Mat Removal Tips For Your Dog
Matted hair on your dog is more than just an appearance issue, it is also a health issue. Matted hair can become infested with bacteria and germs, dried blood, or feces. This can lead to skin irritation or infection. Severe matting can also make it difficult for a dog to move, as well, which can cause muscle and joint issues. The following tips can help you deal with any mats that your dog develops.
Tip #1: Try Some Cornstarch
Cornstarch absorbs moisture quickly, and it also gives hair a slippery coating. These two qualities combine to make it more easily to untangle a mat, since dry, slippery hair is more likely so work free of a tangle. Sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch on the mat and then gently work it in with your fingertips. This one small step before you begin can help ensure successful removal.
Tip #2: Hold It Correctly
A mat needs to be held firmly away from your dog's skin. Place your non-working hand underneath the mat, with the side of your hand against your dog's skin and with the mat resting on top of your hand. This allows your hand to act as a barrier between your dog's skin and the brush or dematting tool. You can lift your hand slightly, if needed, so the mat isn't right up against your dog. The goal is for none of the tools to actually touch your dog, since this can cause pain and make your dog too uncomfortable to allow for mat removal.
Tip #3: Use the Right Tools
You need three basic tools for successful mat removal – a dematting tool or mat breaker, a slicker brush, and a pet comb. The dematting tool resembles a brush with two or more blades instead of bristles. You slice through the mat, splitting it into smaller pieces. Once this is done, you use the slicker brush to carefully tease out and finish brushing out the matted fur. A slicker brush has wire bristles that are bent at the ends, which allows them to properly grip the fur and work out the knots. Finally, you need a comb for the final smoothing once the mat is gone.
Tip #4: Know When to Get Help
What you don't need is a razor or scissors. It is too easy to accidentally injure your dog with these items. If a mat is too difficult for you to remove on your own, call your veterinarian or groomer. They can remove the mats without injury. Severe matting may also require anesthesia so your dog doesn't fight against the removal or feel any pain, which can only be done in a vet's office. You should also talk with your vet to find ways to prevent matting if this is an ongoing problem with your dog.