How to Get Mats out of Your Animals’ Fur

Sheep Dog with Matted Fur in his Eyes

Mats in fur are an issue that many dogs face, especially shaggy ones. They’re inevitable, and so an owner’s 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 I will provide a step-by step guide as to what are the best tools, equipments, and strategies you can use to get rid of those pesky mats.

Common Matted Areas:

Common places dogs get matted in are on their legs, behind their ears and on their pads and because those areas are exposed to so much movement that fur tangling can be a hazard.

Dog with Matted Fur


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 safe to err on the safe side.

Tools you might need include brushes, combs and shampoos. Particular types of brushes you might need are the slicker brush. The slicker brush can be used to locate the mats. Good brands of slicker brushes include the Andis Premium and the Wahl Deshed and Detangle Pet Grooming Slicker Brush

In addition to brushes, combs can come in handy, particularly Stainless Steel Combs like the Geib Greyhound.

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.

Matted Fur from a Cat's Coat

The Procedure, Itself:

1. Calm your dog down. A non-compliant dog can make the removal of mats more frustrating and more dangerous than it needs to be.

2. Locate exactly where the mat is on the dog’s body, and if there are any more.

3. 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.

4. Then, you can brush your dog, using this activity to simply find out where more mats where be hidden on his or her body.

5. 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.

6. 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 solve the problem of the mat, 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, and who can blame them, besides the dog who might be offended by a sudden bald spot on their flank?

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.

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.Much more risky would be to try to remove the mat with scissors.

Like I alluded to before, matting can cause harm to the skin, so trying remove matting can also cause harm to the skin. It just takes one wrong snip to draw blood, and then your dog will be once bitten twice shy, as they say. Best take him or her to the groomer.

Bonus: These tips can also be used for your long-haired feline friends.

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