Seriously matted fur is a dire and potentially life-threatening issue affecting dogs that have been through severe neglect.
We’ve all seen before and after shots like this.
Although that is an extreme case of matted fur, even smaller mats, which sometimes go unnoticed, can cause your dog a lot of discomfort. Hugely impacting her quality of life.
How to check if your dog’s fur is matted
One of the easiest ways to locate matted fur is to gently run a comb or pin brush through your dog’s fur from the skin to the tips of the outer coat. It the comb gets stuck and you’re unable to move it through, the fur is matted.
Remember to check under the belly and shoulders as well as in between the paws, these areas can be prone to matting and are often overlooked.
Why is my dog’s hair matted?
As dogs shed their fur, if not properly brushed away, the dead fur can become tangled and build-up. Before you know it you have matted fur.
How to remove mats
First try to assess the severity of the problem area by finding the base, gently brush the loose outer hairs out of the way and find where the fur is most knotted.
For small loose knots, you may use your fingers to gently pull and try to untangle the fur enough to comb through it. This may be easier if you first work in some conditioner.
With tighter knots, your best bet is to use a pinhead brush with plastic tips to work around the matted area just ‘picking’ the mat apart from the base. You only want to use the tip of the brush to catch, not going too deep or trying to pull the whole brush through.
You may need to use a dematting comb or have to cut out the fur if it’s badly matted.
Cutting matted hair out
To do this find the base of the knot, while holding it between your fingers use your free hand to cut through the knot as close to the skin as you can with the tip of the scissors. Be sure to keep the scissors parallel to the skin or pointing slightly up and away, not towards your dog.
If you’re dealing with a particularly large matted area repeat the above cutting method in small sections, don’t try to take the whole thing in one section, follow this with a steel comb through.
In extreme cases of badly matted fur, you may have no choice but to shave out the section with a clipper, but this should only be done as a last resort.
Check out this heartfelt before and after video of a Shih Tzu with serious matting problems being shaved down
How to prevent matted fur
Frequent brushing, keeping the coat clean and not letting it grow too long between grooming sessions is the best way to prevent matted fur.