Is your dog’s fur getting a bit unmanageable? Without proper maintenance and care, your poor pup could end up with matted fur, which isn’t enjoyable for dogs or owners. In this blog, we’ll discuss what causes matted dog hair and how to unmat hair.
What causes matted hair
Unfortunately, some dogs are just more prone to getting matted hair than others. Poodles, Bichon Frises, Cocker Spaniels, and other dogs with long fur who shed a lot generally end up with matter hair more often. The reason? A dog’s hair shafts are barbed, with some shafts of fur being more barbed than others. The more barbs that are on the hair shaft, the more likely that hair is to mat.
Especially considering the type of fur your dog has, there are certain contributing factors that influence hair matting. For example, mats often occur in areas of friction; these areas include under the color, behind the ears, in the armpits, on the lower legs, or where your dog comes into contact with grass. On that note, if you notice your dog to be “right-hipped” or “left-hipped” (meaning they sit on that hip), he may develop mats in the areas of the fur that are compacted when they come into contact with grass.
How to prevent matted hair
You’ve heard it time and time again in a variety of scenarios, but it’s true here, too: the best treatment for matted dog hair is prevention. In this case, there are two things to keep in mind. First, you should regularly bathe your dog, as a clean dog is less likely to mat. Even if you can’t do that as often as you’d like, you can (and should!) regularly brush your dog to help prevent matting.
When it comes to brushing your dog, make sure you apply some moisture to your dog’s first (just a light mist from a spray bottle is fine) to help prevent static electricity and dryness which lead to tangled fur. After you’ve added moisture to your dog’s fur, use a slicker brush with wire pins to brush small sections of fur at a time. When you do so, you’ll want to push your dog’s fur up with your hand right where the fur meets the skin, pat the brush into the hair, and pull the brush away from the dog’s body gently. Ideally you’ll do this a few times a week up to a few times a day.
Using coconut oil to unmat fur
If your dog already has mats in his fur that you want to try to remove, the above bathing and brushing steps are also helpful, but coconut oil can actually help the removal process further. The reason? Oil makes the hair smoother and softer, making the unmatting process a bit easier.
To use coconut oil to unmat fur, warm some coconut oil to a liquid (but not hot!) state and gently massage it into your dog’s fur and skin. Use your fingers to try and loosen or remove mats while you massage the oil into your dog’s fur. After you’ve done this part of the process, leave the coconut oil for a bit longer before gently trying to brush out remaining mats. If they still remain, try giving your dog a bath using Skinny Paw Pet Shampoo.
Unfortunately, if your dog’s fur is too matted, you may have to set the quest for a certain look aside and just need to trim his fur to remove the mats altogether. If your dog struggles or is anxious during his brushing or grooming, you can seek a professional groomer’s help or advice. Regardless, you should definitely reward your freshly groomed, mat-free pooch with a delicious coconut oil treat for (at least attempting) sitting through the process of removing the mats from his fur.