How to Wash a Dog with Matted Hair

Hard
1 - 2 Hours
1 Week

Introduction

Allowing Jack to get to the point where he has significant mats in his hair can be bad not only for his hair but for his health as well. When the mats become large enough, they can provide a home where bacteria and other forms of dirt and debris can hide. This can lead to sore spots and serious infections as the mats rub against Jack's skin. On top of all this, once the mats become large enough, they can become very uncomfortable when Jack tries to move or lay down. Long-haired dogs tend to be more prone to mats than shorter-haired dogs. The best way to deal with mats is to untangle them as quickly as possible once you notice them.

Dog's Perspective

Unless the mats are making Jack uncomfortable when he tries to lay down or are so bad they pull on his skin when he moves, chances are good he won't even notice them. One thing you can count on though is that when the time comes for you to remove them, he is going to let you know just how much he hates any form of grooming. Keep in mind, you need to take your time and go very slowly so that you don't cause Jack any excessive amounts of pain as you work to remove the mats. 

The Lift and Separate Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Clipper
Towel
Step
1
Start with a slicker brush
Since most of the mats you find are likely to be on Jack's ears, belly, under his limbs, or around his tail, you need to start out with a slicker brush. Gently brush the hair around the mat so that you can lift and separate it away from the mat, giving you better access to the mat itself.
Step
2
Use a detangler
Apply a vet-approved detangler to the mats in your dog's coat. Be sure you soak it down in order to make the hair as slick as possible. You also need to make sure you get all surfaces of the mat well-coated.
Step
3
Work the mat out using your fingers
Now that his hair is nice and slippery, you can try removing the mats using your fingers and a dematting tool. Be sure to run the dematting tool in the same direction your dog's hair is growing.
Step
4
Into the tub
Put your pup in the tub and give him a bath using a vet approved shampoo. If he still has the mat in his coat, work around it. Try using some running water from a shower head with a long hose to help work the mat a bit looser. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the shampoo and any dirt out of his coat.
Step
5
The final cut
If, by this time, your dog still has the mat in it, you need to use a pair of straight thinning shears to cut it out. Follow this up with giving him a final once over with the slicker brush and you are all done!
Recommend grooming method?

The Mats First Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Dematter
Comb
Clipper
Towel
Step
1
Brush first
Start by brushing your dog's coat using the appropriate brush. Look behind his ears, around his tail, the underside of his legs, and around where his collar sits for mats.
Step
2
Fingers time
Using your fingers to try and pull apart the mats. Some of them might come out, but the tighter ones may need to be cut out. Take some time for this process and try not to yank on your dog's fur.
Step
3
Bathe as usual
Put your dog in the tub and, using a vet-approved shampoo, bathe him just like you would any other time. This is a good time to check deeper into his coat to look for more mats using your fingers. Doing this before you rinse him will help to loosen the mats.
Step
4
Use conditioner
Using a vet-approved thick conditioner, apply it to the mats and work it in thoroughly with your fingers. This may help to loosen the mats even further. Rinse the conditioner out afterwards.
Step
5
Cut the mats out
If all of this has not allowed you to untangle the mats with your fingers, slide a comb between the mat and Jack's skin. Now you can slide the shears between the comb and the mat so you can cut it out without worrying about cutting his skin. Spray his coat with a leave-in detangler. This will help keep mats from forming.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • The best thing you can do to get rid of the mats in Jack's coat is to brush his coat regularly.
  • Buy the right tools which includes a pin brush, a dematter, an undercoat brush, a comb, a pair of straight shears, and plenty of his favorite treats.
  • Keep Jack's coat free of burrs and the many forms of debris that tends to build up in a dog's coat by checking it daily and keeping an eye out for any telltale signs of dirt. 
  • If there are skin sores under the mats, be sure to have them treated by a veterinarian. Applying shampoo or other grooming items may irritate sores or injuries.
  • If you use clippers, be sure the blade is sharp and lubricated to help keep them from snagging his hair instead of cutting it. 
  • Use safety shears with rounded tips to avoid cutting Jack. Safety with this tool is super important, as it can cause injury if used inappropriately. 

Conclusion

Not only does a dog like Jack tend to not look his best when he's matted, but leaving them to grow in his fur can lead to serious skin health issues. Keep in mind that Jack is not likely to enjoy this process. Be sure to use the right tools and give him a few treats along the way. Regular grooming will help keep the mats from forming in the first place. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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