Want to know exactly what grooming tools you need to break up your dog's matted fur? Below are the essential items you'll need.
Where to Get It
Relaxing and loosening up mats
General all around brushing
Dog Dematting Comb
Breaking up mats
Cuts big mats into smaller chunks
Continue reading below to learn more about how dog mats occur, why these tools are necessary, and see our exact step by step process for breaking up a dog's matted fur with the items listed above.
Some dogs lead quite the active lifestyle, rolling in the grass, digging up dirt, and frolicking as only our furry four-legged friends can. For dogs with long, thick, or curly hair, all this activity can result in fur rubbing together and getting tangled, leaving your dog with mats.
Matting is especially problematic during seasonal shedding times, as dogs with long hair can end up having their dead fur mix and tangle with their new fur.
The best solution to mats is prevention - brushing your dog regularly (with generous use of a conditioning and detangling spray) will go a long way to stopping knotted fur from forming. During shedding seasons, you may need to brush your long-haired dog every day or even multiple times a day!
Messy hair doesn't seem like anything to get too anxious about, but leaving mats to run wild can be quite dangerous for dogs.
For one, severe mats that have been left untreated for a long time can be extremely painful for your pooch when it finally comes time to remove them.
Extreme matting can even cut out blood supply and prevent air circulation around your dog's skin. All this can result in red, sore skin for your pooch - in some cases, open sores can even develop.
In short, mats really cannot be ignored.
For most basic dog fur knots and mats, you should be able to work them out at home with a few tools.
Removing mats from your dog's hair will require:
We'll describe step by step below the process for removing mats and knots from your pooch's fur.
Start your dematting session by first locating where your dog's mats are. Use a slicker brush to lightly brush all over your dog's fur, taking note of any matted, clumpy sections of fur.
Dog fur mats are commonly found:
Don't forget that these areas are very delicate, so be extra gentle when combing this area!
When you find a mat, brush the top layer of the fur that is not clumped against your dog's skin with the slicker brush. Make sure to not let the wire bristles touch your pup's skin, as it may hurt them.
For some small knots, the slicker brush may be able to work them out. However, bigger mats will require a dog dematting comb, which we'll discuss in detail below.
Applying a detangling product before working at your dog's mats will make the entire process go much smoother - literally!
Detanglers work to break up your pooch's knotted fur and loosen matted fur clumps. Your dematting comb will be able to work through the mats much easier after detangler is applied.
Before you go at the mat with a dematting comb, you'll want to start out by breaking up the mats manually with your fingers.
Hold the mat in your hand and pick it apart using your fingers to gently pull apart the clump. If you're having a tough time, add more detangler and continue to work apart the mat.
Finally it's time to whip out the big guns and use a dog dematting comb!
Dog dematting combs are specifically designed to break up stubborn mats through the use of a long, metal rake.
When selecting a dog dematting comb, you'll want a comb with durable, solid materials. You'll also need a comfortable handle since you'll be gripping the comb for quite some time.
We of course can't help but recommend our own dog dematting comb, made with tough steel and a great grip that even includes a thumb shelf for added leverage.
Our set also includes a dog massage brush that is especially handy for anxious dogs. The gentle glove brush uses small rubber nubs to provide your pup with a relaxing massage. S
Starting off your grooming sessions right is essential to making the experience positive for your pooch, which is why we always recommend beginning with a quick glove brush massage. Plus, it's great for bonding!
Even when using a dematting comb, you will want to be gentle. Make sure to tease out the knots rather than simply tugging (which will hurt your dog and irritate them to no end).
Instead of yanking the comb through, you want to lift the comb in and out of the fur. Also make sure to at least sometimes use a motion that moves the comb from the end of the hair towards the skin, as this won't yank your dog's fur as roughly.
If you're dealing with an especially large mat, enlist the help of a mat splitter. Mat splitters can be used to cut the large mat into several smaller mats, which should then be able to be combed through more easily with your steel-toothed dematting comb.
When working out a mat, always hold the mat in your hand, placing your hand between the dog's fur and skin so as to keep your dog's skin soft, sensitive safe and protected from the comb's pins.
This video from Jun the Groomer shows just what we mean:
It's important to note that combing out your dog's mats is always preferable to cutting them out with scissors.
While cutting out mats may be the only option extreme cases, it should always be a last resort. Cutting away a mat can leave your dog with an awkward hairdo. However, even worse, cutting away the mats can expose your dog's vulnerable skin and can result in dry, itchy skin issues.
Meg Marrs is the Founder and Senior Editor at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!