen and moisture from passing through. Not only can this cause your dog to scratch, potentially weakening the skin, these problem areas are also a potential breeding ground for parasites. 

Ear and aural hematomas are another serious problem caused by severe matting to a dog’s ears. Mats restrict blood flow to the ears, weakening the skin. Then, when the mats are removed with clippers if removed too quickly the rush of blood to the vessels can cause the ears to split at the end of the ear leather. Severe bleeding can result in extra veterinary care and both pain and discomfort for your dog. 

 If you have a severely matted dog, it is essential to visit a professional groomer for advice immediately before further problems occur. A professional groomer will always advise the best course of action for your dog and will be able to educate you on the best ways to care for your dog’s coat to prevent severe matting from occurring again.

A groomer may suggest that your dog would benefit most from being shaved, taking the hair short, removing the mats and allowing your dog’s coat to start again, completely mat free. Shaving should not be viewed as a last resort treatment, as the process can still be arduous. Your groomer will need to spend time and take care working closely to your dog’s already weakened skin, trying to prevent any further problems occurring and any skin abrasions from happening.

After shaving, your groomer will be able to advise you on coat care for your dog and will help you to put a good routine in place to minimise the possibility of any further problems occurring. 

Does matted hair hurt dogs?

Matted hair can be problematic for your four-legged friend. Incorrect coat care can impact your dog’s health, causing irritation and skin problems, not to mention weakening the skin. During matt removal, dogs can often become stressed and uncomfortable, too, as the removal process can be long and painful for them.

The best way to avoid ending up with a matted dog is to establish a good grooming routine, using the correct products tailored to your dog’s coat. Daily brushing, identifying, and removing mats make for much happier dogs with perfect, problem-free coats.

Shop the best grooming products at Groomers

For the best grooming products and mat care for your dog, shop our extensive range of brushes and combs, de-matting tools and detangle sprays at Groomers to keep your pet’s coat in peak condition. 

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