In addition to his friendly disposition, your dog’s long, silky coat is one of his most wonderful traits. But it can also be one of his most challenging. Long coats have a tendency to develop mats and tangles, and getting them out can be very tricky for you and an unpleasant experience for your dog. Long-haired dogs that like to get wet are especially likely to develop these coat problems. Don’t stress, you just need a game plan and the right tools before you start dog grooming.
Removing mats and tangles can be difficult, especially if you have a dog who doesn’t like to stand still. Plus, sensitive dogs won’t appreciate you pulling on their coats, and may be unwilling to tolerate the procedure. Consider using treats to help your dog associate grooming sessions with something pleasant.
The best approach is prevention. Brush your dog daily to keep his coat clean and to prevent mats from developing. Tangles are typically easy to avoid with regular grooming. Fine-coated dogs and dogs with long, thick undercoats will quickly mat if they are not brushed regularly. If your dog loves the outdoors, then he will likely pick up burrs, sticks and leaves that can cause his coat to mat more quickly.
If you find your long-coated dog has developed mats and tangles, start working on them now before the situation gets completely out of hand.
1. Assemble your tools. In order to conquer mats and tangles, you need the right equipment. A dematting tool, a mat splitting tool and a slicker brush are your best friends when taking on mats and tangles. You can find these tools at a pet supply store, or online.
2. Have good products on hand. To make the dematting and detangling process easier on both you and your dog, arm yourself with the best products for the job. Cowboy Magic® Detangler & Shine helps loosen the hair caught up in mats and tangles. Since you’ll need to bathe your dog after you remove mats and tangles, have Cowboy Magic® Rosewater Shampoo and Rosewater Conditioner nearby.
3. Find the mats and tangles. Brush your dog with the slicker brush to locate mats and tangles. Mats often form under the ears, below the neck, under the belly and along the back legs.
4. Apply detangler. Start the detangling and dematting process by applying Detangler & Shine to areas of the coat that are matted or tangled. Rub the product into the coat so it penetrates the problem area.
5. Use your fingers. Work the mat or tangle out with your fingers by pulling and easing the hair apart a little at a time. This is painstaking work, but your efforts will pay off if you keep at it. If you can’t break through the mat after working on it for a considerable amount of time, use the mat splitting tool to cut through the mat. Be sure to cut in the direction the hair grows.
6. Use your brush. When you have removed as much of the tangle or mat as you can, use the slicker brush to finish the job. For tangles, gently brush a few hairs at a time to separate them from the rest of the tangle. For mats, brush in the direction the hair grows, adding more Detangler & Shine™ if necessary to loosen the hairs.
7. Bathe your dog. Once you have removed as many of the mats and tangles you can, give your dog a bath. Be sure all the mats and tangles are gone before you wet your dog, as water will make a tangle worse and a mat tighter and harder to get out. Use Rosewater Shampoo to get your dog clean, and follow with Rosewater Conditioner to help ensure mats and tangles don’t develop as you are drying your dog.
8. Prevent problems. To help prevent mats and tangles from coming back, apply Detangler & Shine to your dog’s coat after he’s completely dry. If your dog likes to swim, put the Detangler & Shine on him just before he goes into the water to help prevent mats and tangles from forming.
If your dog’s coat has been neglected and he has a particularly bad case of matting or tangling as a result, he may need to go to a professional groomer for clip or a shave. Or, if you have a good pair of clippers and know how to use them, you can do it yourself. If your dog has developed a skin irritation or sores as a result of having matter tangled in his coat, he may need to visit your veterinarian.
Clipping the coat to a very short length will enable you to start over and help prevent mats and tangles from forming in the first place.
With the right dog grooming tools, products and procedures at your fingertips, you can keep mats and tangles at bay, even if your dog is prone to them. Your dog will be happier for the extra effort, and so will you.