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Matted Fur: How to deal with matted pet hair

fluffy dog Matted fur is a common problem for many pets. Find out below the best way to remove matted hair from your pet’s coat without causing any harm. We'll also give you some tips on how to prevent mats from forming.  

What are mats?

A mat in your pet’s hair is a solid clump of fur which is tangled together tightly. Quite often, you’ll find these clumps in areas on your pet’s body that rubs together. Usually for pets this is behind their ears, elbows and the backs of their legs. If your pet is shedding, you might find they are more prone to matting and it’s also more likely to occur in pets with long, soft hair and those with double coats.

Can you prevent matted fur?

Ensuring your pet’s coat is well groomed and maintained will help to keep it healthy. Regular brushing can go a long way in preventing mats from forming - particularly if your pet is prone to matting. Whilst your pet is shedding hair, which can be all year round or during shedding season depending on their coat type and breed, you should brush them daily. Removing the loose hair from the coat will help to prevent mats.  

How should you remove mats from pet hair?

Before you tackle any embedded mats in your pet’s coat, you should make sure that they are calm and relaxed as it will be much easier if they are. It’s a good idea to have some treats on hand to ensure they are happy, and associate being groomed with a positive experience. Try to avoid getting mats wet. This can make them even tighter and harder to remove. It’s best to brush them out of dry fur and bathe your pet afterwards if necessary.  
Using a brush or comb
The best way to remove a mat is with gentle combing or brushing. This is safest for the animal and will avoid creating any bald spots within the fur. Before brushing, you can use a detangler spray or conditioner to loosen up the hair. The first step is to separate the hair as much as possible using your fingers. Hold the mat firmly in your fingers and avoid pulling it away from the skin as this could hurt your pet. Once you have separated the mat, you can use either a grooming comb or slicker brush to gently brush it out. This will remove the excess hair that has formed the mat.  
Using scissors
If you cannot remove the mat with your fingers and a comb or brush, the next step is to use scissors. However, you should be very careful about using scissor around your pet’s skin and if you are not confident in doing so, you should seek professional guidance from a vet or groomer. We recommend using curved, bull-nosed scissors which are designed specifically for safe grooming. Place your fingers or a comb between the mat and your pet’s skin to keep them safe. We recommend gently snipping into the mat to remove it gradually. This will also prevent removing a large chunk of fur and leaving the coat patchy.   If you are unable to remove the mats safely at home or are concerned about severe matting, you should take your pet to your local groomer for a professional groom. Alternatively, if there are any signs that the mats are causing health problems in your met, you should seek assistance from your vet.  

Best tools for matted fur

Easy Groom Detangler – Loosen hair before combing out mats
This leave-in conditioning treatment is perfect for teasing out any pet coat’s tangles and knots without pulling. The formula contains vitamins, proteins and minerals to nourish the hair for a smooth and silky finish. Can be used on any coat type and is perfect for medium to long coats.  
Soft Grip Dematter – Remove stubborn mats
Grooming tool with contoured stainless-steel teeth. Designed to gently remove stubborn mats and tangles. The sharp, wide spacing of the teeth makes it easier to cut through the mats. Soft Grip Dematter (58446-002) Image
Grooming Comb – Reach deep into mats to gently comb out
Fine comb with long, durable stainless-steel teeth designed to penetrate the coat for better coverage. The fine teeth are ideal for picking out mats.
Small Slicker Brush – Dematting small animals and thick coats
Ideal for long-haired, curly, double-coated or dense-haired pets. This brush is the perfect size for small dogs and cats. With firm stainless-steel pins that reach through thick coats to separate matted hair. Small Slicker Brush (58447-002) Image
Double Row Rake and Shedding Blade – De-shed double coats and thick coats
Dual head system removes loose hair from the coat and undercoat. The double row rake gently removes loose undercoat with a shedding blade designed to effectively remove loose hair from the top coat. Use regularly on shedding coats and double coats to help prevent matting. Grooming Tools Products, Double Row Rake and Shedding Blade
Double Sided Brush – Daily brushing on all coat types
A 2in1 brush with metal ball pins for removing loose hair, debris and tangles.  Its nylon bristles will remove loose hair and stimulate the natural oils in the dogs’ coat. Suitable for all coat types. Use for daily brushing to prevent mats from forming.