Free Shipping on Orders $30+

7 Steps for Getting Rid of Matted Pet Hair

Grooming a dog with matted hair

Did you miss your pet’s last grooming appointment, or did your pup decide to play in the rain? Now, your furry friend’s coat is full of matted hair, and your groomer is booked solid. What’s the best way to deal with matted pet hair and restore your fur baby’s coat without causing them discomfort?

Prepare Yourself to Handle Your Pet’s Matted Hair

Before you start working through your pet’s matted fur, it’s important to approach the process with the proper expectations. If your dog or cat has a severely matted coat, it will take a decent amount of time to detangle and smooth their hair. Therefore, don’t start the task when you only have a few minutes to spare.

Instead, plan to break the process into manageable chunks and expect the entire event to take a few days. Patience is essential, helping you remain positive and calm throughout the experience.

If you find yourself getting tired or frustrated, take a break. Always use a calm, encouraging voice so your pet stays calm and doesn’t sense your stress.

7 Steps for Getting Rid of Matted Pet Hair

Matted fur causes problems for dogs and cats. It’s not just uncomfortable. Matted fur can also increase your pet’s chances for skin infections, hinder potty habits and temperature regulation, and worsen flea and tick infestations.

If your precious pup or feline gets into a tangled mess, here are the steps to help smooth out their situation.

1. Distract Your Pet

Give your pet something to redirect their focus as you remedy their tangled coat. Treats are an excellent way to reinforce positive behavior and reward your pet for remaining calm and cooperative.

However, to distract your pet and help calm them, give them a treat mat covered in peanut butter or their favorite soft food to lick. A licking mat offers consistent distraction, and licking releases endorphins which can help ease your pet’s stress.

2. Work with Dry Hair

Do not bathe your pet or wet their fur before you attempt to remove mats. When fur is wet, it makes it even more challenging to detangle hair.

Moisture tends to tighten matted fur, causing it to become worse and pull on your pet’s skin. Also, brushing wet hair can potentially cause more breakage.

3. Start with Your Fingers

Using a brush first to tackle mats can make the situation worse unless the mat is small and fairly loose. Brushing the mat without loosening it first could be painful for your pet and make them associate brushing with a negative experience. 

It's best to start with your fingers. Gently work your way through the matted fur, loosening and separating it as much as possible. The goal is to isolate the matted clump of fur from the rest of your pet’s hair.

4. Use the Right Tools

Spritz the mat with some detangling spray as you're working on it with your fingers to help loosen the hair. Using the appropriate tools makes the process easier, but using the wrong ones can make things harder and more uncomfortable for your pet.

Once you separate the fur by hand as much as possible it's time to work through the mat with a good quality slicker brush. If you decide there's no choice but to cut the mat, use pet clippers instead of scissors. Using scissors increases the risk of injury to you and your pet if your hand slips or your pet gets nervous and jerks away or moves suddenly.

5. Brush Fur Both Ways

Hold the mat at the base, where it meets your pet's skin, to avoid pulling the skin. Begin brushing at the edges of the matted fur farthest from your pet’s body.

Use small, gentle strokes, alternating the direction so you brush both ways to encourage more separation between the hair. Take frequent breaks, and reward your pet often throughout the process with their favorite treats.

6. Trim the Matted Hair if Necessary

As previously mentioned, cutting out mats should be your absolute last resort, and only if your pet only has a few spots that need attention. Before attempting to trim your pet's fur, consider your skill and comfort level. If you have any hesitation or nervousness, don't do it. Go to a professional groomer or your vet instead.

If trimming is necessary, and you decide it's reasonable to do it yourself, only use pet clippers. Start at the base of the mat and move outward with the clippers, removing the tangled clump a layer at a time.

7. Know When to Call in the Professionals

A few tangles in your pet’s coat are often an inevitable part of being a pet parent. But if your furball is a mess of matted hair, you might want to consider using a professional groomer (and plan to pay a hefty fee for the added time and effort). In particularly serious cases, for example, if you find a stray or take in a previously neglected animal, the matting could be so severe that it's best to go to the vet.

When a dog or cat has severely matted fur over their whole body, trying to remove the mats becomes an overwhelming ordeal. If not approached correctly, it can cause a lot of pain, stress, and trauma for the animal. The vet's office will arrange to sedate your dog or cat before working on their tangled, matted coat.

Cat getting groomed

Tips for Preventing Matted Fur

Once you spend a few days dealing with matted pet fur, you quickly realize you don’t want to do it ever again. (Plus, it is extremely stressful and uncomfortable for your pet.) Therefore, preventing matted fur is critical.

Here are a few pointers to help prevent matted pet hair.

  • Regular brushing is the best thing you can do to keep your pet's coat in tip-top shape. Depending on the breed, your pet may require daily brushing or only need a few times a week. If you're worried about loose hair getting on your furniture after brush sessions, use a handy tool like the FurDozer.
  • If you have a long-haired pup, keep their fur trimmed short to minimize tangles.
  • Long-haired breeds typically require more extensive grooming. If you are unable to keep up with regular brushing and maintenance, schedule regular visits with a groomer.
  • Remove harnesses when you're not walking your pet.
  • After you bathe your cat or dog, dry their coat thoroughly, as well as any other time their fur gets wet.

Make Matted Pet Hair a Thing of the Past

These tips help prevent painful, matted fur (and make it easier to get rid of pet hair on clothing, furniture, and other areas). It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the steps and stock up on a few essentials that make getting rid of matted pet hair much easier. If your pet ends up with a matted coat, you’ll be ready to handle the situation like a pro.

For even more tips on caring for your fur baby, check out the rest of the Neater Pets blog. You'll find extra grooming tidbits and other helpful resources about your pet's health, behavior, personality, and more.



Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

Free Shipping On Orders $30+
Star Seller 6,000+ 5-Star Reviews
Secure Checkout Secure Payment