Grooming your dog can be a long process, especially if your dog's hair is prone to tangling. Mats are entanglements of hair involving the topcoat, undercoat, dirt, burrs, and loose hairs. They are the consequence of tangles that go unnoticed. It is much easier to undo tangles before they turn into serious mats. Undoing your dog's tangles takes a lot of patience, as well as the right tools. Here's how to undo your dog's tangles:
Good quality dog comb and brush (choose those meant for pet grooming, not those meant for human hair)
- Regular brushing. Puppies and adult dogs both need regular brushing, whether their hair is long and silky or short and wiry. Some coats require more maintenance than others, but there is no coat that can go without brushing entirely without developing tangles and mats. Some dogs are easier to brush after a bath, while others are easier to brush before the bath. Experiment with your dog to find what works for you. Brush your dog at least two or three times per week.
- Brush after water contact. If your dog plays in water, immediately brush out their coat. Wet hair can stick together, easily forming tangles. After your dog is outdoors, inspect his coat for burrs or other outdoor objects that have become entangled in his fur.
- Use detangling spray. This spray works like conditioner, making it easier to brush tangles out of your dog's coat. Use it every time you brush your dog. Don't forget about the paws, along the armpits, and along the inside of the legs, common places for tangles to hide. Spray, and then let it sit for about twenty minutes before trying to brush your dog.
- Be patient. Never pull or stretch the hair, or be too forceful when brushing because this can hurt your dog. For serious tangles, work from the outside, working your way in to the center of the tangle. Speak calmly to avoid upsetting your dog. If you become too frustrated, consider taking a break. Be patient, but accept the fact that some serious mats will not be able to be brushed out.
- Cutting out mats. If a tangle grows serious enough that it cannot simply be brushed out, you may have to cut it out of your dog's fur. Carefully use the blunt-nosed scissors, cutting out as little hair as possible.
- Go to the groomer. If your dog has developed serious tangles or you are having trouble working with your dog, take the dog to a groomer. Groomers are trained to safely handle even serious matting. If you're up for the task, there are also mat splitters and other tools available for serious matting.
Grooming takes time and effort, but it will make your dog look the best that he or she possibly can. It is much easier to brush your dog regularly than it is to untangle serious matting.