Removing dog fur mats and knots

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sheep dog
This rag-tag, rescued sheepdog is going to require a lot of de-matting and de-knotting
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Knotted and matted dog fur can lead to infection.

Your dog has made a break for it and taken a powder from the compound for a few days. He eventually comes back home, a bit worse for the wear, matted, knotted and gnarly, ready for a day at the spa.

Removing dog fur mats and knots can be a challenge. Hopefully, you may be the lucky owner of a dog who loves being groomed and cooperates.

Brushing, combing, de-matting, de-knotting tangles and removing burrs is necessary in order for your dog to have a healthy coat and skin. It is undoubtedly uncomfortable for your pooch when his fur is riddled with burrs -- and heaven only knows what else -- after his romp in the woods or tall grass.

To get rid of dog fur mats and knots, start with a slicker brush. This brush will remove shedding and dead hair. A metal comb or shedding comb will also eliminate dead hair and allow you to see where the coat is tangled. A de-tangler or de-matting rake cuts right through the knots and removes dead hair without upsetting the dog's outer coat. This is a particularly good tool to use on a double coated dog.

Buy quality grooming tools because these tools will reduce the time spent grooming and removing dog fur mats. A good bristle brush is advised because synthetic bristle brushes generate too much static electricity and result in hair breakage.

When working on a short-coated dog, use a slicker brush. Start at the hind leg and work forward toward the front leg. Flip open the fur with your thumb and then brush the fur, using the slicker brush. Do this on both sides of the dog's body. If you encounter dog fur knots, loosen them with your fingers. If the hair is deeply knotted or matted, use a de-matting rake. If you do not get rid of the knots, this can lead to infection and skin irritations.

When brushing near the genitals, be very careful. It is recommended that you use a comb or pin brush in these sensitive areas.

When working on the face, use a comb, not a slicker brush, to prevent injury to the face. A flea comb can be used on the muzzle and under the chin to get the remains of whatever is stuck between the fur.

When you are finishing brushing the coat, use a metal comb to check for more tangles and to put the finishing touch on removing dog fur mats.

If your dog is terribly matted, put some cornstarch powder on his coat. Cornstarch will help loosen the mats. Peanut butter is also a natural treatment for removing mats, although a bath will be needed when you have finished combing out your dog. De-tangling spray is also helpful for removing dog fur mats. You can then loosen the mats some more using the slicker brush or your finger. Use a wire comb to remove the tangle. Do not tug on the fur because this will hurt your dog.

Brushing the dog fur in circles and against the growth will lift debris and stimulate oils, which is good. After you have brushed the fur in a circular manner, brush the hair back into its normal shape.

When working on a long-haired dog with a matted coat, brush the hair in the direction of hair growth so that the hair does not become even more matted. Brush from back to front and then brush downwards to the paws and back up.

If you have shampooed your dog, dry him off immediately because the whiskers, ears, tail, face, legs and paw areas can be affected by humidity.

It is a good idea to introduce your pooch to brushing and grooming when he is a pup so that he becomes used to it and is cooperative. A cooperative dog is your best asset when tackling a bad case of dog fur mats and knots.

Resources: removing knots
Maholo: how to remove matted dog hair

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