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Detangling Matted Dog Fur Without Clipping It

Some breeds of dog have very short, single layered fur that is not prone to becoming tangled or matted, and may not even need brushing at all. However, most breeds and types of dogs can benefit from occasional brushing and grooming, and for some breeds and types of dogs, regular or even daily brushing and combing is required to keep their coats in good condition, which means that a significant amount of time needs to be spent on their maintenance! Dogs with long, thick or curly fur are very prone to getting their fur tangled up and knotted, which will soon turn into matted patches if left unchecked.

Even for dogs that are brushed on a daily basis, it is all too easy to miss the particular trouble spots for matted or knotted fur, such as behind the ears, around the chest, and under the belly and the insides of the legs. Just brushing is not sufficient, and owners of dogs with high-maintenance fur need to use combs and detangling tools to keep the whole of the coat in good condition!

However, even if you are intimately familiar with the amount and type of care that your dog’s coat needs, your dog’s coat may still become matted up on occasion, and fail to respond to combing or brushing in order to resolve it! When this happens, the easiest course of action is usually to cut or clip the matted hair away and start afresh, but is there a way to deal with matted fur without lopping it off entirely? Sometimes!

In this article, we will look at some of the ways in which you can detangle matted fur without cutting it off. Read on to learn more.

Preventing matted fur from developing

Like everything in life, it is usually much easier to prevent a problem from developing in the first place than it is to try to fix it later! When it comes to fur maintenance, this means being vigilant and conscientious about brushing and combing your dog every day, ensuring that you comb right down to the roots of the hair, and paying particular attention to trouble spots.

Give your dog a quick going over when they come back in from a walk where they might have picked up brambles or burrs, and dedicate a few minutes each day to combing out your dog’s fur properly, to avoid problems developing in the first place.

Why is matted fur a problem?

As well as looking unsightly and making your dog look rather unkempt, matted fur can actually pose various problems for your dog too. Matted fur will tend to harbour dirt and debris that can irritate the skin, and having knotty, dirty fur will not only play host to fleas and other parasites, but will also make your dog feel rather uncomfortable and possibly itchy too.

Detangling matted fur

In order to detangle matted fur without cutting it, you should pick a time when your dog is relaxed and not full of beans, as you will require them to be patient for a while as you do what you need to do. You will also need a few tools to hand to help you, including:

  • A wire brush.
  • A mat splitter.
  • A conditioning or detangling spray.
  • Combs.
  • A slicker brush.
  • Some treats to retain your dog’s cooperation and attention!

Once you have found a mat to work on, hold the mat itself firmly with the fingers of one hand, to avoid pulling on your dog’s skin. Then, use the wire brush to brush out the ends of the mat itself, and begin to loosen the ends of the hairs.

Using the slicker brush, brush the surface of the matting with short strokes to loosen it, moving the slicker further into the mat as it loosens. When the mat begins to split a little, use your fingers to detangle it, working from the ends up towards the roots.

Once you have broken the mat down into sections, use your detangling spray to spray over the mat, leaving it a moment or two to work into the middle of the lump. Then, repeat the process of brushing, using the slicker, and then working on the mat with your fingers.

When you have parted the mat up as much as you can manually, use your mat splitter to work on stubborn areas. Hold the mat firmly and pull the splitter through the mat to further divide it, allowing you to again break it up into smaller parts that you can detangle individually. Once the mat has broken up, pull the slicker brush through it again until you can brush the area without resistance.

If you find yourself faced with a mat that is simply not prepared to break up and is woven very tightly, you may have no choice but to remove it entirely. This should be achieved using the mat splitter and clippers rather than scissors, as it is very easy to cut your dog with the scissors, as you will not be able to tell where the base of the mat ends and your dog’s skin begins.

After you have finished, bathing your dog is a good idea, in order to remove dirt and dead skin cells that were trapped in the mats, to reduce the chances of them knotting back up again in short order.


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