It is always a pretty sight to see dogs with long hair that is shiny and thick. Alas, owners of long-haired dogs know the problems that tangles and matting can bring to their dog and to them as well. It can be quite difficult to remove hair mats from your dog, and when ignored they can lead to sores and wounds as the dog will keep biting on the mats. There are several ways to remove hair mats that you can do at home. The following tips will guide you on how to remove dog hair mats and keep your dog’s coat tangle-free.
- Choose an area in your house where you can sit comfortably on the floor. Have your dog lie next to your legs or allow your dog to lay his head on your thigh. Pat your dog or run your palm over him to keep him calm.
- Work on one area first. Most of the times the mats are located behind the ears, on the chest, armpits, rump and legs of the dog. You need to work in small sections and do it patiently. Hold the mat with your fingers and try to work out the tangles from the tips. Use a metal comb to comb out and straighten the hair as you untangle them. Continue your way up, untangling with your fingers and combing. Use the metal comb for clumps that are too tight. Work the teeth of the brush into the mat and slowly and gently try to pull the hair outwards to loosen the clump.
- Check to see if there are foreign objects embedded in the mat. You have to remove them with your fingers and not with the comb. Separate the hairs gently from the foreign object. Mats are usually formed very close to the dog’s skin and in some cases the mats may have already pulled and raised the dog’s skin underneath them. An orangewood stick may help pick and separate the hairs.
- Spray a detangler that is formulated for dogs on the clump and let it soak through while you work on another section. A little baby oil will also help in detangling. Apply a drop of baby oil on the mat and work it in with your fingers. Use the metal comb to separate a few hairs at a time. Reward your dog from time to time for being patient.
- Cutting off the mat should be your last resort. You may be able to save most of the hair by cutting the mat in small sections following the hair growth. It is not a good idea to cut across as you may damage the skin. When you have cut a small section, try to see if you can then separate the hairs and remove the tangle. Losing a few hairs will be better than losing a big lump. With the smaller sections you may be able to comb out the tangle. Begin from the hair ends and work your way up towards the hair roots.
Daily grooming will help keep your dog’s fur smooth and tangle-free. There are dog hair conditioners that you can buy to help maintain your dog’s coat shiny and smooth. A light spray of mink oil will also help. Do not rub your dog’s coat with a towel after you have given him a bath. It will be best to just pat the dog dry or keep him wrapped in a towel to absorb most of the moisture. If your dog will allow it, you can use a hair dryer to instantly dry your dog’s long fur.