Matted Dog Hair Detangling, Removal, Cutting and Remedies

Matted dog hair before and after

Matted hair is not only uncomfortable for your dog; it also inflates the grooming costs and reflects badly on you, the pet owner. To help avoid this in the future and deal with matted dog hair as soon as you notice it, we discuss how to detangle, remove and cut matted hair. You will also learn the dangers you subject your pet to by allowing their hair to mat as well as how to prevent the same.

Matted Dog Hair

Matted hair is a condition resulting from the formation of tangled knots on the coat of your pet. This is most common in dogs and cats with long coats. While a long silky coat grants your pooch some aesthetic appeal, it could also be a challenge to the owner and a health risk to the dog where the pet’s grooming is wanting.

While all dogs need to be brushed regularly, dogs with long coats that are continuing to grow need grooming even more. Short hair coat dogs can get away with an occasional brushing but dogs with long coats may require more frequent brushing. When there are inadequate grooming and neglect on your dog’s coat, tangling and matting will result.

How Mats Form

In most cases, dog owners with short-haired dog breeds struggle with getting rid of dog hair from their furniture. This is because their shedding hair easily falls off. This, though, is not the case in long-haired breeds. When they shed, the hair goes into the coat and when it accumulates small mats are formed. With increased shedding and no proper grooming, the mats grow larger and get closer to the skin.

Breeds and Areas Most Vulnerable to Matting

This problem is prevalent in dogs that have long hair. Any dog with a long coat is predisposed to matting despite their different coat structure. This includes Shih Tzus which have a dense outer coat and a soft inner coat, Maltese and Yorkies which have a single coat that mats easily as well as poodles which have a curly coat.

In addition, long-haired dogs that get wet frequently will develop knots if their coat is not well taken care of after that. Dogs that sit a lot and which tend to be left or right hipped while sitting will have mats forming on areas where the fur is compacted most.

Matted hair is most common in areas of friction. It is therefore common to notice matted dog hair behind the ears, under the collar, on the lower legs, and in the armpits. The area around the anus is easily neglected. As a result, it has a high likelihood of developing mats. Long hair between the back and the front pads may clump up in between the paws.

Effects of Matted Dog Hair

When a dog experiences mats on their coat, they not only lose their aesthetic appeal by having a disheveled look but add to a dog’s distress. Matting can result in skin irritation which may be evidenced by a dog regularly biting on its skin or when it keeps scratching. While these may offer a temporary relief, they result in worsening of the problem since the hair tangles more making the mats to increase in size.

Matted Dog Hair Removal – How to Detangle Matted Dog Hair

Matted dog hair removal takes some efforts. Follow the following steps and get your dog’s coat back to a healthy look.

1.      Make your Dog Comfortable

The process of detangling matted dog hair might be uncomfortable for your dog. Their skin is also sensitive and the pulling could stress them. Your dog, therefore, needs to be calm before you begin the process to be successful. Pet him and talk to him while making him lie down.

2.      Apply a Matted Dog Hair Detangler

A dog should never have their hair worked on while dry as this could make the process painful. To help loosen up the mats and make it easy to brush them out, spritz a detangling spray on your dog. Leave it on the coat for a few minutes.

3.      Locate the Mats

Where the mats are not severe, they could be hidden deep in the inner coat. To locate them, use a slicker brush. This has wire bristles with ends slightly bent. Use it to brush through the hair and locate where it doesn’t go through so you can pay more attention to the areas.

4.      Work on the Mats

If handled recklessly, matted dog hair removal process may end up hurting your dog as a result of excess pulling or giving it a skin brush burn where the brush comes into contact with the skin. To avoid this, hold the mat into your hand at the point closest to the dog’s skin.

Using your fingers, untangle the mat gently a small section at a time. If need be, rub some cornstarch into the mat or spray some coconut oil into it to aid in the loosening up of the hair. These two are well-known home remedies for matted dog hair. Although working through the matted hair with the hands helps, do not be tempted to pull the mat off using your hands. This could injure your dog.

If these do not help, you can try picking at the mat using a sharp object such as a crochet hook. Remember to be extra gentle and careful not to hurt the dog.

5.      Comb through the Hair

After you have worked on the mats to your level best and it has loosened up, use a dematting comb to run through the mat starting from the base to the tip while still holding it as close to the skin as you can. Where the mat is still intact, start combing from the tip and work through to the base.

6.      Opt for a Mat Rake

In case after trying the fingers and a comb, the mat does not get any better, use a mat rake. This is made up of sharp teeth that can cut through badly matted dog hair.

7.      Repeat Procedure for Every Mat

For every mat identified, repeat the above procedure until all the hair is done. Once all mats have been loosened up, use a slicker brush to comb the hair in the direction it grows.

In case the above procedure does not work, you may need to cut off the knots as discussed below.

How to Cut Matted Dog Hair

In severely matted dog hair, the above procedure on how to get matted dog hair untangled 70 may not work. To help your dog, you may need to eliminate the mats by cutting. Here are various ways on how to cut matted dog hair using different tools.

8.      Mat Splitter

This has a razor sharp edge that helps in splitting the mats into smaller bits. While holding the mat splitter in one hand and the matted hair at the base, use sawing motions to cut through the hair. Be careful not to cut the dog. Once it has been split into smaller sections, you can apply the procedure discussed above on how to detangle matted dog hair and see if it works.

9.      Electric Clippers

Clippers can be used to shave off the matted hair in dogs. Where it is only used on the affected parts, bare patches will be observed. While using the clippers, do not cut too close to the skin as you could end up harming your dog.

10.  Grooming Expert

In some cases, your dog may be too stubborn and fail to cooperate. In situations of severe neglect resulting in excessively matted dog hair, it may be hard to deal with it at home as well. In such situations, it is best to visit a professional groomer. Using their expertise, they will know how best to deal with the mats.

Caution: While scissors and other matted hair removal tools may be recommended for use in the process, they should only be used by pet owners with experience with them as they could seriously injure your dog. If the thought of using any tool makes you uncomfortable or uncertain, let a professional deal with the matting.

Matted Dog Hair Remedy – Home Remedies for Matted Dog Hair

To make the process of removal easy, you can use the following matted dog hair remedies easily available at home.

Baby Oil

Some pet owners swear by this remedy to help in eliminating matted dog hair. While it may be a bit messy, it is readily available. Simply apply a small amount of the oil on the mat and work it in. the clumps should start coming off within a short while.

Coconut or Olive Oil

These are less messy than the baby oil since they are available as spray removal products. Spray each mat before embarking on the detangling process to make the process less laborious. They also come with the advantage of being harmless even when your pet decides to lick it off.

Matted Dog Hair Painful Infection and Sores

Allowing matted hair to develop on your dog can make brushing extremely painful. This is because, during the process, hair gets pulled out of the skin which could also cause sores to break up. With sores on the skin, painful infections are likely to erupt too.

Additionally, matting cuts off regular circulation of air. With the absence of fresh air, the skin is likely to turn red or pink. The sores could also develop a foul odor. Also hidden from the view of the human eye will be organic matter such as sticks, weeds, and others which can easily get embedded into the skin. These keep the painful cycle of infections and sores resulting from matted dog hair going.

To prevent the matting from getting to a point of causing pain and infections on your dog, deal with the tangling as soon as you notice it.

Dangers of Severely Matted Dog Hair

While matted dog hair may seem like a minor problem, if left unattended it could have a negative effect on your pet’s health. Some of the consequences associated with severe matting include:

Nasty things getting trapped in the hair. These include moisture, fleas, bacteria, and bugs. These are barely noticeable and will only come to the attention of a pet owner after grooming.

When the hair on the outside of the ears is let to mat into a solid mass, the blood vessels on the ear tips may burst. This results in blood pooling under the ears. Once the hair is shaven, the removal of the tightly bound hair allows for the blood to seep through the ear flaps. This does not mean the groomer has cut off the ears but shows the extent of damage the matting has caused.

Matted Dog Hair Prevention Tips

To avoid matted dog hair:

  • Brush and comb your dog’s coat before a bath as failure to do so will make any slightly knotted hair worse.
  • Ensure your dog gets brushed thoroughly at least a week.
  • A brush only offers superficial grooming. Use a metal comb to reach the roots where knots are most likely to form.
  • Pat your dog dry as opposed to rubbing them dry after a bath.


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