How to Get Rid of Matted Hair on a Dog

By Erin Ringwald

Although the long, silky, hair of a long-haired dog is beautiful, it can also be difficult to keep tangle free. Despite your best efforts, every dog will likely develop a mat from time to time. Sometimes the mats are small and a simple brushing will remove them. Other times the mats are very large or there are many of them and can be stubborn. No matter what the size or quantity of the mats, there are ways you can easily remove the mats from your dog’s coat.

Use your fingers to try and break apart the mat. Work in small sections. Since mat’s can hurt as they pull on your dog’s skin, be aware of his comfort level. If he gives signs that it is hurting or he is becoming nervous, stop and try again later. Or, if you have another person to help you, have your helper distract your dog while you continue to work on the mat by talking softly to him and petting him.

Sprinkle powdered corn starch on the matted area. Start with a small amount and add more as needed. Use your fingers to break apart the mat and work the corn starch into the dog’s fur.

Spray the area with a coat detangler if the corn starch does not work. Detanglers can be purchased at your local pet store. In a pinch, you can use Johnson and Johnson’s No More Tangles in place of a pet version.

Use your slicker comb to work on the mat once it is fairly broken up. Start at the roots and work your way down, again being gentle not to pull too much. Hold onto the base of the mat when you are brushing to minimize the pulling.

Use scissors or dog clippers on stubborn mats. For mats that will not come loose or those in inconspicuous spots, save the trip to the groomers and cut them off. The hair will grow back. Be careful when using scissors around your dog. You do not want to cut him if he moves. Opt for clippers for mats that are close to the skin to avoid cutting your dog. Use the scissors for mats that are further from the roots.

Use a cotton ball moistened with witch hazel to dab any area that has to be cut. Witch hazel relieves itching and irritation that may occur due to the cut hair.