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Does Matted Hair Hurt Dogs?


It is common for dogs to get matted hair, especially if they have long hair. They can be removed by regular brushing but it may have led you to wonder: Does Matted Hair Hurt Dogs?

Dogs are very good at hiding their pain from the dog owner, which is why it is hard to know if the matted hair causes them any pain.

This post will make it very clear to you whether matted hair can hurt dogs or not and what you can do to make the dematting process less painful.

Does Matted Hair Hurt Dogs?


Matted hair can hurt your dog more than you can imagine. It not only inflicts pain on dogs but also causes many health problems for them. Even grooming your dog’s hair can be painful for him.

It is difficult to get rid of matted hair once it appears on your dog’s hair, which is why it is important to prevent any mat in your dog’s hair beforehand. If the matting becomes severe, then it can cause several problems like:

1.    Discomfort and Pulling

It is a no-brainer that brushing matted hair is painful for your dog. But even without the brushing, the matted fur pulls at your pet’s skin making it uncomfortable to perform any activity, even just sitting idly.

No dog lover would want this to happen!

You might not even notice the pain sometimes, but make sure that you provide regular dog grooming, especially if your dog has long hair, for matt-free fur.

2.    Low Blood Flow to The Tail and Legs

The matted hair can commonly be seen around the tail and legs of your dog’s fur. Severe matting can cause the blood flow to your dog’s legs and tail to completely cut off at times. Hence, a haircut is important for your dog in this case.

It is rare to lose limbs because of this reason but there have been such cases where irregular blood flow to the legs led to the loss of limbs.

Some breeds like the Shih Tzu, Yorkies, and Labradoodles who have long hair, suffer from severe matting issues. As a pet owner, you must be careful with the long-haired dogs and perform regular brushing to avoid matted hair in your fur baby.


3.    Home to Pests and Diseases

Matted dogs tend to pick up pests and germs easily from the surroundings. Pests like ticks or fleas find it easy to make a home in matted hair. Reproducing pests in the matted hair is just another problem. These pests can cause skin diseases or rashes at the least in your pet.

The thick fur in matted dogs also makes it difficult to spot any signs of diseases like hyperthyroidism or diabetes whose symptoms show up on your dog’s skin.

4.    Open Wounds

Matted hair causes the hair follicles to pull, preventing any circulation of air past the skin.

Because of this, your pet’s skin won’t ever completely dry. The moisture and heat on your dog’s skin make it susceptible for wounds to develop easily. Such open wounds invite pricky insects to stick to them, causing even more pain.

How Do You Untangle Dog Hair?

To untangle your dog’s hair, you can use a dematting tool like a dematting comb, pin brush,  slicker brush, or a mat rake. The simplest way to untangle your dog’s hair is to comb it regularly.

As a dog parent, you need to ascertain the level of pain that your dog can take for brushing because it is painful to comb matted dog hair. You must choose the right dematting tool for your dog depending on the thickness of hair and tolerance level of your dog.

You can choose a dematting rake or a detangler comb like Pet Grooming Tool - 2 Sided Undercoat Rake with more space between their teeth if your dog has thick hair. A normal comb can be used for detangling thin dog hair.

Pet Grooming Tool - 2 Sided Undercoat Rake for Cats & Dogs - Safe Dematting Comb for Easy Mats & Tangles Removing - No More Nasty Shedding and Flying Hair

How Do You Get Matted Hair Off A Dog Without Cutting It?

To get rid of matted fur without cutting it, you will require certain products like detangler brush, detangler spray, and dog shampoo.

After getting all these products, follow these simple steps to get rid of your dog’s matted hair.

  1. Make your dog sit in a comfortable place and position
  2. Massage the matted hair using your fingers to loosen the knots
  3. Brush the hair without mats behind so you know where to focus
  4. Use the detangler brush to comb the matted fur in alternate directions
  5. Keep your hand between the skin and the mats to cause minimum pain to your pet
  6. Start the combing away from the skin and work your way inside
  7. Use the detangler spray so that your brush can easily glide through the matted hair
  8. Brush your dog’s detangled hair again using his normal brush
  9. Appreciate your dog’s patience by saying calm words and giving him treats

Take a look at this video to understand how you can get rid of your dog’s matted hair.

What Is The Best Detangler For Matted Dog Hair?

It is best to brush your dog’s hair regularly so that there is minimum matting of the hair. To make the brushing less painful, it is advised to use detangling sprays. These sprays work as conditioners that make the hair soft and loose for the brush to glide through.

The Burt’s Bees Detangling Spray has been known to detangle dog’s hair easily. They help loosen the knots and make the brush strokes gentle so that your dog does not feel any pain.

Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Detangling Spray With Lemon and Linseed | Dog and Puppy Fur Detangler Spray to Comb Through Knots, Mats, and Tangles- Made in the USA, 10 Ounces

You just have to spray this on the matted hair before brushing. This spray is easy to use and is safe for all dog skin types.

Will Conditioner Help Matted Dog Hair?

Conditioners do not actually detangle the matted hair but they do help in making the brushing gentle. You can use a detangling conditioner on the dog’s coat before you start brushing your dog’s hair.

Also Read: How Can You Achieve A Shiny Fur For Your Dear Dog?

Should I Shave My Matted Dog?


If your dog has matted hair, then it is a better option to shave your matted dog than brushing its hair because it is less painful.

Below are the key benefits of shaving your matted dog:

  • It is very hygienic
  • Shaving is less painful for your dog in most cases rather than detangling it
  • Your dog will have a better mood, due to the removal of matted hair. Shaving will get rid of the irritation and pain that your dear dog might feel as a result of matted hair
  • Your dog’s health will not be compromised, as shaving the matted hair will also reduce the chances of fleas and bacteria. Shaving your dog’s matted hair will also ensure proper blood circulation in his body

You can check out this video of a dog with extremely matted hair being shaved!

Shaving is important to maintain your dog’s healthy fur and skin. You can shave your dog’s fur every once in a while to prevent matted hair.

If you decide to still brush the dog coat then you should request the groomer to let you be in the same room as your dog so that you can tell the groomer when to stop.

Can You Cut Out Matted Dog Hair?

You can cut the matted dog hair but you need to be very careful. The hair mats can be tight or stuck to the dog’s skin which can easily hurt your dog’s skin.

If you don’t use a groomer to cut the matted hair, then make sure that you use dog clippers instead of scissors for trimming the mats yourself to avoid any injuries.

Cut the mats from the top because they can be stuck to the skin below which you may accidentally cut if you cut from the bottom.

Should You Bathe A Dog With Matted Hair?


It is not advised to bathe a dog with matted hair because the water makes the mats tighter. However, if your dog often gets dirty, it is important to clean him.

For such situations, you can use warm water and give a sponge bath to your dog and completely dry his body after the bath. You can use a dryer for quick results.

Will Coconut Oil Detangle Dog Hair?

Coconut oil is a natural conditioner that can help detangle a dog’s matted hair. It is better to use extra virgin coconut oil for the detangling. To make a conditioner out of coconut oil, you need to mix two tablespoons of warm water with one tablespoon of virgin coconut oil.

After the mixture cools down, apply it on the matted hair of your dog with a damp cloth and massage the hair for a couple of minutes. Then gently comb the knots to get your dog a matt-free coat.

Make sure that you rinse off all the oil from your dog’s hair using shampoo. Any residual oil can lead to more tangling of your dog’s hair.

Also Read: Is It A Good Idea To Use Baby Wipes On Your Dog?

Does Cornstarch Help With Matted Dog Hair?

Cornstarch is a great home hack to deal with your dog’s matted hair. A small amount of cornstarch will help the brush or the detangling comb easily glide through the matted hair. Hence, you can easily dematt your dog’s hair.

Argo 100% Pure Corn Starch, 16 Oz (2 Pack (16 Ounce))

Cornstarch can help your dog’s hair in three different ways:

  • Before grooming your dog’s hair, sprinkle some cornstarch on the tangled hair to make them loose
  • You can use cornstarch as a dry shampoo to prevent any greasiness between baths
  • For shiny hair, sprinkle the cornstarch on the white markings

Should I Demat My Dog Before Or After Bath?

It is recommended that you demat your dog before a bath because water makes the hair mats tighter.

Wet hair can cause more pain to your dogs because they stick to their skin and the brush strokes pull at their skin.

How Often Should I Demat My Dog?

We advise that you brush your dog’s hair at least 1 to 3 times a week normally. If your dog has too much tangled hair, then you must brush your dog’s hair on a regular basis.

If you choose to groom your dog by a professional groomer, then make sure that they only trim the dog’s hair near the face, paws, ears, and posterior. The trimming should happen once in 4 weeks.

You must also bathe your dog 2-3 times a week to keep them clean as the tangled hair collect a lot of dirt and pests.

Is It Better To Brush A Dog Wet Or Dry?


It is better to brush your dog when it is dry because wet hair can cause your dog’s skin to pull, causing it severe pain. Wet hair can make the mats difficult to detangle as they get tighter when they come in contact with water.

If you forgot to brush your dog’s hair before the bath, then you should wait until his matted coat gets completely dry to brush after the bath.

Why Do Dogs Go Crazy After A Bath?

It is common for dogs to act crazy after a bath because of the following reasons:

  • To dry their wet fur
  • For them to release the nervous energy they got from the bath products you used
  • To get back their original scent
  • They’re just glad that the bath is over

How Often Should You Bathe A Double-Coated Dog


A double coat dog needs regular grooming and baths. They should bathe once a week ideally but if your dog does not like baths then it is okay to take baths once in 10-12 weeks.

In the shedding season, you should bathe your dog more frequently to minimize the stray hair all over your house.

Conclusion: Does Matted Hair Hurt Dogs?

The simple answer to the question – Does Matted Hair Hurt Dogs? – is Yes, it hurts them a lot. The little knots not only pull at their skin but also create a home for pests and other diseases.

It is very important to groom and brush your dog’s hair regularly to avoid severe matting because prevention is better than cure.


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