What can you do for a severely matted dog?

Answered by John Hunt

If you are dealing with a severely matted dog, it is essential to approach the grooming process with caution and patience. Here are some steps you can take to help your furry friend:

1. Assess the severity of the mats: Before you begin, it’s important to assess the severity of the mats. If they are small and not too tightly tangled, you may be able to remove them with a brush and some detangling spray. However, if the mats are large, tightly knotted, or close to the skin, it may be best to seek professional help from a groomer or veterinarian.

2. Gather the necessary tools: To tackle the mats, you will need the right tools. These may include a detangling spray, a slicker brush, a wide-toothed comb, grooming scissors, and possibly a clipper with a mat blade attachment. Make sure these tools are nearby and easily accessible before you start.

3. Use treats and positive reinforcement: Grooming can be a stressful experience for your dog, especially if they are already in discomfort due to the mats. Use treats and positive reinforcement to create a more positive association with the grooming process. Reward your dog with treats and praise for staying calm and cooperative throughout the process.

4. Start with detangling spray: Before attempting to brush out the mats, spray a detangling solution on them. This will help to loosen the knots and make the brushing process easier. Be generous with the spray and let it sit for a few minutes to work its magic.

5. Begin brushing gently: Start by using a slicker brush to gently brush the surface of the mats. Work in small sections, holding the hair above the mat to prevent any pulling or discomfort. Use short, gentle strokes rather than long, forceful ones. If you encounter resistance, stop and try a different approach instead of forcing the brush through.

6. Use a wide-toothed comb: If the slicker brush is not sufficient, switch to a wide-toothed comb. This can help to separate the hairs and untangle the mats more effectively. Again, work in small sections and be patient. Take breaks if needed to keep your dog comfortable.

7. Consider using grooming scissors: If the mats are too stubborn to brush out, you may need to use grooming scissors to carefully cut them away. Use blunt-ended scissors and be extremely cautious to avoid accidentally nicking your dog’s skin. Start by cutting the mat into smaller sections, working from the outside edges towards the center.

8. Use clippers as a last resort: If all else fails and the mats are too severe, you may need to use clippers with a mat blade attachment. This should be done by a professional groomer or veterinarian, as using clippers incorrectly can cause injury to your dog’s skin. Clippers should only be used as a last resort when other methods have been unsuccessful.

Remember, grooming a severely matted dog can be a time-consuming and delicate process. It’s important to prioritize your dog’s comfort and well-being throughout. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the process, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. They have the experience and expertise to safely groom your dog and minimize any discomfort.