How to Detangle Your Dog's Matted Coat
Here we go again! Our shaggy dogs can get their fur in a bunch so quickly. Long-haired breeds like Doodles, Cocker Spaniels, and Shih Tzu can seem like they have a new mess of tangled hair every time you turn around. Some dog breeds are prone to matted and tangled fur that leaves us a real chore to keep them feeling soft and smooth. Tangled dog fur can have multiple causes like breed, age, weather, or play at the dog park.
Some dog breeds are impossible to keep tangle-free all of the time, but we have compiled a list of tips to help you do your very best in helping them stay glossy, sleek, and soft for longer!
Our first tip may seem obvious, but daily brushing is one of the most important things to do to keep your dog’s coat mat-free. Brushing removes snarls from their fur while spreading their natural fur oil evenly throughout their coat. For long-haired breeds, this is often a necessary step anyway to prevent excess shedding in the house.
Brushing is not actually as simple as it seems. There can be more technique to a proper brushing session than meets the eye. We encourage owners to “brush up” on their brushing knowledge by watching a few videos that will go deeper into proper methods. Many people only focus on brushing the top layer of the coat, which can lead to more matting by pushing knots and tangles closer to their skin. Studying up on how to correctly brush your specific breed can do wonders as well as buying the right tools like some of the below:
- Undercoat rakes - For dog breeds like collies and retrievers, it’s time to bring out the big guns! These breeds have long and short fur in their coats that need the de-shedding and untangling power of this brush. Undercoat rakes keep coats healthier by getting rid of loose fur and dead skin deep in the coat providing a lustrous new layer.
- Combs - Combs can get deeper into stubborn knots and mats to get them out for good. These heavier-duty combs are sturdy enough to pick out even the most tangled mess with a little patience. Make sure not to pull on their coat and cause them pain or they won’t want to sit through another session with you!
- Mat splitter - This heavy-duty tool is a no-holds-barred approach to giving your pup the tangle-free day they deserve! The tool is commonly used by professional groomers to quickly cut out any knots that can’t be picked out with a comb or other tool. The mat splitter cuts through mats without shortening the length of their fur.
- Slicker brushes - The thin wires on slicker brushes are perfect for putting a fine finish on your dog’s coat to help them stay mat-free even longer. After a bath and a thorough undercoat brushing, slicker brushes will have them sleeker than an otter, and they’ll love you for it!
Bathing & Conditioning
Bathing is another essential line of defense for your shaggy pup. Giving your dog a bath will remove the dry dirt and dust that leave friction in the fur. Friction is one of the biggest factors in tangling and knotting fur as it rubs and intertwines more easily in rough coats.
Giving your dog a bath is a perfect way to moisturize them with shampoo and conditioner, but you should never bathe them too much or run the risk of drying out their skin and coat. To take out the risk of removing their natural oil, only bathe your pup once a month. If they get dirty more often than that, make sure you are using a moisture-heavy shampoo and conditioner or none at all. Once again, a little research into giving your dog the perfect bath can go a long way!
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Your dog’s coat is an indicator of its overall health. If your dog has a shiny and very healthy-looking coat, chances are they are in fantastic health. However, if they have a dull, rough coat something may be off with their diet. To ensure your pup has a shiny, soft coat and is healthy as can be, make sure you are feeding them the highest quality treats and food. Speaking with your vet periodically about your dog’s diet is always a good idea as this can be an underlying factor in matted or tangled fur.
Related: Foods Your Dog Should Never Eat
Taking your dog to the groomer is one of the best and most obvious ways to combat stubborn matting and knots in their coat. Some breeds like poodles and Bichon Frisés are notoriously high maintenance for coat grooming needs. They will need to make frequent trips to the groomer to keep their coats short and tangle-free. Keeping a cropped coat is one of the easiest ways to prevent excess matting, but colder areas and aesthetic choices won’t always allow for this.
Make sure you listen carefully to your groomer’s advice when it comes to your breed as they may have specific advice on how to keep your pup knot-free between visits. They will be knowledgeable about breeds with double coats like huskies, rottweilers, and retrievers that won’t benefit from shaving.
Taking your dog to the groomer between appointments is a perfect opportunity for them and you to get friendlier and more comfortable with the staff. This will often remove a large amount of anxiety they feel about going, making it a much easier process for you!
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Now that you know our best tips for a tangle-free coat, today is the day to get them started on a new luscious layer of fur!
Related: How to Shampoo Your Dog