Owners of long-haired dogs can agree that their pup’s supple, flowing coats are somewhat of a marvel, but when they become matted, it can be a nightmare for both them and their dog. Matting generally occurs from a lack of brushing, says Valeria Lopez with the spcaLA Grooming Salon. “It is important to use a dog brush with bristles that penetrates the coat down to the skin,” she says. “Both cats and dogs can become matted, and the matting is caused in the same way.”
If you’ve already noticed mats in your pet’s coat, keep in mind that they should be dealt with immediately, since they could become dangerous if left alone. “Brushing your pet’s coat keeps your pet healthy and comfortable,” says Lopez. If left untreated, “Mats can cause bruising when they get too tight, which can be painful for the pet,” she adds. Mats could also be hiding additional health issues—like fleas and skin conditions—so removing them should be a priority.
To get rid of mats at home, Lopez suggests the following:
1. Get the right tools. For long hair, she suggests a slicker brush and metal comb. “The comb will help the owner find the hidden mats below the top layer of the coat,” she says. “If only tangles are found in the coat, a detangling conditioner can be used before brushing the coat, but remember that detangling conditioners do not break apart mats.”
2. Avoid big mat removal no-nos. Besides securing the proper tools, Lopez warns parents to never use scissors to cut out the mats, since they could puncture the skin and lead to further damage. She also suggests that parents skip a bath before attempting any de-matting. “Doing so just risks making the mats tighter,” she says.
3. Follow the correct procedure. To appropriately remove mats, begin by brushing at the neck and end of the tail. “Break mats apart by combing the top of the mat, and then work through toward the pet’s skin,” says Lopez. “If the mat is too close to the pet’s skin, a groomer or veterinarian will need to shave the mat out of the coat.”
For smaller mats, you should be able to remove them at home. However, sometimes mats are too tight or there are too many, in which case it would be best to seek professional help. “If de-matting the pet’s coat takes more than 30 minutes, the matting is excessive, or if the mats are too close to the skin, seek the help of a professional,” suggests Lopez.
Remember that the best way to avoid having to deal with mats in the future is to keep your pet properly groomed. Try the FURminator Long Hair deShedding Edge to push through your pet’s top coat to easily and gently remove the undercoat and loose hair without cutting or damaging your dog’s skin. Remember to also bathe your pet regularly. PetAg Fresh ‘N Clean Scented dog shampoo is a natural, soap-free, plant-based cleanser that effectively washes away dirt and grime on your pet. If you love the smell of a clean dog, this shampoo has a fresh scent that can linger on your dog’s coat for up to 2 weeks. Pair this with a shampoo brush like the KONG ZoomGroom to remove loose hair, stimulate the capillaries for healthy skin, and encourage natural oil production.