4 Ways to Get Mats out of your Dog’s Coat
It depends on the severity of matting when deciding what to do with a matted dog. Here are some options:
1. Cut it out. If it’s just one or a few mats, you can cut them out. Unless your dog is going to be in a competition, it is ok to simply cut the mat out. Pull the mat away from the skin, so you can see all the way down to the skin and slowly cut the ball of hair away, using the thick part of the scissors—not the tips. You are less likely to cut your dog if you maneuver the mat into the line of the thick part of the scissor, instead of snipping around with the tips. You may need someone to hold your dog, or rub his ears while doing, so that he doesn’t jerk away. Don’t yank on the mat while scissoring.
2. Use leave-in conditioner to brush mats out. If there are several mats, you may need to spray in a leave-in conditioner. Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 conditioner—preferably dog conditioner, but even human conditioner will work in a pinch and 1/2 water, so that it’s diluted. spray liberally on and around the mats and matted area. Gently brush the matted area, drawing mats away from the skin. The conditioner softens the hair and makes it slippery, so that ideally the matted hair will more easily untangle.
3. Brush out in the tub. If you can get your dog in the tub and get him to stay there—shampoo as you normally would—getting the dog completely sudsy and then rinsing thoroughly. Lather him up with conditioner. While he’s lathered with conditioner, gently brush through the mats. Rinse thoroughly.
4. Shave him. I know, I know. You don’t want your dog to be naked and cold. But if the mats are all over the body and thick as tennis balls and close the the skin, there is no other alternative. This would be extremely painful for the dog if attempted to be brushed out. So, take your canine clippers, preferably a #7 blade, so that it leaves a bit of hair, but sometimes it’s necessary for a #10 which will cut a little closer to the skin, and clip along the skin, under the mats. This is in fact not as easy as it sounds, but with patience and lots of loving for your dog, you will have the matted coat off. My best advice here is that if you don’t want your dog shaved down, brush him regularly so that he does not get matted. :)
Mats are uncomfortable for dogs, especially when they are around their private parts. They can create sores on the skin and because they are so closely tangled in, the sores are not getting any air in order to heal properly. They trap dirt and debris in the hair, further irritating the skin. Also, if your dog loves to swim, the mats take a longer time to dry, becoming a breeding ground for yeast, fungus, bacteria, and fleas. However, with just a little bit of work brushing every few days, you can keep your pet’s coat very manageable!