What Is A “Mat” And How Do I Get Rid Of Them?

A mat is basically a tangle of hair, often with undercoat, that has formed a knot tight enough to resist brushing and combing.  Mats tend to form on dogs with thick, long, curly, or double coats in corners of the body and areas with longer hair, such as the base of legs, the anal area under the tail, under the chest by the front legs, and around the ears.  In most cases, regular maintenance such as daily brushing and combing are needed to prevent tangles from turning into mats, but sometimes a mat will catch you off guard. 

Mats form because hair is covered in tiny scales.  When hair is tangled or harshly treated, those scales can stick up, acting like tiny barbs.  These barbs catch shed hairs, woolly undercoat hairs, even dirt and debris, knotting and tangling until they form a solid mass of hair that is virtually impossible to comb through. 

Some people deal with mats by simply cutting them out, leaving ”holes” in the coat. However, in severe cases of mat, you may be required to shave the coat by a professional dog groomer. Regular grooming (dog hair brushing) should prevent the build up of mats, but if you have let things go, shaving down the coat might be a the only option available once you do go to the dog groomers rather than going through hours and hours working with a mat splitter, scissors, and comb, pulling on the poor dog’s coat. As dog groomers go inline with the animal welfare act they cannot dematt a dog and still have the dogs interests 1st. The dogs happiness is number one but as you’ll know a happy do also makes an happy owner.

The first step in mat removal is to have the proper tools.  You may be able to get through most dog hair mats with a dog slicker brush and dematting spray. If you can’t get a comb through the coat then you’ll most likely need your dogs coat to be shaved and once its grown back youll be able to maintain the coat and keep the dogs coat longer.

Never user scissors close to the dogs skin towards the bottom of the mat if it is really tight as you may not see thier skin and cut through and seriously injure your dog