By John Miller via FetchFind
Mats in fur are an issue that many dogs face, especially shaggy ones. They’re inevitable, and your ability to take care of them is absolutely necessary.
Mats of fur originate when the fur gets so tangled together that it can’t be easily pulled part. This can lead to discomfort and pinching on the dog’s skin and can indicate poor hygiene (though not always).
One danger of matter fur is that it prevents oxygen and moisture from reaching that part of the skin, exposing it to illness and parasitic infection.
Here is a step-by step guide to the best tools, equipments, and strategies you can use to get rid of those pesky mats.
Common Matted Areas
Common places dogs get matted are the legs, behind their ear,s and on their paw pads. Because those areas are exposed to so much movement, that fur tangling can be a hazard.
After first identifying matting in your dog’s fur, you need to make sure you have the right equipment to deal with it. Some matting is more severe than other types, and some can be dealt with easier and without much use from products and technologies, but it’s best to err on the safe side.
In addition to brushes, combs can come in handy, particularly a stainless steel comb.
Other equipment to keep in handy are scissors and clippers (in extreme cases), a de-matting tool (such as a comb), a blow-dryer, and shampoo and conditioning spray.
- Calm your dog down. A non-compliant dog can make the removal of mats more frustrating and more dangerous than it needs to be.
- Locate exactly where the mat is on the dog’s body, and if there are any more.
- Apply detangler to the area; detanglers often come in sprays. Leave the detangling spray on the coat for a few minutes while it helps separate the dog’s strands of hair from each other.
- Then, you can brush your dog, using this activity to simply find out where more mats where be hidden on his or her body.
- Once you find the mat, you can hold it at its base, and try to untangle it with your fingers without hurting your dog. If that doesn’t work, applying cornstarch or coconut oil might assist this particular strategy.
- Using the dematting comb, comb gently, not getting too deep into the coat. If you get too deep into the fur, it can really hurt your dog.
The mat rake isn’t meant to eliminate the mat completely, but it can certainly loosen the mat in such a way that you can go back and brush the remaining hairs from clinging to each other.
When brushing, it’s important to brush before giving the dog a bath, and to never brush a dry coat.
Alternative: Cutting out the Mats
Some people prefer to not go through all of that trouble and would prefer to cut out the mats instead of painstakingly teasing them out. Other than the dog (who might not love a sudden bald spot on her flank) who cares?
The best way to remove mats this way is to go to the veterinarian, because trying to remove mats on your own can be somewhat risky, since the procedures involve clippers and scissors, and it's often hard to tell where the mat ends and skin begins.
But if you do try to do it yourself, use electric clippers, making sure to clip as far away as you can from the dog’s skin. DON'T use scissors.
Like I alluded to before, matting can cause harm to the skin, so trying remove matting can also cause harm to the skin.
When in doubt, take her to the vet or the groomer.
To prevent mats, try to brush your dog regularly, especially if she has long hair, and give her regular baths to keep her fur silky smooth.