Mats: How to Untangle a Common Problem
Published November 9, 2020
Even if pets receive professional grooming, preventing mats at home can save you a lot of hassle and your pet a lot of discomfort. Follow the steps below to tackle tangles at home like a pro.
Prevention Is Best
It’s been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This applies to your pet’s coat as much as to any other aspect of their wellbeing. Mats aren’t just an eyesore, they can also cause pets pain and discomfort. If left untreated, mats can lead to serious skin complications, such as hotspots. Brushing should be a part of your pet’s daily care regimen to maintain a healthy coat and prevent tangles.
Even short-haired pets will benefit from daily brushings because it will remove loose fur, helping to keep their coats clean. Should loose fur be ingested during normal grooming behaviors, it can potentially cause GI upset in your pet.
While brushing your pet, feel for mats in problem areas where there is more friction, such as behind the ears, around the collar, and in the armpits.
In addition to brushing, add bathing and nail trims to your pet’s regular at-home grooming care. Remember, it is important not to vigorously brush your pet during or soon after bathing.
When Mats Do Happen
Even the most diligent pet owners will likely find mats on their pets’ coats due to friction and coat texture. The good news is that mats can be untangled at home without a groomer’s intervention, if caught early.
To detangle a mat:
- Hold the mat in one hand, so that you don’t tug on your pet’s skin when you begin brushing. Take a brush, slicker brushes work well for this step, and gently rake away loose fur from the mat, starting with the fur’s ends and working your way up the mat.
- Once the looser hair has been worked-out, you’ll use a wide-toothed comb to tackle the tougher tangles. Like step 1, hold the mat so that you don’t tug on your pet’s skin, begin at the ends, and work your way up the mat. Pierce the mat with the comb and gently rake outward in small increments to detangle the fur a little at a time.
- If a wide-toothed come does not help very much, you may need to use a dematting comb. This is a tool that has small blades on one side that cut through the mats and break them apart as it’s combed through the fur. To use this tool, place the teeth behind the mat and gently rake through. Be careful that the side with blades is facing away from your pet’s skin. When finished, brush the area to remove all loose fur. If you aren’t comfortable using this tool, it may be time to seek professional help to remove your pet’s mats.
Even the best-behaved pets have only so much patience, so take breaks if the mats are taking a while to untangle or if your pet isn’t used to being groomed. Make sure to praise your pet and offer a treat when finished – it’s a job well done on both your parts!
If your pet seems to be uncomfortable, in pain, or displaying aggressive behavior, please do not attempt to remove mats on your own. If mats are close to your pet’s skin, very large, dense, or involve skin irritation, contact a professional groomer. Do not cut them out at home. During the pandemic, choose a grooming facility that follows CDC safety guidelines and offers contact-free service.
If your pet is experiencing skin irritation, our Skin Package can help provide much-needed relief. Our Skin Package includes a doctor’s exam, diagnostics, treatment recommendations, and a prescription, if necessary, for $60 (or $40 when you add-on to a vaccine package).
Essential Tip: If your pet needs updated vaccinations before their grooming appointment, Essentials PetCare offers affordable packages to meet your pet’s needs.
Prices subject to change. See current prices: https://essentialspetcare.com/services.