How to Cut Matted Dog Hair

Matted dog hair is common to long hair breeds. You can prevent it by applying a good grooming routine. But, despite having a good grooming routine, your dog continues to have mat problems, then you need to learn how to cut it without hurting your pet. This guide includes the causes and steps on how to cut matted dogs effectively.

Causes of Matted Dog Hair

Matted dog hair doesn’t just appear out of the blue. Something has caused it, and it depends on the different factors like hair type, breed, behavior, and the grooming routine.

Matting is tangled or dense, clumping of hair in your dog’s coat. Most of the time, it appears during the shedding season. The extra fur needs to be removed using a brush. If not, matting will occur. It could be a result of the dog’s scratching and getting hair wet in snow or rain.

Mats are typical in areas where friction is applied like behind the ears, armpits, under the collar, and lower legs. So it also depends on the dominant part of your dog. If your dog sits more on his left side, then expect to see matted hair on that side. The same if your pet sits mostly on the right side.

If it is shedding season, your pet produces dead hair on your furniture, car, and other parts of the house. But not all dog sheds the same way. Dogs with double layer coat and have a thicker outer layer. These dogs require thorough grooming as well as those with long hair dogs or with curly hair. Make sure you brush the hair from top to bottom. Using a metal comb can help you brush the coat effectively. You should deal with the tangles or mats properly, as it can cause discomfort, pain, and distress to your dog. Your pet may tend to scratch or bite the part of the tangle to solve the discomfort, but it only worsens the condition. The small knots will progress and becomes larger knots, which could be challenging to resolve.

Steps on How to Cut Matted Dog Hair

Thorough pet grooming can help prevent the formation of matted hair in dogs. If in case this cannot be avoided, here are the steps you can follow in resolving matted dog hair.

Preparing the Tools

In getting rid of the matted hair, you cannot use an ordinary dog brush or comb to resolve it. You need unique tools to get rid of the rangled fur. Some of the tools you need are as follows:

1 · Pet clipper for cutting matted hair.
2 · Mat splitter is similar to a barber’s shaving razor.
3 · Mat rake, it looks like a rake that you use in gardening.
4 · Detangling solution

Find The Tangles

To help you check the fur of your pet dog, use a brush to find the tangles. Focus on the most likely areas, such as under the ears, armpits, tail, collar, belly, and legs.  This is very common for a dog with longer hair, and you should deal with it accordingly.

Spray with Detangler

If you notice a tangle, you start spraying using a detangler solution. To use the solution, rub it into the tangled hair. The solution must penetrate the matted hair properly.

Run Your Fingers

Run your fingers into the tangles. If it can separate the strands by simply rubbing your fingers, then there is no need to use the other tools. Soak the hair with the detangler for a few minutes before you start working on the matted hair.
Work by section at a time. Slowly pull the hair strands. Do it carefully to make sure you will not give any discomfort to your pet. You need to be very patient when doing this. If you want a faster way of removing it, you can clip the hair instead.

Use the Slicker Brush

If using your finger is not enough, you need the help of a slicker brush. Brush the matted hair portion by portion and separate the hairs as you perform this. Do not rush the process. It is a bit painful for your pet if you do this.
Check the direction of the hair growth. Brush the hair following that direction and not against it. To help loosen the matted hair, add detangler solution portion by portion. Again you need to be very patient.

Use the Mat Rake

If the slicker brush does not work or is not enough, try the mat rake. It looks like a brush but with sharp teeth. It helps cut into the thick mat. This will enable you to separate the mat section by section. It depends on the width of the gaps.
In using the mat rake, make sure to follow the direction of the hair growth. Be careful, as it might cause pain and discomfort to your pet dog. Also, the rake has sharp teeth. If it gets in contact with your dog’s skin, it will be very painful.

Using the Mat Splitter

If you have used all the tools you have and still do not work, you can use the mat splitter. Before using this on your dog’s matted hair, you should know how to use it properly. Know where the cutting edge is. Hopefully, the cutting edge is away from the dog’s skin.
The tool is like a knife that will cut through the matted hair. Mat splitter cuts the matted hair into smaller mats. We suggest that you cut the tangled hair in horizontal and vertical strips. You can use the slicker brush along with splitter. Be very careful when using the mat splitter as it is very sharp.

Use Pet Clipper

If all the steps above do not work, your last resort is using a pet clipper. The tool is used to resolve the severe cases of matted hair, mainly if it covers a large part of the dog’s body. After using the pet clipper, you can give the dog a puppy cut or shave. If the matter hair is present only in some parts of your pet’s body, it could be a bit hard in using a pet clipper.
Shave only the part where there is matting. However, it will be aesthetically unpleasing to have a pet with an uneven cut. We recommended to read best dog clippers for matted hair guide.

Give Your Pet a Good Bath

Once you have removed all the tangles and matted hair, you give your pet a good bath. You must get rid of all the mats and tangles, as water makes the situation worst. Use dog shampoo and conditioner to soften your pet’s fur.


Hopefully, the above steps will help you eliminate the matted dog hair with less pain and effectively. If you want to share your thoughts, feel free to comment below.

Helpful Resource:

How to Rid Of Matted Dog Hair

best dog clippers for thick coats