Not only do you want your dog's fur to be soft and beautiful, but you also want them to be healthy and comfortable. When your furry companion's hair mats into clumps, it can be difficult to brush out and remove. These thick mats grow larger, making it harder to groom your dog. But more than the difficulty of brushing, mats in your dog's fur can become incredibly uncomfortable and even painful to the skin.
If these mats are left in your dog's coat, they can cause sores at the skin’s surface which can become infected, itchy, and painful. Knowing your dog, the fur and undercoat, and what your dog's needs are for maintenance will help you to prevent these mats from forming and becoming a problem.
How do I brush my dog?
Grooming is key to keeping mats out of your dog's fur. If you cannot brush your four-legged buddy daily, brush them at least once a week. Know your dog's fur and undercoat well so you can provide the best grooming possible. Using the wrong grooming tools for your dog's fur will not only make it difficult to rid your pooch of any existing mats, but incorrect grooming tools for your the length, texture, and thickness of fur won't do much good in removing excess fur which causes knots to form and expand.
If you have a short haired dog, a bristle brush and grooming once a week is probably enough. If you have a long haired pup with a thick undercoat, you may want to consider a rake brush. This type of tool takes out the excess fur before it becomes too tangled and uncomfortable. As you are grooming your dog each week with the correct tool, use a detangling spray if their fur tends to mat.
Remember, brushing your best buddy is a way of bonding with them. For your dog, a smooth tangle-free brushing is also like a mini-massage. Make it a session you both enjoy by starting the habit as soon as you bring your new addition home.
How do I bathe my dog?
Bathing is also a way to keep your dog's fur smooth, eliminating excessive shedding and matting. Too much bathing can cause dry skin though, which may become irritated when brushing takes place. Familiarize yourself with your dog's needs, so you are bathing them on a regular basis, yet not too frequently as to cause skin issues.
Use a vet-approved hypoallergenic shampoo with a detangling component and brush your dog thoroughly after each bath. While your dog is in the bathtub, they will enjoy the massage of your hands on the skin and through the fur, gently detangling any small knots before they form into larger problematic mats.
If matting is an issue with your dog, talk to a professional groomer or to your veterinarian for recommendations on shampoos that can help keep the fur soft and free of uncomfortable and painful mats.
Can my dog's diet make a difference?
The overall health of your dog has an impact on the skin and coat condition. Feeding your dog a high-quality diet with lean proteins, healthy fats, and supplemental omega-3 and amino acids can help keep your dog's health in tip-top shape as well as keep their coat soft and manageable. Talk to your veterinarian about suitable dog food options that will address skin or coat issues.
Supplementing your dog's diet with omega-3 fatty acids is easy to do with natural foods added to their meals such as blueberries, flax seeds, and salmon. Coconut and olive oil are beneficial to a canine's coat as well. Healthy skin and healthy fur will eliminate shedding issues, preventing matting issues in the future. You can also add omega-3 fatty acids and amino acids to your dog's meals through treats and supplements you can buy from your veterinarian or local pet health food store.
A brushing a day
Preventing uncomfortable mats from occurring in your dog's fur is rather simple to do, but may require some maintenance and effort on your part. Keep your pup healthy with a top-quality diet and add nutritional foods and supplements at mealtime to promote soft skin. Finally, make time for bathing and brushing sessions that are pleasurable for both of you.