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Grooming Tips: How to Groom a Dog With Matted Hair

If your lovable dog likes to get messy, you might enjoy the ruff-and-tuff personality, but when it comes to their fur, rough and tough are the last words you would want to hear.  Although it’s not their fault, trying to deal with matted or tangled hair on your own or without these tips can actually bring them pain. Before you tackle the tangled up fur, there are a few things you can do to prevent the matting from happening in the first place. 

Prevention is Key:

Even though the groomers might not be your dog’s most favorite place to go, just like taking a child to the dentist, it’s important that you at least take your pup to a professional groomer to try and prevent that matted dog hair from happening in the first place.  If you’re elderly and getting to the groomers isn’t possible, there are some handy grooming tips here.

The Bottom Line: When it comes to preventing matted hair—brushing, bathing, and maintaining a grooming schedule is key.

We would recommend a professional grooming every six to eight weeks! This can help keep matted hair at bay. Having your pet groomed regularly can also help keep your yard and pet pest free. 

Whether it’s a simple brush through every day while your pup is still young or giving them treats and praise during bath time can always help with positive reinforcement to create a calm environment. This can make de-matting hair less of a chore for you. 

Related: Breeds of Dogs With Floppy Ears

During Bath Time

To help prevent that messy fur from matting and tangling up during or after bath time, a few of these tips can help:

  1. Invest in a 2-in-1 conditioner for bath time. 

Even though the conditioner alone won’t automatically help detangle your pup’s fur—only brushing can help with that—it does give it a great foundation to make brushing a lot easier. 

A recommended conditioner can also help prevent breakage (and more shedding), which often occurs with matted fur. You can also complete the job with a much easier to use conditioning spray.

  1. When brushing out the hair:

  •  Make sure you give those easily-tangled areas more attention. They are generally behind the legs and the ears as well as the armpits. 
  • Don’t try and tackle your pup’s whole body at once. Take it in small sections just like you would with your own hair—from the tips to the base. 
  • You should also never bypass the paws. This in-between-the-toes fur can also get severely matted and tangled up. To help keep that fur in line, you can also trim it yourself. 
  • Talking about trimming on your own, you should also pay attention to the rear end of your pup. The fur back there needs to be attended to as well. 

A few other preventative measures can be:

  1. Invest in a detangling cream. You can buy these from your groomer or local pet store. Spray or mousse this on your pup before they go out for a swim or before bath time! 
  1. Change your pup’s diet. Actually, what your dog has for dinner can help prevent matting from happening because it has a direct effect on the health of his or her coat. A diet that is packed with omega-3 or fish oil can help with that. 
  1. If you have the opportunity, train your pup while young. Grooming can be an unpleasant experience—even sitting still can already be “painful” for an active dog. However, if you do have the opportunity to raise your dog the right way while it’s still young, having them get used to the process is key.

Not only does matted hair create some discomfort for you while grooming, the dog may actually be experiencing pain, as well—especially in the area that is being attended to. Just like when your parents were detangling your hair, your pup may also be feeling some sort of discomfort, as well. 

Try and keep your pup’s feelings in mind while tending to a tangle or two. Throughout the process, we would definitely recommend softening the blow with treats and positive reinforcement. 

dog grooming

Some Last-Minute Considerations

Before bathing, cutting, and brushing, please read through these bits of helpful information to help groom through or get rid of matted hair:

  1. If the matting is out of control—and your dog hasn’t been to the groomers in a while—you may want to consider a trip to the veterinarian. Beneath the matting, there can be a more pressing problem of skin irritation or even infection. 
  1. Avoid bathing your dog on top of matted and tangled hair—this can actually get worse and cause the knots to get even tighter. 
  1. Leave it to the professionals to cut out the tangled up fur—you might actually end up cutting or hurting your pup’s skin if you do it on your own. 
  1. Even though you may think that your dog is finally matt-free, the tangles might be found closer to the skin. 
  1. And lastly, cooler water helps “seal” the deal when it comes to keeping your dog tangle-free toward the end of bath time.

 Of course, brushing your pup on a regular basis can help keep the tangling to a minimum in the first place. Bringing them to the groomers and vet on a regular basis can also help the cause!

We hope these tips have helped you gain back a bit of control with the tangled, matted dog fur of your furbaby!

Author Bio:

“Matt is the founder of PetHairPatrol. He lives in New York with his two golden retrievers: Ben and Jerry. Once he opened a carton of yogurt, and immediately there was a dog hair inside. That’s when he decided to find the best ways to get rid of pet hair and start a website to share his knowledge. He has researched and reviewed hundreds of products that help you keep your home clean – even when you have furry roomies. He loves running and Italian pizza. He hates pigeons. And obviously, pet hair!”

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