How to Groom a Dog with Knots

Medium
30 - 45 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Got hair? Got knots!  

Although dogs with short hair are not as prone to knots, any dog can get knotted hair. Dogs with curly hair, soft hair, shedding hair, or long hair are especially prone to knots. Dogs have rough hair shafts that can stick to themselves, causing knots where hairs rub together, like under the limbs or where the dog lies down, on the belly, or hips. Dogs that have double coats, that is a thick undercoat with longer overcoat hairs protruding through, are very prone to knots--if not properly groomed down to the skin, the undercoat can easily become tangled and go unnoticed. As hair sheds, dead hair that stays in the coat can cause other hair shafts to wrap around it and become knotted, or burs and other debris from the environment can get tangled in hair and become the basis for a nasty knot.  

If you regularly groom your dog you can usually prevent knots from forming or address them before they become difficult to remove. Also, keeping your dog healthy helps their coat stay in good condition and natural oils make knots less likely to form. Eventually, though, just about everyone with a dog is going to have to untangle a knot, like it or not!

Dog's Perspective

Your dog probably enjoys all kinds of activities that are likely to cause knots in his hair: playing outside in underbrush, wading through swamps, and chewing or rubbing an itchy spot. If the knot becomes large, it can form a mat, which can also result in skin conditions. Large knots under the limbs, around the tail and anus, behind ears, and on the neck can become coated with debris, interfere with movement, or just plain get itchy. When knots have to be removed, pulling on hair to remove them can be painful if not done carefully and correctly, which can make your dog avoid grooming. Care to make the process as pain-free as possible is recommended. Maybe a little bribery with some treats is warranted.

The Work Out a Knot Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Deshedder
Dematter
Comb
Towel
Step
1
Determine whether to bathe
Usually, it is easier to remove knots on dry hair, so bathing prior to knot removal should be avoided. Depending on your dog's coat, however, bathing to make some coats softer prior to manipulating the knot may be helpful. You will have to determine what works best for your particular dog.
Step
2
Locate knots
Locate knots in most common areas such as armpits, belly, neck, behind ears, tail base, and hind legs.
Step
3
Use detangler
When you locate a knot spray the knot with detangling spray, or apply cornstarch to help make the hair slide easier.
Step
4
Work with fingers
Work the knot loose with your fingers as much as possible.
Step
5
Use brush and comb
Use a slicker brush and comb to further remove and unsnarl the knot. Start at ends and work right down to the skin.
Recommend grooming method?

The Cut Out a Knot Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Dematter
Step
1
Locate knots
Locate knots in most common areas such as armpits, belly, neck, behind ears, tail base, and hind legs.
Step
2
Separate hair
When you locate a knot, part and manipulate as much hair away from the knot as possible with fingers, a brush, and/or a comb.
Step
3
Use scissors
Use a pair of scissors, preferably blunt-nosed, to trim away at the knot, if it is far away enough from the skin. Hold implements parallel or flush with the dogs skin.
Step
4
Use blade
If the knot is close to the skin you may be better off to use a stripper knife to work under the knot and cut a few hairs at a time until the knot is removed. Work carefully to avoid hurting your dog with sharp implements.
Step
5
Use mat splitter
Use a mat splitter on thick knots that have begun to form mats. Cut at the knot and remove as much entanglement as possible, which will allow you to then get a blade or scissors under small sections of the knot to remove.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Always be careful using sharp implements around dogs so as not to cut or poke your dog.  Hold scissors and blades flush against skin, and be careful not to catch skin.

  • Work slowly and patiently to avoid pulling and pinching your dog and causing stress.

  • Use of a detangler or cornstarch makes the job easier.

  • Regular brushing to keep hair coat in good condition will prevent knots from forming in the first place.

  • Good nutrition makes a coat healthier with natural oils and more resistant to knots.

  • Bathing regularly to clean your dog's coat and remove dead skin and hair helps prevent knots.

  • Keep your dog free of parasites to promote good hair health and avoid tangles.

Conclusion

Rather not have knots? Prevention is the best method. Grooming and ensuring your dog is healthy will reduce the incidence of knots. If you catch a knot early enough, it can usually be worked out with grooming tools, products, and a little patience. Particularly nasty knots can be cut out, but be careful not to pinch or cut your dog while doing this, or he will be running away next time he sees you with a pair of scissors!  

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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