Matted Dog Hair Removal – How to Remove Mats Easily

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How to Prevent & Remove Matted Dog Hair from Your Dog

Trying to remove tangles, knots, and mats from your long-haired dog can be quite a task! If you’ve ever tried it yourself, you know how time consuming and back breaking it can be.

So, first, I must point out the best thing is to avoid getting these mats in the fur in the first place.

Ways to Avoid Matted Dog Hair

  • Regular or even daily brushing depending on your dog’s type of fur
  • Keep hair shorter
  • Use a coat conditioner or detangler during baths
  • Use a leave-in detangler if your dog’s hair is the type to mat up extremely easily

Some breeds of dogs may need to be brushed on a daily basis while others do not. There are certain breeds that will be okay for a day or two in between brushing their fur. It depends on the breed and the length of their fur. Breeds with a shorter length of fur wouldn’t have to worry about mats. But, they do still need to be brushed to get rid of excess fur and to stimulate their coat as well.

If your dog’s hair mats up all the time though, like our Shih tzu, Daisy, you’d want to brush it daily.

Well, want is probably the wrong word…more like Need to brush it daily, lol!

Especially, if you want to keep it long and flowing. Otherwise, without daily brushing, her hair surely wouldn’t be long and flowing. It’d be long, matted, and clumpy!

You can also keep it cut or trimmed to a shorter length, which is what we normally do with Daisy. It’s just easier. It still needs a daily brushing, but it doesn’t take as long as it would if it were the full length. At full length, it just gets wet and messy when she goes outside, making it tangle and mat up almost immediately.

I’d just rather not have to spend the time brushing it out every time she goes out and comes in. Somehow, her fur is soaking wet even if it’s only dew in the grass, lol.

Tools You’ll Need to Remove Mats from Dog Hair

  • Detangler spray
  • Large-toothed comb
  • Pin Brush
  • Dematting Tool
  • Slicker Brush
  • Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Towels
  • Hair Dryer
  • Electric Shaver *

One thing that will make it much easier is to use a detangler spray first and thoroughly dampen the dog’s fur with it. It actually does help to loosen up the mats a bit easier.

Plus, brushing your dog’s fur when it’s completely dry is not a great idea, I’ve found out. It actually causes static and tangles it even more. So, if your dog’s hair isn’t matted, at least try spraying it with a little water first.

But, if it’s already matted, use a detangling spray or cream that you work into the dog’s fur instead.

Of course, after all this is done and the mats are out, you’ll more than likely need to give your dog a bath…probably yourself too! Since there will be hair going everywhere. Before I get too far here, I’d also like to mention, if your dog is getting wiggly and seems uncomfortable after awhile, then stop!

Take a break from it and go back again when your dog has a chance to settle down. My small dogs have sometimes taken me a couple days to completely finish getting all the mats out.

Take your time and don’t rush your dog. Let it get comfortable with it first. Don’t overdo it and make it a miserable experience for your dog.

Now that I’ve said my piece, let’s get started, shall we?

Steps to Remove Mats

  • Get all your supplies ready first
  • Catch your dog
  • Apply Detangler Spray
  • Rub into coat
  • Loosen mats up with fingers
  • Slicker Brush
  • Large-Toothed Comb or Metal Comb
  • Dematting Tool or Mat Splitter
  • Pin Brush
  • Bath time

Getting Started

If your dog is anything like mine, it’ll most likely know you’re up to something. Somehow they always know, no matter how sneaky you try to be. So, once your dog comes up to you give it a little reward. Let it know it’s being good!

Now that you caught your dog, start by applying detangler spray and rub into the coat. This will help it to penetrate into any mats you find. Gently try to pull these mats apart, loosening it with your fingers first.

Loosen all the mats up as much as possible like this and next use the Slicker Brush to remove more of the dead loose hair.

Once you go over your dog’s coat with the slicker, go on to using either a widely-spaced, large-toothed comb or a Metal Comb. Hold each section of its hair as close to their skin as you can to prevent it from being pulled as the comb goes through. Be careful not to just yank it through their hair as it’ll hurt if it gets caught up in a tangle or mat.

The Metal Comb’s usually have a wide-spaced section of teeth on one end and finer-spaced teeth on the other. Use the side that looks larger and wider spaced for this. I’ve mostly seen people using metal combs like this, but I find Large-toothed Combs to work pretty well for my dogs too, which is why I’m mentioning it here.

Dematting Tools

Next, use the Dematting Tool or Mat Splitter to remove the matted fur. These actually cut through the hair, not just comb through it. So, please be careful with these, since these aren’t just funny looking combs with big metal teeth.

Dematting Tool for dogs
Dematting Tool I have -notice the thumb guard, lol! How can I miss that?

These big metal teeth are actually sharp blades! They WILL bite you if you’re not careful where you’re grabbing them as I found out! Mine have a thumb guard for a good reason…

and now I know not to forget where my thumb is placed, lol.

Anyways, take your time and be careful to have the sharp side of the dematting tool pointed away from your dog (and you too) as you work through a mat. Take it one mat at a time and hold the fur close to the skin. This prevents it from pulling your dog’s hair as you go through it with the dematter.

Extra Tough Mats in Your Dog’s Fur?

If it gets stuck, don’t keep yanking at it. Pull the dematting tool out of the mat and try in a different spot. You don’t want to tug and pull at their hair! It’ll hurt your dog if you force the dematting tool through.

You wouldn’t like it if someone was pulling your hair, would you?

NO, of course not!

If your dog’s hair is matted so badly that it’s hard to get this through or even loosen them up with your fingers in the first place, I’d suggest to just use the electric clippers and shave your dog’s fur short. It’s not worth the discomfort your dog would go through and you don’t want your dog to associate any type of brushing or grooming with discomfort or pain.

It’ll never want to be brushed again!

Time for the Pin Brush

Once you’ve gotten the majority of these mats apart with the dematting tool, switch to a Pin Brush and brush their fur out a bit. Apply more detangler if needed as well. You might still find smaller mats as you use the Pin Brush, if so, I find using another type of comb I find useful to remove some of the smaller mats is a metal comb with rotating pins or the other smaller end of the metal comb.

After going through with this Metal Comb with rotating pins, use the Pin Brush again to see how well it goes through your dog’s fur. If it’s going through pretty well, I’d next use the slicker brush again, just to smooth it out a bit more and to get any tiny tangles still there.

Watch this short, but helpful video below about mats and how to remove them

Next, it’s time for that Bath!

That’s it for now, and I hope this helps you out with getting rid of any tangles, knots, and mats from your dog’s hair. I know it’s no fun at all having a knotty dog!

Want to read more about Dog Grooming? Then, please check out one of my other posts at the link below…
>>Thinking of Grooming Your Dog at Home? 7 Essential Dog Grooming Tools to Get the Job Done<<

Do you have any suggestions on matted dog hair removal? Questions you’d like to ask, or products you use to remove mats that you find awesome?

If so, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

If you liked this, please share it. I’d appreciate it and our little doggies do too!

16 thoughts on “Matted Dog Hair Removal – How to Remove Mats Easily”

  1. Great article right there! Removing mats can be a thankless tasks, especially if you have a dog who doesn’t like to stand still. Consider using treats to help your dog associate grooming sessions with something pleasant. The best approach is prevention. Brush your dog daily to keep his coat clean and to prevent mats from developing.

    • Hi Ennymatics,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Yes, that is so very true that removing mats can be quite a thankless task, and dogs that don’t want to stay still can make the whole process take that much longer.

      Preventing mats is the best way to go in my opinion. It’s much easier to spend a few minutes or so a day than hours or even days trying to get all the mats out!

      Best wishes ~Sherry

  2. Wonderful article for all dog lovers. You have given a wonderful description in your article and attached youtube video is an added bonus in your article.

    I’ve bookmarked some of your listed product. And, I want to gift it to my relative, who have exactly the same dog as highlighted in your page. My dog requires treatment of hair growth 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this useful article.

    • Hi akshaysaxena,

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I’m glad to hear that although your dog needs to grow hair, you do know someone that can benefit from the post, especially since they also own a dog like mine! These types of dogs have some crazy hair that can get very frustrating since it mats up so easily.

      Anyways, I hope it helps out your relative’s dog. Now, as for treatments for hair growth, I’ve never had an issue with that here of course…seems like they all have fur and hair to spare, even our short-haired dogs, lol.

      Thanks again for commenting and sharing this!

      Best wishes ~Sherry

  3. I am very lucky to read this post. Most of the points you mentioned here, I find are true. Last year, I was outside of the home for over 4 months and left my dog to the care of my wife.

    She is not a lover of dogs. Indeed, she neglected the safeguards you mentioned and by the time I came back my Diddy was badly matted. I watched a video on YouTube and it helped me a lot. Your input is well appreciated. I’ll share this with my friends now.

    • Hi Paschal,

      Wow, so sorry to hear that your dog was so badly matted when you returned home. I’m glad you were able to find helpful videos that helped you figure out how to remove the mats from your poor Diddy. I bet he was so very happy to see you when you arrived home!

      Great to hear from you, and I hope your wife will eventually change her mind and heart about dogs…they are wonderful to have around! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

      Best wishes ~Sherry

  4. A great post on how to remove and prevent matted hair from your dog. I have this problem and my two do not like to take baths, it is a battle every time. I think the combing their hair daily helps keep the matting to a minimum, but it still happend from time to time.

    Up to now, I have always had the fight to get them slowed down to the point we could take the corrective action (as in cutting the matted hair out) but I really like the process that you have laid out in this post. I had to laugh a bit at the second step (catch your dog).

    That really describes our dilemma. Catching the dogs. I will try to start combing their hair daily to see if that might make them more amenable to having a dog bath where I can spoil them as you describe through the process to keep the matting away. I am pretty sure they will like this over time and may even look forward to the treatment. Thanks for some good advice! 

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! As for baths, mine still don’t exactly enjoy them, especially the one that seems to always need one, Daisy, lol! But, it’s getting better with her, at least she doesn’t fuss as much and sound like she’s being murdered like she used to do. Now, she’s a lot quieter in there and much more relaxed…guess it takes time and patience, maybe someday she’ll actually look like she enjoys her bath time!

      Lol, yes, catching them is sometimes the hardest, once they know what you’re up to! Maybe get all the stuff ready first and then do something else for a little while until they quit being suspicious, or take them for a short walk first. I find treats they really like to work quite well…as long as they’re staying somewhat still, give them a treat and praise as you go. Plus, if there’s a lot of mats in the hair, it helps to just remove a few at a time, give a small treat and then go on to the next few or even one if they’re really badly matted.

      My dog, Daisy, she loves her special treats, like little bits of chicken or cheese…these keep her quite distracted especially if I can get someone to help distract her with the treats as I’m removing mats. My son often helps and sits next to her with the treats and gives her a piece every now and then if she’s being pretty good about things…just knowing there are treats, she’s focused on that bag of treats mostly instead of me, lol!

      I hope this will help you with your dogs when you try it out…it’ll take awhile though for them to get used to it and relax more, but it seems the more often you groom them the better behaved they get. Let me know how it goes for you when you get the chance, I’d love to hear again from you!

      Best wishes ~Sherry

  5. This is lovely and relevant post; I so much appreciate the fact that you have put this post together to share with your blog readers.

    I have been wanting to remove the matted hair on my dog but I don’t know how to go about it professionally. Thanks for this eye opener; the explanatory video is also on point. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Ola,

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I’m glad to hear it’s helpful for you and your dog. Let me know if you ever have any questions as you go through the process of removing the mats, I’d be happy to answer as best I can.

      Best wishes ~Sherry


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