Is your dog a tangled, matted mess? Are you wondering whether to take your dog to the groomer, or just tackle the problem yourself?
Well, my friend, you’re not alone in your struggles. These hair issues are common in all dogs.
This could be because you need to up your dog’s grooming game. Or, perhaps your dog does activities that involve a lot of hair friction.
Either way, it’s still your responsibility to detangle the mess. And since it’s such a frequent issue, professional help isn’t always feasible.
In this case, you need to know how to deal with these hair problems yourself. And we’re here to help with that.
So, enlighten yourself and keep reading this guide on how to handle a dog’s knotted hair disasters!
What You’ll Need
When you have a dog, it’s important that you’re equipped to deal with hair disasters at any moment. This means that you should stock up on the appropriate tools and canine hair products that are of the best quality.
Your groomer or vet will be able to tell you which tools are suitable for your dog, but here’s a general list of tools that come in handy when dealing with matts and tangles:
- Slicker Brush – You’ll definitely need one of these in your grooming toolbox. A slicker brush has thin wires which work to keep your dog’s coat smooth and free of tangles.
- Undercoat Rake – As the name suggests, this is a brushing tool that looks like a rake. It’s not required for all dogs, but it is the perfect tool for extra furry canines who have an undercoat.
- Dematting Comb – A de-matting comb comes in handy for the more persistent matts. They have sharp, long, and heavy teeth that are very good at separating hair strands.
- Mat Splitter – A mat splitter is a tool with a blade on the side. It helps to cut away mats that are just too difficult to brush out.
There is a wide range of products which you can use that cater to your detangling needs. Just make sure that whatever you buy is made specifically for dogs. Using human products can irritate their skin and is never recommended.
- Detangler – This is the main product that you’ll need to detangle your pooch’s hair. These may come in cream or spray form. The detangler moistens the hair to make it easier to separate.
- Shampoo – A good canine shampoo will keep your dog’s coat clean, fresh smelling, and healthy. This is important for preventing hair problems and is also necessary in the bath after the detangling session.
- Conditioner – Conditioner keeps your dog’s coat shiny, soft, and silky. Using this product means that the hair is less likely to get knotted up.
The Detangling Process
The detangling process is tedious, so you’ll have to be patient and careful. Make sure that your dog is comfortable and you know what you’re doing. Here’s a basic guide on how to go about the process:
Locate the Problem
First of all, you’ll need to identify all the matts and tangles. They are not always visible because dogs have a lot of furs. However, you can easily locate them by running a brush through your dog’s hair.
Doing this first checkup will let you determine the extent of the damage. Based on your observation, you can pay extra attention below the ears, neck, belly, and the back legs. These are usually the more problematic places.
Apply the Detangler
Now that you know where the matts and tangles are, apply a bit of detangler on these spots. Make sure to rub it in thoroughly with your fingers at first.
This will ensure that the product really reaches each strand. This may seem like a lot of work, but your fingers are the best tool for application. You should also try to sort through as many tangles as you can with your hands.
Start by trying to undo the tangle by hand. Start at the tip and separate the fur strand by strand. This will only get the easiest parts of the knot, but it can help to get a bigger knot started in unraveling.
Brush with Your Tools
After you’ve applied the product with your fingers, it’s time to brush the coat. Use different brushes to remove tangles and mats as best you can.
To separate tangles, don’t dive in all at once. Take a few strands and brush to separate them from the rest of the tangle. This will take some time, but it will surely work.
As for mats, make sure that you add some extra detangler and brush in the natural direction of hair growth. If it’s a stubborn one though, it’s time to whip out the mat splitting tool.
Wash it Off
After all the matts and tangles have been tackled, you need to give your dog a bath. Do a thorough check before you get your dog wet because water makes these hairy knots tighter.
It’s important to use dog-friendly products when giving your dog a bath. Clean the product away with some shampoo, and be generous with the conditioner, or else, the drying process might cause more matts and tangles, which are counterproductive.
Clip Away the Problems
If your canine buddy’s hair is looking like a knotted disaster, clipping or shaving it might be the only way to salvage its coat.
You could do this by yourself with some good quality clippers. However, if you’re not confident enough, you should definitely hire a professional groomer.
Clipping the hair gets rid of all the problematic tangles and mats, and gives you a new slate to work on.
How to Prevent Tangling
Now you know how to handle tangles and matted fur. But as the saying goes, prevention is always better than the cure.
A good way to prevent these hairy problems is to brush your dog’s coat regularly. Also, try to keep your pooch’s coat trimmed, without letting it get too long. Matts and tangles are more likely to occur if your dog is neglected and ill-maintained.
Remember to use dog-friendly conditioner after showers to keep the hair smooth. And if your dog goes swimming, or is supposed to come into contact with water, it’s wise to apply the detangler beforehand.
Finally, you should also keep in mind that a good diet goes a long way. Be on the lookout for Omega 3 and fish oil supplements because ingredients like these keep your dog’s coat healthy, and less likely to be matted.
Extra Tips for Dealing with Tangles
- When you begin to detangle, always go for the biggest tangles and matted fur first. These will take the longest time, and they’re usually very strongly stuck in the hair.
- Sprinkling cornstarch on matts and tangles before brushing helps loosen them out.
- Following the “line brushing” method really helps to prevent matts and dangles. It involves brushing small sections of hair first. Then, lift the coat away from the skin and gently pat through the hair with the brush.
- Always be careful about maintaining a distance between the skin and the knot that you’re holding. If the tangles and mats are close to the skin, the slightest bit of movement can actually be quite painful.
Tangles and matted fur are a major nuisance. They make your dog look unkempt and cause a lot of harm to their health as well. Not to mention, they are incredibly difficult to remove!
It may seem like a few simple knots, but these hair issues lead to the breeding of germs on your dog’s furry coat. And it’s also a very painful and uncomfortable experience for the poor pooch.
Don’t worry, though. With a little extra care and the right tools and products, you too can keep your dog’s coat in the best possible condition.
So, use all of this knowledge that you just learned and give your canine buddy the hair care they deserve!