Tangled or matted dog fur is not only unsightly, it can cause serious health problems, including infections. A little diligence can help you head off matts, or at least prevent them from damaging your dog’s health. Start by teaching your dog to enjoy grooming. This will be easiest with a puppy, but you may be able to condition your adult dog as well. Start by petting your dog gently and offering treats. Then, you can slowly introduce grooming tools. Some pets enjoy being groomed, but if yours doesn’t, treats can help them learn to chill out during brushing
Next, line up your tools. Your groomer or vet can recommend a brush best-suited to your furry pal’s breed. Poodles, for example, are more prone to matting, and you may need a brush with pins to pierce through its curls and prevent and untangle mats. Some owners swear by the Furminator range of products. Match the size of the brush or comb to your animal. A brush the size of a frisbee will be too unwieldy for your Shih Tzu.
Detangling products can also keep your dogs locks looking like Taylor Swift’s, but be sure to use creams and sprays designed for dogs. Human styling products can harm their skin. Regular brushing is the best way to prevent matting. Pay close attention to ears, tails and the space between paws that are especially prone to matting. Spot examinations of these areas can keep matts in check. If you enjoy hiking with your dog, check her for matts and tangles afterward, especially if she has a long tail or ears that may pick up brush and debris in the bush.
Consistent visits to the groomer can also keep your pet’s coat smooth and shiny and allow you to avoid the messier tasks such as keeping your dog’s rear end clean and neat. It may be tempting to wash your dog before dematting, but don’t. Water can tighten tangles. Similarly, cutting a matted area won’t solve the problem and risks wounding your dog if you get too close to the skin. When a mat develops, sprinkle corn starch or use a conditioner to loosen the knot. Then, take a small section and begin brushing, starting at the ends of the hair and working your way toward the skin. Go slowly and try not to pull the skin as you brush. If your dog grows less tolerant as you brush, take a break. You may need to finish the task in regular intervals over several days to keep the peace with your pet.