If you have ever had to deal with a big tangle in your own hair, then you know how painful, and sometimes quite difficult, it can be to remove it. Now, imagine this type of tangled mess throughout a lot of hair, like on a big, long-haired dog. Mats in dog hair is an awful thing to deal with for any owner, and it is even more awful for the dog. If tangles and mats aren’t taken care of in a timely manner, they can quickly get out of control getting much worse, and may even create health problems.
Mats can occur in any long-haired dogs, but they are even more prone to mats if they are especially outdoorsy, like to tromp through the woods, get into streams and water, roll and play in the dirt, among other activities. A few times of active playtime and you can have a well-matted canine. While some mats require the help of a professional groomer, others can be handled at home by the owner. So, how do you deal with matted dog hair? To begin, you will need a lot of patience, and the right tools, but keep reading to see what else it is going to take in order to detangle your dog’s hair.
1. Start with training – When you first get your pup, you will want to start training him to not only tolerate grooming, but learn to enjoy it. You want him to enjoy it enough that he will be willing and able to stand there for the duration of you trying to get the mats out. Training starts young, and it starts with you brushing your puppy often so that he gets used to the process. Praise your dog often while grooming him and give him treats that he loves so that he associates grooming with good things and happy things.
2. Keep a close watch on easily matted areas – These are typically behind the ears, on the legs, in your dog’s armpits and underneath (his undercarriage), as well as the area where the collar sits around his neck. Check on these areas often and brush them regularly to help prevent mats. As soon as you notice even small knots forming, brush them out before they escalate.
3. Use a detangler for mat-prevention – One way to help prevent mats is with a detangler for dogs. Spraying a detangler on your dog’s hair before active play or a swim in the lake or pool, it will help prevent hair from clumping, and make brushing his hair out much easier and smoother. Always be sure to use pet products only, not human.
4. Let the vet check if it’s been a while – In cases where the mats have gotten so bad or a dog’s hair hasn’t been taken care of in a very long time, it is always best if a veterinarian checks the dog’s skin first, before anything having to do with grooming is done. When mats get too severe, it can often cause skin irritations and possibly infections, which can be extremely painful for a dog during grooming. The skin will need to be medically treated first, if this is the case.
5. Learn the best techniques from a groomer – If you aren’t sure exactly how to brush your dog’s hair or what the best brush is to uses on your dog, you can always talk to a professional groomer to learn techniques and about the best tools for your breed of dog.
6. Remember the paws – One area that is often neglected or forgotten is the pad area of a dog’s feet. There is hair between the pads and it should be kept short. It’s best to use dog clippers on this area rather than scissors, but always take extra precaution to this sensitive area.
7. Clippers also work for the rear end of your dog – The rear end is another area that gets messy easily. Dogs sit in all kinds of things, not to mention, not all dogs are neat, clean poopers. These two situations alone can create a messy area for your dog. Keep a close watch on this area and spend a little time grooming it on a regular basis to help keep your dog’s furry butt clean and tidy.
8. Feed him a good diet – Not all dog owners are aware that a dog’s diet actually plays a role in his hair’s health. Feeding your dog a healthy diet that’s rich in omega-3 or fish oil can help keep his coat shiny, smooth, and less apt to tangle easily. You can also give your dog supplements if your vet thinks he would benefit from them. Talk to your vet about your dog’s diet and see what you can do different to ensure a healthier life, and coat.