How to Groom a Dog with Matted Hair – Quick Tips!

Tangled or matted dog hair can be very difficult to remove, especially for long-haired canines. But instead of pulling and hurting your dog, you can use a different workaround. We asked professional groomers about how to groom a dog with matted hair, and below is what they recommend.

Take note that the following tips may or may not work depending on the condition of your dog’s coat. If the matting is beyond your power, it’s best to bring your pet to a professional groomer.

Causes of matting in your dog’s hair

how to groom a dog with matted hair

Mats in your dog’s coat occur due to friction, the same as how complicated tangles happen on human hair. For dogs, matting can occur when their legs rub too much or if there are skin folds that you fail to brush or groom.

Also, if your dog sits a lot, their coat around the buttocks may start to mat if not combed daily. This is due to the compaction of the fur.

Also, intense tangling and matting of the fur is a sign of neglect on the part of the owner. You can easily prevent this coat problem if you groom your dog regularly.

How to groom a dog with matted hair

Coat mats can be a grooming headache if you don’t act on it the moment you discover its presence. Over time, the coat problem will worsen, which will require professional help. So to save you from expensive grooming sessions, you can deal with small mats using the following methods:

*Daily brushing

The only best way to deal with matting is to prevent your dog from having it. The easiest solution here is to brush your dog regularly. Regardless if you’re bathing your dog for the day or not, you should still brush the pooch for at least 15 minutes a day. Larger breeds may require longer brushing sessions as well as canines with long coats.

You should always brush along the direction on which your dog’s coat grows. Going against it will cause more tangles and mats in the long run.

Aside from your dog’s body, you should also brush its legs and skin folds. You can use a smaller brush for this so your dog won’t be hurt in the process.

 If you encounter snags, never pull it out. Just imagine someone else pulling your tangled hair with a brush. It’s horrific, and your dog will surely remember that one time you make brushing painful.

*Detangling spray

For stubborn tangles and mats, a detangling spray always comes handy. Spray some of the solution to the matted area and try to work it out with a comb. Take note that you shouldn’t use a brush when trying to remove a tangle.

Never pull the fur of your dog no matter how difficult it is to unravel the knots. Always work from outside the mat and go closer to your dog’s skin. This will make the untangling much easier and more effective.

*Go for the largest tangles first

When it comes to matting, it’s best to go for the largest ones first. These large knots are the hardest to deal with and will take a lot of time to unravel.

Always work your way from the top down to your dog’s skin. Trying to pull the tangle from the skin level will only hurt your dog. Aside from that, untangling larger mats will result in smaller tangles. So if you work the smaller ones first, your effort will be in vain.

*Use your hand first

When dealing with tight knots on your dog’s coat, we recommend using your hands to unravel the tangles. This is gentler than a brush or comb. Once the tangles have slightly given off, that’s the time you can use a comb or a brush. You can always use a detangling solution lavishly to aid with your manual efforts.

*Bathing may do the magic

If the mats prove to be too stubborn for the methods above, you can give your dog a quick bath using a shampoo and a conditioner. Usually, mats become more difficult to untangle when it’s mixed with dirt.

As you lather the shampoo or apply the conditioner, comb your dog’s fur with your fingers. You should also try to untangle the mats with your hands while the shampoo is still lathering.

For many dog owners, this does the job. But if it not, you may need to do the next step.

*You may need to cut it off

If you’ve tried everything and the mat won’t give in, it might be time to cut it off. Take note that this option is your last resort when all else fails. You can use a pet trimmer to do this.

However, avoid trimming too close to the skin since it’s very easy to injure your pet. If you don’t know about trimming your dog’s coat, it’s best to seek the help of a professional groomer.

Tips to prevent coat matting

We can’t stress this enough: regular brushing is the only secret to prevent mats on your dog’s coat. You should also bathe your dog periodically to prevent dirt from sticking the fur together. If your dog gets dirtier than most, you can bathe it at least every two weeks.

Also, you should untangle small knots right away. This is to prevent it from becoming tighter and bigger. Again, don’t pull on snags. Be gentle and stop on each tangle that the brush encounters.

Moreover, it will help a lot if you keep your dog’s coat adequately trimmed. Some breeds like Poodle, Shih Tzu, and Maltese don’t shed, so it’s your job to remove the excess length. This way, the coat of your dog will not be prone to tangles.


Knowing how to groom a dog with matted hair is a skill every canine owner should know. This way, they won’t hurt their dog or resort to snipping every tangle you encounter. As much as mats can be difficult to deal with, it’s highly preventable with regular grooming.