Guide to removing mats and tangles from your dog
If you have a longhaired breed of dog you know the troubles that mats and tangles can cause. These balls of hair, if left knotted, can lead to ulcers on the skin, serious skin problems, as well as require a complete sheering of the coat to correct the problem. With a good grooming routine most mats and tangles will be stopped before they get problematic, but any dog can get matted or tangled hair after a day out in the woods or a swim in the lake.
There are several different ways to deal with mats and tangles that are relatively painless for your dog and fairly easy to do at home. The best ways to remove tangles are:
· Use a wide toothed comb or a pin brush to work from the outside of the tangle towards the dog’s body. Work with very small amounts of hair rather than working on the whole knot or tangle at one time.
· Use a good quality detangler specially designed for dogs. There are many brands sold online or in pet stores that are safe and gentle for dog’s hair and skin.
· Baby oil can also be used if you don’t have a detangler solution available. Use only a very small amount and gently work through with the fingers. Do not use a circular motion as this may increase the amount of hair in the tangle rather than decrease it.
· Spraying a gentle coat of mink oil over the whole coat will prevent the coat from tangling up again after you have removed the knots.
· Often the mat is formed around a foreign object like a twig, burr or even a piece of a stick. Be careful not to catch this object with the comb as this will be very painful for the dog. If the object is very imbedded in the hair gently try to detangle it using your finger to keep as much hair intact as possible. Only as a last resort cut the patch hair, using the scissors so the blades are pointed away from the dog’s body. Never cut into the dog as the possibility to damage the skin is simply too great, even with blunt ended scissors.
· Always check for mats in places such as the armpits of the dog on both the front and back legs, behind the legs, around the collar, behind the ears and on the “leggings” long hairs of the back legs.
· If the dog is becoming sensitive in one area allow the detangler to sit on the hair and move to another spot. Irritating the skin will only make the dog less cooperative.
Clean and well-conditioned, healthy hair is much easier to work with than dead or dry hair. A good grooming routine will help minimize tangles and mats and will keep your pet looking tiptop.